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Can I have a legal letter written by a lawyer requesting that all tithe money be returned to me with intention to sue if not?

Hampton, VA |

I was a tithe paying member of a church from 1983-2004. I asked the pastor in 2003 to marry me he refused, would not even counsel with me about why not. The presiding bishop of the church organization gave permission to marry. The pastor of the church still refused to marry me or counsel with me about why not. The pastor refused to meet with me and my family to discuss the situation. I was told by my fiancé, who was also a member of the church that the pastor would not marry us because he had been married before and it was against the church doctrine. However, there were other factors that changed the situation so that it was not against church doctrine according to the presider. I had to get another pastor to marry us at another church. The pastor failed me spiritually and personally.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. You can have a lawyer write a letter but courts are very reluctant to interfer in matters involving church doctrine.

    The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.


  2. The answer to your question is "no", you have no claim for repayment of a tithe you made to a Church in Virginia. A tithe is a gift, freely given. It is not a contractual payment for services.

    Ben Glass is licensed in Virginia. He offers a number of free consumer book downloads at his site for information purposes only. You should consult an experienced, board certified attorney in your area. Obviously, no attorney client relationship is formed by participating in Avvo.


  3. If this was a tithe, it is not likely that you should expect to be able to demand it back. A tithe is not like a car payment or house payment. Churches don't give you control over the church by paying a tithe. The tithe is to the Lord. If you feel that the church has done things you disagree with, you should try and resolve them with the church leaders. If that does not resolve things, then you may choose to find another church to worship in. You would not likely have any basis to sue to the church.