Professor Michael Helfand Quoted in "Appeals Court Says Accusers' Case Against Church of Scientology Can Proceed" -- Los Angeles Times
Professor Michael A. Helfand is quoted in the Los Angeles Times article, "Appeals Court Says Accusers' Case Against Church of Scientology Can Proceed." The article considers the recent ruling by the California Second District Court of Appeal that four women may move foward with a harrassment lawsuit against the Church of Scientology. The church argued the case should remain out of the courts since the women signed religious arbitration agreements.
Excerpts from "Appeals Court Says Accusers' Case Against Church of Scientology Can Proceed"
Religious arbitration has been used for centuries in the United States by Christians, Jews and Muslims, said Michael A. Helfand, a professor at Pepperdine University’s Caruso School of Law.
“At its best, it allows people who share a commitment to a certain set of rules and values to resolve their disputes in accordance with those rules and values,” he said.
The practice has long been upheld by secular courts, which by law cannot interfere with religious doctrinal matters.
“I would have thought if the court was going to invalidate the Scientology agreement it would have done so because it thought the church didn’t set up a neutral process,” he said. “Instead of attacking the neutrality, the court instead made a big statement about the 1st Amendment right to voluntarily leave a religion.
“In our lives we sign lots of agreements about how to resolve disputes and you typically can’t just say, ‘I’m out,’” Helfand said. “It’s surprising the court did this in the context of religious arbitration.”
The complete article may be found at Los Angeles Times.