Religious Freedom

The First Amendment protects your ministry’s right to free exercise of religion. However, this freedom may be challenged in court, especially if your ministry does not consistently apply its sincerely held religious beliefs. Read the five scenarios in our "Defending Your Ministry's Religious Freedom" brochure, then ask, “Is my ministry ready to respond?”

Good risk management practices can help your ministry exercise its freedoms, even when faced with a lawsuit. Below are several resources from Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company that can help guide you through this tough topic.

White Paper

Religious Freedom Protection: Shepherding Ministries in a Time of Change - This white paper addresses issues affecting every Christian church, school, camp, and ministry. Topics include: current landscape and trends, lawsuits/threats, potential solutions and protections, and insurance considerations. 


Employment Decisions Based on Religious Beliefs - The U.S. Constitution affords ministries certain protection for decisions that ministry leaders make based on their religious beliefs (belief-based decisions). Even so, the likelihood that a court will uphold a ministry employee’s claim against a church or related ministry depends largely on two factors.

Lending Your Church Facilities: Guidelines and Preparation - Organizations may ask to use your facilities. Being a good neighbor suggests you should be open to helping people. Being a good steward suggests you take steps to avoid paying a claim arising from an activity your church didn't sponsor. Here are some issues you should consider.

Risk Management Issues Associated with Lending Church Facilities - Keep your church in safe condition. Work with an attorney to create a written agreement for the use of the facility.

How Do Ministries Respond to Emerging Gender Identity Issues? - Many ministry leaders have questions about what the law requires, and how they can comply without compromising their religious beliefs.

The Equality Act's Potential Impact on Christian Organizations - The Equality Act is a comprehensive federal bill introduced in prior sessions of Congress, and was reintroduced on February 18, 2021, as H.R. 5. Although this bill is not yet law (5-5-2021), President Biden has made passing the Act a top priority. 

Can an Employee Sue a Ministry for Decisions Based on Religious Beliefs? - The U.S. Constitution affords ministries certain protection for decisions that ministry leaders make based on their religious beliefs.


Five Legal Trends Affecting Churches and Ministries - Protect your ministry by getting up to speed on the top five most common legal matters facing today’s churches. 

Religious Freedom in a Time of Change - Discover more about how you can preserve your ministry’s biblically based beliefs in this time of change. 

Religious Freedom: Five Frequently Asked Questions - Brotherhood Mutual’s Legal Assist team addresses five frequently-asked questions regarding religious freedom and the dilemmas churches may face.

Sample Policies & Resources by Topic 

Religious Activities

Building Use

Membership Standards

Leadership Appointments

Employment Decisions

Legal Assist

When developing and revising organizational documents and ministry policies and procedures, involve a local attorney. A wide variety of federal, state, and local laws apply to employer/employee relations. Consulting with a local attorney can provide guidance on state-specific and local legal issues you may encounter. Ask us for a referral to an attorney who can help.

Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company also offers its free Legal Assist service to help answer questions you may have related to your religious freedom and other tough topics. Brotherhood Mutual's in-house team of attorneys understand ministry legal issues because they've been addressing questions from ministries for years, and they're involved in ministry within their own communities.

Contact Legal Assist

Make Sure You’re Covered

Brotherhood Mutual's Religious Freedom ProtectionSM Coverage can help safeguard your ministry against emotional injury claims resulting from the ministry’s religious communications, religious activities, belief-based decisions, and discriminatory acts.

This coverage pays for:

  • Legal costs incurred defending against attacks on your ministry’s belief-based decisions and practices.
  • Damages you are legally obligated to pay as the result of the ministry’s religious communications, religious activities, or discriminatory acts.
  • Defense costs reimbursement for legal challenges to your ministry's tax-exempt status.

Contact us


© 2021 Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company. All rights reserved. This coverage description is intended to help ministry leaders better understand Brotherhood Mutual’s MinistryFirst® insurance program. It does not provide insurance coverage of any kind, nor does it modify the terms of any Brotherhood Mutual policy. For complete insurance coverage details, please refer to actual policy documents. Coverage for actual claims will be based on applicable policy documents applied to the individual facts of an actual claim event.