Because of the uncertainty, Bishop Seabury Church claims local churches cannot predict whether courts will recognize them as property owners, and that no local church can affiliate with a denomination without risking the loss of its property.
The church also claims in its petition that the uncertainty forces both churches and denominations to wage costly legal battles over property, and discourages local churches from expanding their buildings. The ruling, the church claims, also discourages local churches from acting in accordance with conscience on whether to remain affiliated with their current denominations.
“God is faithful, and we know the Lord will lead and guide us regardless of where we worship,” said Gauss in a statement. “But we also believe it’s time for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide once and for all whether the state courts have to enforce church canons or can decide these cases based on ordinary property and trust law. We believe the First Amendment is on our side.”