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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Court refuses to review pension suit ruling

The Minnesota Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit against the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its Board of Pensions. The Jan. 25 ruling let stand a Nov. 28 Minnesota Court of Appeals decision that civil courts don't have jurisdiction over doctrinal matters in church disputes (see January, page 53).

Board of Pensions President John Kapanke hailed the high court ruling. "We remain committed in our fiduciary responsibilities to plan members to ensure long-term pension fund performance within the basic tenets of the ELCA," he said.

But Thomas Basich, leader of the 49 plan members who sued claiming that social and political criteria were used in pension investments, vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or file a new suit. He said he was "disgusted and angered" by the court decision over what he termed "wholesale wrongdoing through mandatory social divesting imposed upon the individual plan members' pension accounts."


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