High Court Declines Suit Against Church

The United States Supreme Court Jan. 12 refused to revive a suit against former and present officials of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Boston.

The high court unanimously and without comment let stand a unanimous decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) dismissing a case formally known as Weaver et al. v. Wood, et al.

The suit was brought by two church members. It asked for judicial review of policy and financial decisions made by past and present officers of the church and its publishing arm, The Christian Science Publishing Society. The case centered on the church's multimillion-dollar efforts to build radio and television offshoots of this newspaper.

The SJC ruled June 19, 1997, that the two members, Elizabeth Weaver of Glen Arbor, Mich., and Roy Varner of Houston, had no legal right, or standing, to sue since their claims did not involve any "personal right that directly affects" them. The SJC also held that, under the church's governing documents, "ultimate fiscal responsibility for the church rests" with the Christian Science Board of Directors.

The US Supreme Court decision, "preserves the freedom and self-governance not only of this church, but of all churches and public charities," said church spokesman Victor Westberg.

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