MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A religious group that requires its members to surrender all their earthly possessions sued Ramsey County, insisting it cannot be held responsible for the $235,000 in child and spousal support payments owed by one of its members. Christ’s Household of Faith Inc. says the court judgment violates its religious freedom.
Christ’s Household’s members, man and wife, had 11 children. They left the group, returned and left again. Residents of the house apparently must surrender everything they have upon entering, and get about $23 a week from Christ’s Household’s.
This federal complaint cites a 1991 hearing in Ramsey County Court in which a judge, in unequivocal language, tells Christ’s Household’s officers that “there are two, maybe three, maybe four men in this courtroom who are going to spend a good portion of the summer in the Ramsey County Workhouse if these children do not get their child support and that’s the firm Order of this Court. Does everyone understand that? I would like a response. Do you understand that?”
Christ’s Household’s officers said they understood it. But they say that the order was unfair and violated their religious freedom.
“Christ’s Household of Faith Inc. has never made any payment related to spousal maintenance and does not intend to make any further payments of any kind,” the complaint states. “Concurrent with filing this action, Christ’s Household of Faith is seeking a stay of the state court action pending vindication of its federal rights in this action.”
Christ’s Household is represented by Steven Aggergaard with Bassford Remele.