Church of Christ in Hollywood v. Lady Cage-Barile
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Lady Cage-Barile was a member of the congregation of Church of Christ in Hollywood, California, who disagreed with how Dr. Rodriguez, the church leader, and other leaders guided the church. Cage-Barile engaged in disruptive conduct on church premises, sometimes entering the church and following certain members, shouting that they were adulterers, agents of Satan, and demon-worshipers. She shouted at Dr. Rodriguez and church leaders, calling them Satan’s agents because they allow divorced and remarried persons to participate in church ministries.
Dr. Rodriguez then asked Cage-Barile to attend services at a different church — one where she would respect the leadership. In February 2002, he wrote a letter to Cage-Barile, informing her that her membership was terminated, that she could no longer participate in church activities or enter church premises, and that if she did enter the church she would be considered a trespasser.
But when Cage-Barile continued to disrupt worship services, the church filed for a temporary restraining order.
The trial court found that Cage-Barile had a constitutional right of free speech and if the court forced her exclusion it would entangle the court in an ecclesiastical dispute. Becket appealed the case and in May 2002, the court concluded that the church, like any nonreligious property owner, may decide whom to allow on its premises.