The Texas Supreme Court’s recent ruling that a woman cannot sue her former counselor and pastor for telling the congregation about her extramarital affair — information she told him in confidence — is similar to decisions in other church discipline cases.

In its unanimous June 29 decision in Westbrook v. Penley, the state Supreme Court determined that Peggy Penley’s professional negligence claim against C.L. “Buddy” Westbrook Jr. “unconstitutionally impinges upon internal matters of church governance in violation of the First Amendment.”

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