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Eye On Olympia

Thu., March 22, 2007, 3:30 p.m.

Protection for Christian Scientists…

Interesting fact, according to the hard-working House Judiciary research staff: All 50 states grant some form of privilege for clergy-penitent communications. In other words, no one can compel a member of the clergy to tell investigators -- or anyone else -- about what is said in those conversations.

The interesting part is this: Only 21 states and the District of Columbia specifically include Christian Science practitioners in their definition of clergy.

It's time to boost that number to 22, according to a dozen House lawmakers. House Bill 1939 would grant the same right to a member of the faith's "sacred confidences" made to a Christian Science practitioner. (The church doesn't have ordained clergy, but lists its accredited practitioners in a monthly official journal.)

The bill has passed the House and was heard Wednesday in a Senate judiciary committee.

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