Episcopalians Split Reaches SC Courtroom

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A dispute between some South Carolina Episcopalian churches and the national church is going to court.

The national Episcopal church wants about $500 million in church property back after a group calling itself the Diocese of South Carolina split from the national church in 2012.

Circuit Judge Diane Goodstein will preside over the case and decide the case without a jury. Testimony should begin Tuesday at the Dorchester County Courthouse in St. George.

About 50 Episcopal churches in the southern and eastern parts of South Carolina left, saying the national church had become too liberal, especially on the issue of gay marriage and allowing gay people to lead churches. They also say the national church ignores God's teachings and takes the easy route of blessing what the culture wants.

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