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Nepotism: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, esp. by giving them jobs.

In the secular world giving a friend a salaried position over another person more qualified is seen as having potentially moral conflict. However, I am not sure such a moral issue exists within a church setting. Then again I could imagine, especially for a ministry that has high revenue, where the 'leader' could pass the reins down to his son, raising the moral issue. Also established denominations that have somewhat standardized salaries which are not inferior to secular professions may also consider the issue but in what sense I am not personally clear.

What I was wondering is that is this actually a recognized issue in any denomination or is nepotism fully accepted within Christianity?

To be honest I have not thought about it enough to have an opinion in if it should, or at least in what sense it should be considered, but that is not my question here.

My real question here is: Do any Christian denominations have any policies to prevent nepotism?

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imho, "a ministry that has high revenue" shouldn't 'exist' - the "revenue" should be going to do the work of the ministry, and not be siphoned-off by the workers –  warren Nov 26 '12 at 16:02
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@warren - I sort of agree but high revenue on its own was not meant to assume corruption as profit = revenue - expense, where expense could be high support of ministry. But I know what you meant and good point. –  Mike Nov 26 '12 at 23:42
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1 Answer

up vote 7 down vote accepted

Do any Christian denominations have any policies to prevent nepotism?

Short answer: Yes

The modern Catholic Church does, as of June 22, 1692.

Pope Innocent XII. Innocent XII gave nepotism a death blow by his celebrated Bull "Romanum decet Pontificem," 22 June 1692.

However, it does not appear to have actually ended the practice.

Romanum decet pontificem was later incorporated into the Code of Canon Law of 1917 in canons 240, 2; 1414, 4; and 1432, 1.5 In 1694, Innocent XII's series of reforms was capped off with an expensive campaign to eliminate the venality of offices while reimbursing their current holders.[6]

However, following Romanun decet pontificem, only three of the eight popes of the 18th century did not make a nephew or brother cardinal.

Also, the Assembly of God has this rule: (page 34)

Nepotism The university may employ persons from the same immediate family when his/her individual qualifications are such that they represent the best possible choice for a given position. However, members of the same immediate family may not be employed in a situation where one member may have direct administrative responsibility for the other. This policy applies to all employees, whether hired on a full-time or part-time status. For purposes of this policy, immediate family shall be defined as father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, sister, brother, mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, and/or daughter-in-law.

Also, the United Methodist Church requires local Churches to address Nepotism:

¶702. Amenability and Program Accountability--

  1. All official general church organizations, groups, committees, councils, boards, and agencies of The United Methodist Church shall adopt a code of ethics, conflict-of-interest, confidentiality, whistleblower protection, record retention and document destruction and nepotism policies, applicable to both members and employees, which embody and live out our Christian values.

I'm sure there's more. I can't find it, but I'd bet that the major Lutheran divisions have policies, considering that Nepotism was one of Martin Luther's issues with the Catholic Church.

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that's really some interesting facts you pulled out. –  Mike Nov 26 '12 at 23:38
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