Policy: We need a law defining Associations

Lars Poulsen - 2023-06-19


In my native Denmark, there is a law called the Associations Code, sort of a parallel to the Corporations Code, that we have here in the US. It defines what an association is, and regulates the use of the term.

It basically states that

Thus, a private developer may not operate a for-profit business and call it a "Country club" or a "Golf Club".

I was thinking about this after the recent debacle, when the Saudi Arabian government bought the PGA Tour without consulting the golf players. I think most people believed that the "PGA Tour" was a program organized by the "Professional Golf Association" and that the PGA was an association of professional golf players. Maybe some of the players thought that as well.

I have seen similar problems in some churches, that are really private businesses owned by the senior pastor with no input from the congregation. In one case, the minister wanted to retire, and he sold the church building complex and the land it sat on to a private for-profit elementary school, while stipulating that the buyer should build him a home in one corner of the property, which he should inhabit for the rest of his life for free. The members of his congregation did not hear about this until the deal was finalized.

My own church is in fact a not-for-profit corporation governed by a board elected by its members. The only question - which comes up every few years - is whether you need to pay dues in order to be counted as a voting member.

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