If your former employer is spreading lies about you, you may be able to file a defamation lawsuit against him or her. It really depends on the specific laws in your state. Some states allow an employer to say whatever it wants to about a former employee, as long as what the employer actually believes what it’s saying. However, this is the law in the minority of states. Most states limit what a former employer can say about an employee to the date the employee was hired, the date the employee and employer separated, and in some states, the employee’s salary range and rehire rights.
If you live in the majority of states, you may be able to file a civil suit against your employer. However, defamation cases can be complex case and should be handled by a local attorney. In some cases the employee needs to present a potential employer as a witness who will testify under oath that had it not been for the poor recommendation from the former employer, he or she would have hired you. Unfortunately, many employers do not want to get involved with a court action for a person who is not an employee and who has the courage to take issues to court.
Another complex issue is showing damages. If the problem with your church is that a few people made fun of you, it is doubtful that would rise to the level of damages a court looks for. On the other hand, if the church demoted you from a position of power or a paid position, that may be evidence against your former employer. Again, this is not an easy case and needs the assistance of a local attorney who is familiar with your state’s laws.