There is a lot of misunderstanding on this thread about what an amicus curiae petition is and what it represents. (Some do seem to understand the matter more than others)
An amicus curiae petition does not make the petitioner party to the suit. It simply allows a third party to express an opinion on a point of law about to be decided.
An amicus curiae petition does not make the petitioner a friend of any particular party to the suit.
An amicus curiae petition does not mean that the petitioner is filing in behalf of any party in the suit.
Filing a amicus curiae petition means only that there is a pending matter of law that someone wants to offer an opinion on for consideration. That is all there is to it.
Also, the Society did not lose the suit in question. You cannot lose when you are not party to the dispute.
Regarding the Society’s expressed legal opinion in its petition of amicus curiae, it is true that the court’s decision was not entirely what the Society hoped for. On the other hand, such decisions cannot always be construed as winning or losing. Because attorneys are used to how the court system works they do not get too bent out of shape because such petitions are often sort of half won and half lost. That is, the court offers some middle of the road decision that is less peremptory on a particular issue than the petitioner wanted. In this case it is false to say that the Society lost because the Society was never a party to the suit. Jimmy Swaggart Ministries lost while the Society’s petition received less acceptance than they wanted. Whether the Society could otherwise successfully win their particularly favored opinion as party to a suit is yet decided. The Society filed its amicus curiae petition hoping to build further precedent without the expense of filing their own suit or being sued.
Additionally, the Society’s decision to change how we handle donations was not made because they lost a legal battle but because they wanted to save themselves from such a battle, which in my opinion they could win quite easily. Nevertheless, winning easily and conserving expense are not the same thing. Legal battles can be won easily and still cost a fortune to win.
Finally, congregations were made aware of circumstances at the time. In a letter dated 2/9/90 elders in the United States were informed that new donation arrangements was enacted based upon recent (at the time) Supreme Court decisions regarding religious activities. At the time it was common knowledge that the applicable rulings were those having to do with the Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. With the Society’s permission elders passed on verbally the contents of that letter. Besides that, elders were instructed to read a letter to all congregation in the United States and its Territories stating the reasons for the change to a completely donation arrangement. In part that letter said, "Additionally, many have noted that secular authorities are increasingly viewing certain religious activities as commercial." (Letter dated 2/9/90 to All Congregations in the USA and its Territories) That comment was offered as one compelling reason for the change.