Religious liberty again being tested in courts

August 3, 2011 @

A California city’s certiorari petition to the nation’s highest court may set precedence for churches.

The city of San Leandro asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the decision of lower courts and to bring clarity to three subjects in the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The city said the concepts of “substantial burden,” “individual assessment,” and “compelling interest” have created confusion among the courts.

Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute says, “The city of San Leandro is attempting to have the U.S. Supreme Court water down the federal civil rights statute by getting it to come to a finding that a substantial burden for churches must be something real extreme in order for this federal civil rights statute to kick in to protect churches who are wishing to build or grow or expand to a new location.”

The case involves the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, which purchased property that was not zoned for religious use. The church requested to rezone the property, but their petition was denied by the city. A district court ruled in favor of the city, but its decision was reversed by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of appeals.

“If the U.S. Supreme Court takes up this case, hears it, and agrees with what the Ninth Circuit upheld, we will have nationwide, the same higher level of protection for churches to build, grow and expand and overcome hostile local governments and planning commissions,” says the PJI spokesman. “We have the potential to see an expansion of church growth like never before simply by effectively taking this decision and making it nationwide to a U.S. Supreme Court decision.”

Read More at One News Now By Becky Yeh, One News Now

2 Comments → “Religious liberty again being tested in courts”


    8 years ago

    The country needs moral pillars just as it needs a investigating press to question the government and they need the law of the Constitution to keep the intrusive government at bay. There is to much government now and it makes it’s way into far to much of our lives, we the prople are the government but the bureaucracy and the misuse of entitlements grows the government and it eats at the of wealth of incentive and responsibility this country has to offer. The morality somehow gets left in the dust and good intention goes astray as the government continues to nibble on the freedoms we consider sacred and come from God. If the court can suffice the battle ground which can keep government intrusion from our God given rights then let’s keep the battle going.

  2. Kait

    8 years ago

    I think this is awful that the writer thinks the possibility of Supreme Court overiding State Laws can somehow be a “win” for the churches! Does the writer not know that the Law has no “given” power over religion?

    If a state chooses to tell ANY church not to build in that state, then it is up to the people to change that within their state, should they want. However, should the Supreme Court make a NATIONAL ruling, we may have a Mosque on every corner of a town and every sq. mile in the country, not to mention that they may also build on the school courts–which THEY would be allowed to do!

    When will States realize that they are Sovereign? Unless, of course it really IS true that we are still operating under the War Powers Act, which takes away our Constitutional Republic. If this really is the case, why are Constitutional Attorneys and Congressmen not repealing this Act? I have written about this numerous times, now, and I am constantly reminding my Congressman to look into this and “take care of it!”

    In America, it is the Constitution or Nothing!

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