We at ADF often are asked what legal issues should most concern churches. And we make it a practice to ask the many pastors around the country we represent and interact with what they are most concerned about. Based on those experiences, I have compiled a top ten list of sorts that I will be blogging about for the next couple of weeks. The top concern will be listed first, and is the subject of today's post.
Land Use – We are seeing a marked increase in the number of churches contacting us because local officials have made it difficult, if not impossible, to build a new facility or expand their current one. Church use of land is often treated as poorly as sexually oriented businesses. ADF has already had to file five of these cases this year. One of those, Palm Beach Gardens Baptist Church v. City of Port St. Lucie, involves three small churches that have been told by the city they cannot locate in a shopping center where private clubs and day care centers are welcome. The best way for churches to combat this discrimination is first to educate themselves and zoning officials on the law and not just assume the city is acting in compliance with it. A good place to start is our resource, “Land Use FAQ” on the resource page of speakupmovement.org/church. If the government officials insist on treating churches less favorably than secular assemblies, the church should contact us, and consider filing a lawsuit to protect their rights as well as those of other churches in the area.
Check back soon for the #2 issue - Property Taxes.
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State officials are targeting a Christian school because of its beliefs and they are harming low-income students in the process.
Imagine if you had escaped government oppression in search of freedom and safety for your family in a new country—only to be greeted yet again with the government treading on Constitutional rights.