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Truth stranger than fiction: Christian author can’t discuss book at Tenn. library

ADF attorneys file suit against Putnam County Library  over meeting room policy forbidding use for ‘religious purposes’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Alliance Defense Fund attorneys filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Putnam County Library on behalf of an author whom officials denied access to a public meeting room for a discussion about a Christian book she wrote. Library officials told Ilene Vick that the meeting rooms could not be used for anything religious because library policy forbids it.

“Christians shouldn’t be excluded from reserving and using public meeting facilities because of their beliefs,” said ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum. “It’s incredibly ironic that discussing a book would be prohibited in a library. The government cannot discriminate against Christians just because of their religious viewpoint.”

Last September, Vick attempted to reserve a public meeting room at Putnam County Library to discuss her book, Personality-based Evangelism. Library officials rejected her request, citing their 2009 meeting room policy, which stated, “Rooms are not available for meetings of social, political, partisan, or religious purposes....”

ADF attorneys filed Vick v. Putnam County with the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Nathan Dowlen of White House, Tenn., one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance, is serving as local counsel in the case.

In May, ADF attorneys secured a favorable settlement in a similar lawsuit filed on behalf of a Florida man who had been prohibited from reserving a public library meeting room for a “Religion in America” seminar. The library agreed to change its policy banning religious uses.

ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.  Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.