Saturday, March 17, 2018

Leased Property Off Limits for Georgia Church

August 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Monthly Articles, World News


Avondale Estates, a city near Atlanta, is awaiting word from a federal court on whether it will stop the town from blocking its plans to relocate a local church to inferior locations.

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is representing Christ Liberty Family Life Center, which has been forced to stop holding meetings in its leased facility. The church was founded in December 2009 to minister to youth, the poor, and others in need, but it was forced to stop meeting at its leased property because its total area covered less than three acres– a zoning requirement that does not apply to non-religious organizations.

ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot explains that his firm is arguing the zoning law violates the Constitution and is pointing out that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act prohibits zoning officials from singling out churches. He laments that this unconstitutional restriction, which non-religious groups do not face, has damaged the church.

“The church has had to meet in temporary places because they can’t use this facility that they’ve leased, and of course they’re continuing to have to pay rent on this facility that they’re not able to use for church services,” Theriot reports. “That’s resulted in the church not being able to do many of its ministries that it has for the poor and for the youth of the community and has resulted in the church’s attendance dropping significantly.”

The ADF attorney adds that the church is only asking for a level playing field, and he points out that federal law provides for equal treatment for churches.

ADF filed suit July 23, but is now waiting for the federal court to decide on whether the church can proceed its meetings at the leased location until a ruling is reached in the lawsuit.

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