Jay Sekulow

Faith & Justice

Keeping Church Doors Open

posted by Jay Sekulow

It is not unusual for our organization to receive a call or email from a church or ministry requesting our assistance.

Often these cases are resolved out of court – without a lawsuit being filed.  That’s exactly what happened with two different cases recently.

In Huntsville, Alabama, The Way of God in Truth Ministries was denied use of a city/public facility for its weekly Christian youth outreach program because it is a religious organization.” 

The City permits all other non-religious groups, organizations, and the like to use its facilities. The ministry member who contacted us shared a letter from our organization with the City Attorney that clearly spelled out the constitutional protections in place concerning this issue – equal access and equal protection for the ministry.

Our attorneys then followed up with an email to the City Attorney noting that the City must permit the ministry to use its public facilities in the same manner it is offered to other community groups and citizens.
Here’s the good news:  The City Attorney provided assurances in writing that The Way of God in Truth Ministries would be permitted to use one of its public meeting places. 

The issue was quickly resolved and the ministry got the green light to move forward with its plans.  As the ministry official put it in an email to our attorneys:  “Thank you! Thank you! We so appreciate your time!” 

I’m pleased to report on another victory – this one out of Louisiana.

The issue there involved the MORe Community Church of Leesville where the City refused to grant a zoning permit to the church to operate its administrative offices in an office suite in the City’s commercial/downtown district.  The City denied the permit solely on the basis that a religious organization would be using the office space, rather than a corporation or non-religious organization.

This action violated the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). We immediately sent the City a demand letter on behalf of the church alleging violations of RLUIPA and the Equal Protection Clause.

Our demand letter and involvement in the case produced the results we were looking for.

The Leesville City Attorney City contacted the ACLJ and explained that the City has granted MORe the certificate of occupancy it is entitled to for the operation of its administrative offices in the downtown district.

Church officials expressed to us their gratitude for resolving this in a timely manner so the church could forward in securing its leased space.

That’s just a small part of what we do at the American Center for Law and Justice.  A small – but vital role – protecting the constitutional rights of ministries and churches.

Previous Posts

Jay Sekulow: Will the State Department finally speak out for Pastor Saeed Abedini?
Last Friday’s standing-room only hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission was among the most dramatic I’ve witnessed.  There was outrage – outrage not just from me as I declared the State Department “AWOL” in our quest to free an American Pastor, Saeed Abedini -- a U.S. citiz

posted 11:50:49am Mar. 19, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: Help Us Tell the Story of American Pastor Saeed, Imprisoned in Iran
One of the most important things we can do is keep the story of Pastor Saeed Abedini in the spotlight. This U.S. citizen is facing eight years in a deadly Iranian prison, convicted for his Christian faith. We know that the situation he faces gets worse day by day. He remains cut-off from speaking

posted 3:30:16pm Feb. 06, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: American Pastor Saeed Barred From His Trial in Iran
It's unlike any judicial system in the world. On Monday, American Pastor Saeed Abedini went to court in Iran with his attorney to address charges of attempting to undermine the Iranian government. The real problem: he converted from Islam to Christianity 13 years ago and started working with house-c

posted 11:13:19am Jan. 24, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: American Pastor to Face Trial in Iranian Prison
An American Pastor is being held in Iran’s most notorious prison – Pastor Saeed, a U.S. citizen, has been told that he “will hang” because of his Christian faith. And, now the Iranian government has put this case on the fast track – and scheduled a trial that’s just days away. After s

posted 3:11:54pm Jan. 15, 2013 | read full post »

Jay Sekulow: HHS Fines for Challenging Mandate? Not So Fast
We are on the front lines when it comes to challenging the HHS mandate which requires employers to provide health insurance for employees that include paying for abortion-producing drugs - or face still penalties including significant fines. To date, we have secured injunctions – putting the ma

posted 11:47:06am Jan. 09, 2013 | read full post »

Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.