RLUIPA Churches

News & Analysis as of

Massachusetts Church Alleges Solar Panel Denial Violates Religious Freedom

A Massachusetts Superior Court is soon to consider the interplay of three important planning principles – historic preservation, sustainable development, and freedom of religion. A Unitarian Universalist church is suing the...more

Ninth Circuit Rejects Hawaii Cannabis Ministry’s RFRA Challenge

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently upheld the convictions of two ministers of the Hawaii Cannabis Ministry who admitted using and distributing large quantities of cannabis in accordance with their...more

Church and New Jersey Township Nearing Settlement of Religious Lawsuit

We previously reported about the federal lawsuit filed by Christian Community Chapel against the Township of Hillsborough, New Jersey, in which the Township denied the Chapel’s variance requests to use a 14.3 acre property as...more

New Jersey District Court Remands RLUIPA and Equal Protection Defense to State Court

The Freedom From Religion Foundation sued the Morris County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the Morris County Preservation Trust Fund Review Board, and Joseph A. Kovalcik, Jr. (“Defendants”) in New Jersey Superior Court claiming...more

West Virginia Church Prevails Against Development Authority

Late last year, Summit Church of Elkins, West Virginia, sued the Randolph County Development Authority (“RCDA”) in the Northern District of West Virginia for preventing the Church from purchasing a local movie theater for...more

All Hell Breaks Loose in Phoenix Satanic Prayer Showdown

In our post last month Satanists Score Victory in Phoenix, we reported on the controversy involving the Satanic Temple’s request to open Phoenix City Council’s meeting with prayer....more

Connecticut Soup Kitchen to Remain Open Following Settlement

The City of Norwich, Connecticut has agreed to end a three-year legal battle to settle three separate federal lawsuits allowing St. Vincent de Paul Place, Norwich, Inc., a ministry of The Polish Roman Catholic Congregation...more

Congregation unlikely to succeed on RLUIPA claims

The Northern District of Illinois recently had an opportunity to apply the Seventh Circuit’s “accepted zoning criteria” RLUIPA Equal Terms test to a plaintiff’s request for a preliminary injunction in Truth Foundation...more

When the Tent’s A-Rockin’… Rock Below 60 Decibels

Vintage Church of Metairie, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana was never a source of neighborhood angst—that is, until the tent came. After merging with another local church in 2010, Vintage’s membership steadily rose. By 2015, the...more

Magistrate Judge Recommends Issuance of Preliminary Injunction to Hope Rising Church

Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church is one step closer to obtaining a preliminary injunction against Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, as U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert C. Mitchell issued a Report and Recommendation to allow the...more

Update: Nomadic Church and Delanco Township Consent Order

On November 3, we reported that My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) sued Delanco Township, New Jersey after denial of the Church’s application for a use variance . (See our November 3 post). Based on the parties...more

Nomadic Church Sues New Jersey Township Over Denial of Use Variance

A predominantly African American Church of about 25 members known as My Father’s House Ministry, Inc. (Church) is suing Delanco Township, New Jersey over allegations that the Township violated both the Religious Land Use &...more

A Lesson in Judicial Ripeness: Homeless Shelter’s Suit Dismissed

A federal court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by New Life Evangelistic Center, Inc. against the City of St. Louis because New Life’s claims are not yet “ripe” for review. In order for a court to have jurisdiction to hear...more

What is Religious Exercise Under RLUIPA?

In last week’s, RLUIPA Round-Up we reported about the case Hale v. Federal Bureau of Prisons (D. CO 2015) in which the court found that the Church of the Creator – a white supremacist movement that advocates “total racial...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that may be of interest to our readers. - The New York Times reports that the Ten Commandments monument on the Oklahoma Capitol...more

Life is Beautiful! Stevie Wonder Concert Not a Burden on Religious Exercise

A federal court in Nevada recently dismissed a church’s claim that a music festival in “Sin City” Las Vegas featuring the likes of Stevie Wonder, Duran Duran, and Twenty One Pilots burdened its religious exercise....more

Tear Down This Wall! Botched Demolition and Apartment Conditions Lead to RLUIPA Dispute

On September 24, Rock Church of Easton (Rock Church) filed an “Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and /or Preliminary Injunction” against the City of Easton, Pennsylvania (the City or Easton) and its Bureau of...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Below are news items from the past week involving local government, religion, and land use that have caught our attention. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York has issued a Memorandum and...more

Hope Rising Church Hoping for a Preliminary Injunction

In June 2014, Plaintiff Hope Rising Community Church sought to establish a place of worship in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania. According to its complaint, Pastor Harry Hoff met with Penn Hill’s planning and code enforcement...more

Religious Institutions: September 2015

Respondeat superior (literally, "let the master answer" in Latin) is a doctrine that applies when an employer or principal has the ability and authority to direct and control the pertinent acts of the employee. Put otherwise,...more

Illinois Federal Court Dismisses Some, But Not All, RLUIPA Claims

A federal court in Illinois, in Church of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ v. City of Markham, Illinois (N.D. Ill. 2015), dismissed some of the Church’s religious land use claims while allowing others to proceed. The case is...more

Phoenix, Arizona Wins Religious Land Use Suit

A Phoenix federal court recently issued a decision that may be of interest to local governments for two reasons. First, the case, Salman v. City of Phoenix (D. AZ 2015), is notable for its finding that RLUIPA claims cannot...more

RLUIPA Round-Up

Religion Clause Blog reports that Indiana’s First Church of Cannabis is using the state’s recently enacted religious freedom law to protect its founder and two members from prosecution for possession of marijuana. The Church...more

RLUIPA Round Up – Independence Day Special Edition!

Independence Day—no better time to reflect on the numerous (enumerated and unenumerated) rights protected by our United States Constitution. Thanks to Obergefell v. Hodges, those rights are now more clearly focused. However,...more

RLUIPA Suit Looms After Controversial Connecticut Church Denial

The Danbury Zoning Board of Appeals denied a church’s application for variances to develop an 18-acre parcel with a house of worship and priest residence. Now, Danbury could join the list of Connecticut municipalities that...more

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