Thursday, November 19, 2009

California city changes policy with church

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A California city has had a change of heart related to church activities in city facilities.

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorney Daniel Blomberg explains that the case boils down to the fact that public facilities are indeed public facilities -- and that churches, which are part of the public, have equal rights of access. "[T]he city of Richmond, California, had a policy that would prevent the churches from being able to use some of its facilities," says the attorney. "Other members of the public were welcome to come there, but unfortunately churches were not allowed to come there." ADF sent a demand letter to the city to try to convince officials to align policy with the Constitution. The response? "Thankfully, when the city was notified of their unconstitutional policy, they quickly dealt with it," says Blomberg. "They dealt with it in a very reasonable and appropriate manner, and now churches have equal access in Richmond, California." In this case, notes the ADF attorney, city officials only had to be educated on the law -- and the message it sends to others in terms of use of city property, he adds, is that religious organizations should be treated the same as non-religious ones.

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