Immigrant Christians Have Difficulty Getting Their Place of Worship Approved
Romanian Christians who left their home country because of persecution found a new kind of discrimination in Sacramento, California when they attempted to receive city approval for a place of worship. One of the reasons given for a permit refusal for their new location was that there are “too many churches already” in the city.
That is when the lawyers for Pacific Justice Institute went to work. PJI’s Brad Dacus said the following about the case:
"Another reason given was that they said there were too many churches already," says Dacus, whose law firm is representing the church. "You know, it’s not the business of government to dictate how many churches we need." …
"They recognized clear similarities of the hostility that they had experienced in Romania, being persecuted as Christians, and they were having some of the same kind of resistance to be able to have a place to worship here in the United States."
Response: Fortunately PJI was able to obtain a favorable 5-0 vote from the city’s Planning Commission after threatening to take legal action.
Unfortunately cases like this in California are not at all rare except for the fact in this situation the affected church was comprised of Romanian Christians who fled their home country because of persecution only to face a surprising form of the same thing in the USA. Surprising because we are supposed to have a Constitution that guarantees religious freedom particularly when it comes to governmental interference.
Nevertheless, cities all over California and all across America are looking for ways to limit and regulate churches through their zoning and building codes. The major reason for this is the lack of tax revenue coming in to the city coffers from churches and places of worship. Undoubtedly this is why Sacramento bureaucrats complained and cited that there were already “too many churches” in their jurisdiction.
There was a time in America, and I remember it well, when churches were actually considered to be an asset for any community but this is no longer the case in our increasingly secular culture. *Top