Skip to comments.Experts Warn Houses of Worship at Risk After Court Ruling
Posted on 06/28/2005 7:37:31 AM PDT by rhema
Religious institutions may be more vulnerable to takeover through eminent domain after Thursday's (June 23) Supreme Court ruling that gives local governments greater power to seize properties for private economic development, according to some religious and civil rights advocacy groups.
Churches, mosques, synagogues and other nonprofit religious entities are considered especially at threat because they generate no tax revenue for cities, while developments like hotels or shopping malls are seen to be economic boons for urban renewal projects.
"Because all houses of worship are tax-exempt, they will continue to be attractive targets for seizure by revenue-hungry local governments," said Jared Leland, media and legal counsel of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
The Becket Fund is a nonprofit, interfaith legal organization that advocates for the free expression of religion.
The Becket Fund, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rutherford Institute and many other groups filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of seven residents of New London, Conn., who were fighting the city's decision to raze their homes to allow private developers to build a commercial complex.
Leland warned that taking land and property strictly for economic interests is a dangerous slippery slope, and said religious organizations threatened by this decision offer communities services and aid that are immeasurable by monetary standards.
"Religion is something that may not have an economic impact on communities, but does have a tremendous social impact on communities." Leland said. "Religious institutions should be welcomed and protected in the land-use matter."
John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute, said public furor may protect some religious institutions from takeovers, but warned they still will be vulnerable.
"If push comes to shove, churches, synagogues and anyone who they don't consider tax-generating entities will come under this," Whitehead said.
(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...
There is some sweet church property in the heart of NYC!
This is just another step in the the 'rats war against Christianity. They'll start siezing churches 'for the greater good.'
I'm pinging you guys to this article b/c, IIRC, there was an effort by the city of Charlotte to "relocate" the reknowned Elmwood cemetery in order to make way for a rail line or something.
I would guess this ruling leaves nothing sacred - not even a resting place for the deceased.
Or "separation of Church from estate."
It's not nice to fool around with God. My take is the more religious organizations are squeezed, the more determination the religious people will become to rise up.
We religious folks can be pretty powerful when we're mad.
The Governing Board of the National Council of Churches USA
invites you to join them in this call to pursue peace and justice in Iraq.
A Call to Speak Out.
July 4, 2005
This year our nation is at war as we observe the 4th of July, a day that honors those founders who spoke out for independence from tyranny. Today in Iraq a cruel dictator has been deposed, yet the suffering of the Iraqi people continues. Mandated elections have been held, yet the future of Iraq remains as uncertain as ever. Day by day the cost of this war for the United States, for Iraq, for peace grows clearer. No weapons of mass destruction have been found; no link to the attacks on September 11, 2001 has been shown. It has become clear that the rationale for invasion was at best a tragic mistake, at worst a clever deception.
As people of faith, we believe in the transcendent sovereignty and love of God for creation, and that the responsibility of human beings is thus to pursue justice and peace for all. We also believe that, as the biblical prophets of old, who in faithfulness to God spoke out to a people and a nation they loved, in humility before God we too are to speak to a land and people we love. As religious leaders we invite others who share our affections and dismay to recognize the time has come to speak out.
The time has come to say:
- NO to leaders who have sent many honorable sons and daughters to fight a dishonorable war;
- NO to the violence that has cost over seventeen hundred American lives, left thousands grievously injured, and killed untold numbers of Iraqis whose deaths we are unwilling to acknowledge or count;
- NO to the abuse of prisoners that has shamed our nation and damaged our reputation throughout the world;
- NO to the price tag for this war that has rendered our federal budget incapable of adequately caring for the poorest of our own citizens; and,
- NO to theologies that demonize other nations and religions while arrogantly claiming righteousness for ourselves as if we share no complicity in human evil.
The time has come to say:
- YES to foreign policies that seek justice rather than domination, compassion rather than control;
- YES to an early fixed timetable for the withdrawal of United States troops and the establishment of a credible multinational peacekeeping force;
- YES to the honoring of human rights even for our enemies and for a restoration of our reputation as a people committed to the rule of law;
- YES to spending and taxing priorities that put the poor first, providing health care, housing, employment, and quality education for all, not just the few; and,
- YES to a restoration of truth telling in the public square and to last resort rather than first strike as the criterion for the use of force to restrain evil.
On the day we celebrate our freedom, we acknowledge that the freedom promised in the toppling of a dictator has been replaced by the humiliation of occupation and the violence of a civil war. The sacrifice of brave men and women has been used to serve policies that have diminished our nations prestige and our capacity to be agents of justice in the world.
It is time to speak out that this 4th of July will celebrate the best ideals of our nation for our sake and for the sake of the world.
To comment on or endorse this statement, please click here.
When a city is first founded, one of the first buildings is a church. So you end up with mainline denominations and the Catholic church a century later owning lots of prime real estate in the center of the city.
In urban America, as shopping districts in ghetto neighborhoods die, abandoned storefronts become churches. That is why black neighborhoods seem to have practically a church on every block. In my old urban neighborhood the Protestant churches around used to be a bank, two bars, a plumbing supply store, a hair care salon, and an old Italian social club. If these neighborhoods are to be returned to the tax rolls, a lot of those churches are going to have to be closed.
I will be attending the local mandated election on Nov 8 2005 in my town in NJ, yet the future remains as uncertain as ever.
Where do they come up with this garbage? The libs have lost their minds for some time now...
Sure. The secular liberal church has been "seizing" owned properties via promotion of "secularism within the church" since the 1950s. In the business world, we'd call it "hostile takeovers". Hard enough to actually build "traditional churches" in blue zones, from what I've learned. Somehow the environmentalist or zoning laws prevent it. Heard about a church trying to be built with private funds, land was owned, but stalled through "citizen activist groups". The secularists in the area demanded the rights to use the church's property any time they felt like it. Ergo, this article posting seems to me, merely the next planed step by the "one worlders". Likely, probable? Yes. Church properties are in many cases, beautiful, beautiful lands.
I could see where a church in San Francisco might easily be deemed "condemned".
I'd still like to see them go after St. Patricks Cathedral or something like that in the heart of a BLUE state!~}
The hypocracy that would flow out of something like that would be a thing of beauty to watch unfold.
Crossroads ministry (delivering substance abuse "ministries" to large corporations) is connected to Interfaith Alliance.
Interfaith Alliance and "reparations". Race & Ethnicity (anti-racism work, xenophobia, racial discrimination, racial justice, the Civil Rights Movement, affirmative action, reparations) Leadership Conference on Civil Rights: an organization advocating for equality in a free, plural, democratic society in the U.S. capitol and around the country. Together, over 50 million Americans belong to the organizations that comprise LCCR. Its focus is fighting discrimination in all its forms, improving intergroup relations, and promoting the full participation of every American in every facet of our nation's life: www.civilrights.org
Crossroads Ministry and National Council of Churches 1998 calendar of events
Overall, no doubts the "Universalist churches" will be protected from these "property seizures" as they administer to the New World Agenda, some of which was laid out in documents at the UN Conference at Durban (attempting to label the US, Britain, and Israel as "racist nations".) US and Britain walked out; the agenda of the one-worlders has been surrepetiously continuing.
As some other blogger quipped (tongue in cheek in another (related) thread): Anti-apartheid movement" in the US masquerading as something else. Mowing down "churches" legally. Not quite the "mugabe" issue is Zimbabwe, but metaphysically, along the same lines, IMHO.
What goes on in the "securalist" so-called Episcopalian churches in SF and surrounding Bay Area.. would... blow... your... mind.
Well, there's our first problem: the NCC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democrat Party. It's also inaptly named; it should be titled something like the National Council of Effete and Largely Apostate Liberal Churches.
As their parishioners have moved to the suburbs and what were once the Irish and Italian neighborhoods around them are now Black, the Catholic Church has been closing up and consolidating urban churches. So we won't see much of this directed against Catholic churches.
It will fall on Pentecostal, Baptist, and COGIC storefront churches. And Jehovah's Witness compounds.
I think the NYC government would have a real problem on their hands if they did something that stupid, since the majority of the police and fire departments are Catholic!
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