Church Allowed To Sue Over Police Investigation of Loud Rock Music
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a Michigan church may sue its local township over police investigations into the church's loud music.
The case first arose in 2008, when police were called to Faith Baptist Church in Waterford Township to investigate complaints of loud, contemporary music at the church during its Wednesday night service for youth. Church leaders perceived these investigations as "raids," according to the Thomas More Law Center.
According to the Sixth Circuit opinion, the township's prosecutor told the church's pastor that "the church should not be playing rock music," and he "[was] going to continue to issue tickets until it's stopped."
The appeals court's decision overturns a lower court ruling from 2010, which found the church had suffered no "concrete or particularized injury," nor offered any "specific allegation that any right to free association has been impinged or that any church members were deterred from worshiping."
However, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the church had a "reasonable fear" that one police officer's threats of prosecution would have a chilling effect on the church's "speech, free exercise of religion, and freedom of association."
CT previously has reported on a faceoff between Christians and animists over loud music in Ghana in 2001. More recently, CT noted the rise in noise-pollution regulations in African countries, where government officials are telling churches they must reduce worship-related noise levels or face penalties.