Federal judge puts decision against religious land use act on hold
Two months after U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson ruled the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) of 2000 an unconstitutional "blunderbuss of a remedy," he agreed to reconsider his decision, the Los Angeles Times reports today.
Two years ago Elsinore Christian Center, working with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Alliance Defense Fund, sued the city of Lake Elsinore, California, after it was denied a conditional-use permit to move into a former grocery store.
Yesterday, Wilson said the church could pursue its lawsuit under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, avoiding questions of whether RLUIPA is constitutional.
Alliance Defense Fund counsel Robert H. Tyler told the Times that yesterday's decision "represents a major victory at this stage of the litigation."
It may be a victory for Elsinore Christian Center, but what does it mean for RLUIPA? Dozens of RLUIPA cases are working their way through the courts right now. The constitutionality question is going to have to be answered sooner or later—and probably will end up at the Supreme Court. Earlier, supporters of the church said they would appeal the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Expect more coverage later at the websites of the Becket Fund and Alliance Defense Fund, as well as at the North County Times.
Let's take a brief respite from the Episcopal Church USA's implosion, shall we? For those of you desperate for more news on homosexuality and the church, Weblog will tomorrow be back to being the Bizzarro World version of The Advocate. (Sigh.)
- Group sees anti-Semitism in Gibson film | The Anti-Defamation League Monday called on Mel Gibson to modify his controversial film on the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ to make it "free of any anti-Semitic message" (Houston Chronicle)
- Also: ADL voices concerns on Gibson's 'Passion' (Associated Press)
- Also: Jewish group says Gibson's 'Passion' will fuel hate (Reuters)
- Gibson film ignites passion, irony | What if it's true that some Jews were culpable in Jesus' crucifixion? (Jonah Goldberg)
- Gibson's 'Passion' hearing whispers of anti-Semitism | "We still have grave concerns," Rabbi Eugene Korn, director of the Anti-Defamation League's Office of Interfaith Affairs in New York, said as he left the private screening (Houston Chronicle)
- Gibson gives select 'Passion' screenings | On Friday it was shown in Houston to an audience that included for the first time an official from the Anti-Defamation League (Associated Press)
- Mel Gibson screens 'Passion' for Houston group (Houston Chronicle)
- Stadium stirred by 'Passion' preview | A Harvest Crusade crowd in Anaheim gets a four-minute glimpse of Mel Gibson's provocative film about Christ (Los Angeles Times)
- Do the ratings rate? | Not satisfied with 'R' and 'PG-13,' some are creating their own ratings (ABCNews.com)
- Obeying the call of Kieslowski's commandments | How often are we to be introduced to "The Decalogue"? (The New York Times)
- Earlier: The Ten Commandments Become Flesh | A Polish director prods European and American audiences to consider God's timeless standards (Christianity Today, Feb. 5, 2001)
- The party faithful | Contrary to what you might have heard, God is not a DJ (The Guardian, London)
- TV has a long way to go before it's going gay | The medium's gay-themed or gay-friendly shows, it cannot be overemphasized, are more than ever before but still only a handful amid, literally, hundreds (Steve Johnson, Chicago Tribune)
- Colleyville's Daystar sees sign in TV deal | World's No. 2 religious broadcaster says KDTN can help it spread word (The Dallas Morning News)
- Lutherans to introduce new outreach strategy | Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson hopes to start sparking changes in the culture and composition of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as its lay and ordained leaders prepare to endorse a new strategic plan and new mission and vision statements (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Lutheran leaders gather for meeting | Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathering this week for their biennial meeting hope to dodge the controversy over homosexuality that dominated an Episcopal assembly (Associated Press)
- Lutherans charged to spread faith with less cash | WELS stresses outreach amid budget cuts (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Homosexuality debate unlikely at Lutheran convention | But ELCA voters will probably talk informally about Episcopal actions (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
Missions and ministry:
- Church event attracts youths | Thousands attend the festival in Anaheim. An Inland site may be used next year (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.)
- Also: Congregations try to keep converts after the Harvest | Some experts question whether the commitments will last (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.)
- Also: Messenger on the move | A Riverside pastor combines energy and conviction to become a leading evangelist (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Calif.)
- Evangelical campaign | Members of 104 South Bay churches join in the Alpha program, a huge effort to gently invite people from outside their churches to dine with them and talk about Christianity (The Mercury News, San Jose, Calif.)
- Troubled tavern reopens as Christian coffeehouse | The Chief, one of the more notorious Davenport bars in recent years, has become Christianized (The Quad-Cities Times, Davenport, Ia.)
- In a trendy coffeehouse, a jolt of religion | New mix of youth, faith is stirring (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- Area pastors share the Spirit | Cowboy Camp Meeting started in 1939 (Daily Times, Kerrville, Tex.)
- A tent revival. Yes, in Brooklyn | Seven days a week from June through August, a woman called Sister Brenda offers healing and salvation as part of her Miracle Prophecy Crusade (The New York Times)
- Ex-con program faces criticism | Residents lashed out Tuesday night against a plan to provide housing and counseling for ex-convicts in Carpentersville (Chicago Tribune)
- Also: A conflict Wheaton had first | Towns confront their fears about allowing a transition house for recently released inmates (Daily Herald, suburban Chicago)
- Persecution claims put spotlight on Kingsland | Wiccan claims an organized effort by a local pastor to harass, threaten and intimidate her (Austin American-Statesman, Tex.)
- Wicca high priestess battles town on prayer | She wants Jesus Christ taken out of premeeting entreaty (The Charlotte Observer)
- African religions attracting Americans | Voodoo, Santeria, and other religions with African roots are drawing followers in the United States among immigrants and black Americans interested in their ancestry, their leaders say (Associated Press)
- Judaism through books, not by the Book | Nextbook, a new project to promote Jewish cultural literacy nationwide, is hoping to raise such issues in secular places like public libraries, museums, symphony halls and the Internet (The New York Times)
- God? Loud denials and a few shrugs | The New York City Atheists may not need God, but they need each other. And they need each other to disagree (The New York Times)
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