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.

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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.)

The Passion:

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ELCA convention:

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  • 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)

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