"The decision came from a case involving the Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries, a Christian group which won a court order allowing them to hold a “prayer, praise and worship” service in meeting rooms open to other groups at a Contra Costa County library branch. A federal judge said it had a First Amendment right of religion to use the public’s facilities.
But a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that ruling in a 2-1 decision.
“Prohibiting Faith Center’s religious worship services from the Antioch meeting room is a permissible exclusion of a category of speech,” Judge Richard Paez ruled.
The Alliance Defense Fund, which is defending the church group, called the decision “astounding.” The group, he said, would consider appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court or asking the appeals court to reconsider.
“Religious people … whether they’re Jewish, Muslim or Christian or any other faith under the sun, this is not what the First Amendment was intended to do, to authorize censorship of speech in public,” said Gary McCaleb, an ADF attorney."
This for me is a tough one. Generally speaking, I simply can't understand why religious groups continue to try and establish places of worship in public buildings. Granted, the thought of moslems being provided the same hospitality is what bothers me the most, as I consider islam to be unfit for human consumption. And what's sauce for the goose, etc etc. Open house to one religious community means all are welcomed, and I'd rather modern day shamen retire to the sanctuaries created for such business. It isn't as if there aren't enough houses of worship around. 1/10 of the money spent in the US alone on such gathering places would be enough to balance the deficit, feed, clothe, and house the truly needy, and create medical facilities for those less fortunate. And I won't even get into what such an impact of additional funds would do for the education system. Or the need for prisons. But folks have long since decided what is more important, and so be it.
Just don't ask to take over public buildings, too.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
9th Circuit Bans Religious Expression From Public Libraries...
This is being featured over at Stop The ACLU