What do tiny homes, marijuana, a sex club, the Satanic Temple, and yoga have in common? They each make an appearance in this installment of the RLUIPA Round-Up!
- A Nashville United Methodist Church’s plan to construct a tiny home village for the homeless recently received approval from the Metro Zoning Board of Appeals. Despite neighborhood opposition, the Board found that the project falls within the religious mission of the Church. If constructed, the village would provide shelter for up to 20 homeless people in small individual houses. The Tennessean reported on the topic here.
- The International Church of Cannabis opened in an historic building in Denver, Colorado on April 20 irking neighborhood groups (according to Wikipedia, “April 20 has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.”) The parishioners, termed “Elevationists,” bond over invitation-only cannabis consumption events. The founding church member brushed off neighborhood concerns related to parking, noise, and odors and asserted Elevationists’ freedom of religion-promising to take any obstructionists directly to court. The story was reported by the New York Times.
- After getting into heat with local code inspectors, a Metro Nashville sex club incorporated as a “church” in 2015 in an attempt to circumvent local zoning codes. While sex clubs are allowed in town, they are not permitted near a school or in the zone in which the club is located. The club had previously represented to municipal officials that no sexual intercourse would be allowed on the premises. When city inspectors arrived in March 2017, the “congregation” was still in full swing, prompting the City to file suit and seek a permanent injunction to bar the sex club. The full story is available here. Our post about the initial controversy is available here.
- A Cobb County, Georgia assistant principal filed suit, claiming her First Amendment rights were violated when she was transferred from her “high performing” elementary school after her introduction of yoga sparked parental outrage. The school board claimed that the spiritual nature of yoga was offensive to some Christian parents while the assistant principal claimed her version of yoga was not religious. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports here.
After objections to a cross appearing in a war memorial in a small Minnesota town, the town had two choices to fend off potential lawsuits: remove the cross or create a public forum where all religions could be represented at the memorial. The town chose the latter and the first group to take advantage of that forum was the Satanic Temple. The Temple has designed a monument that it plans to add to the memorial, sparking outrage among some in the community. The story was reported by the Washington Post and the Star Tribune.
Original photo by Carea Cindy, some rights reserved.