A Missouri senior center got into hot water after it blocked its residents from conducting Bible studies.
The legal council specializing in religious advocacy, the ACLJ, has threatened to sue on behalf of the study group.
The American Center for Law and Justice’s Abigail Southerland said when the group tried to put together a Bible study, the center set aside common space and allocated one of the areas for their use.
The group met weekly for several months without any complaints. But in June, they were told they could no longer study the Bible because some residents were “offended.”
The facility said that because the center was federally funded, the Bible study was prohibited by FHA guidelines.
Southerland said their interpretation was the exact opposite of the law.
The residents, guided by the ACLJ’s information, sent a letter to the center explaining federal law, which states that the FHA allows Bible studies on federal property, but it defends discrimination based on religious beliefs.
Southerland pointed out a 2008 case relating to the Chicago and District Apartment Association, which established that the rights of Jewish homeowners were violated when the association refused to allow religious objects on its exterior door. Many Jewish people nail a Mezuzah to the outside frame of their door to emphasize that their homes are “holy.”
The Association was ruled to have discriminatory intent, as other homeowners were allowed to display items in and around their exterior doors.
In recent years, there have been several legal struggles for the rights of residents living in senior centers to carry out Bible studies and other religious activities freely.
A couple in Virginia, in 2020, were facing eviction from their retirement home if they conducted Bible Study Meetings. They won their case.
Many “offended people” believe the law protects them from religion. The law protects the right to freedom of religion.