Federal Judge Tells Bolingbrook Mayor for Third Time: You're Wrong, Church Discrimination Lawsuit Goes Forward
Trial Continues on Charges Bolingbrook Tried Illegally to Prevent Church from Worshiping
BOLINGBROOK, Ill., April 20, 2012 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Liberty Temple Full Gospel Church of Bolingbrook, a predominantly African American congregation, last year won an emergency injunction motion after a federal lawsuit (still pending) was filed against the Village of Bolingbrook. The suit asserted that the Village discriminated against them by making demands on the Church that the mayor and the Village had not made on other churches. The injunction allowed the Church to open while the lawsuit continued.
Recently, Bolingbrook attempted to stop the case from going to trial by filing a motion seeking summary judgment against the Church. However, Federal Judge Harry D. Leinenweber ruled last week against Bolingbrook, concluding for the third time that the Church has a right under the Bolingbrook Zoning Code and federal law to be in its property. The suit will go forward as the Church seeks damages for violation of the Religious Land Use and Intuitional Persons Act (RLUIPA). Liberty Temple also views Mayor Roger Claar's position as discriminatory against the Church's First Amendment rights.
"Bolingbrook's leadership not only engaged in discriminatory zoning practices, they keep asking to get off the hook, and the judge keeps saying 'no'," said Andy Norman, Attorney for Liberty Temple. "It seems to me as though the mayor is willing to waste Bolingbrook's resources on a matter that was a routine zoning matter clearly favoring the Church. Why is he making this a long-term legal battle that is wasting taxpayer money?"
Apostle Clifford E. Turner, founder of six Liberty Temple congregations, stated, "We are pleased with Judge Leinenweber's ruling denying the Village's motion for summary judgment. The opinion took note of the hostile actions and statements of Mayor Claar which the Church has alleged. We look forward to a jury trial which will bring to light the actions and manipulations of the Village."
The matter began when Mayor Claar and his administration denied that the zoning regulations permitted Liberty Temple to establish a church in the Bolingbrook Commons Mall even though churches explicitly were permitted in a B-4 zone, where the church is located.
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