Thursday, June 25, 2020

Federal Court Denies Church Use Of It's New Building

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A California evangelical church may be forced to sell their newly acquired downtown building because a federal court in the San Francisco area has ruled in favor of the City of Salinas' refusal to allow the church to assemble in the building.


No. It's because "churches generate limited interest." And...

Be informed, not misled.

"Progress" usually excludes Christian Churches in the mind of the "Progressive."

A federal court in the Bay area has sided with the City of Salinas and are prohibiting the New Harvest Christian Fellowship from moving into their new downtown building the church purchased from Beverly Fabrics, because, the city says, they have a "city ordinance that prohibits houses of worship from occupying the first floor of downtown buildings."

And they say, "churches generate limited interest, do not draw tourists, and therefore detract from the city's goals of vibrancy."

The church purchased the property specifically because it has outgrown its old building. Probably because it "is" generating interest and could be drawing a few tourists.

Ironically, that part of the city is by all accounts already in a state of decline, with rioters filling the streets and destroying property nightly under the guise of Black Lives Matter.

Most clear-thinking people would conclude that there should be a church in the middle of the chaos. But so-called progressives are not clear thinking, because everything in their worldview is in flux and change---a true progressive has no fixed beliefs. They and their beliefs are always "evolving."

And it's popular among progressives to not be too friendly with biblical Christians because many of us are bigots. They say.

Hillary coined the term "Basket of Deplorables."

Joe Biden recently said on one of his in-home TV chats (and the New York Times reported it):
"Most Americans are good people who think this nation can be improved, but there are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people."

So rioters are filling the streets of the city without interruption from the city, but a church somehow disrupts the city.

Would the evangelical church be among Biden's 10-15% or Hillary's deplorables? It seems that's the progressive basket the city has placed them in, because the city's ordinance violates federal law regarding churches.

Pacific Justice Institute, (PJI), a California based conservative Christian legal firm, has filed suit on behalf of the church.

Brad Dacus, president of the firm, says, "This continues to be one of the most striking examples of unequal treatment of a church in the land use context that we have seen in the past 20 years."

Personally, I think they will win this case because the federal "Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act" protects houses of worship from discrimination in zoning laws. And besides, Salinas' rule is aimed at stimulating commercial activity downtown and "downtown" is in decline.

Pacific also notes that "Salinas deems churches as less deserving of equal treatment under the law than the live children's theater, two cinemas, and event center that share the city's downtown corridor with New Harvest Fellowship."

While Salinas claims to only want a vibrant fun zone downtown, why have they allowed nursing homes and a post office in the area?

And it's noteworthy that the New Harvest Church has been renting a building "downtown" on "Main Street" for the past 25 years.

And now the church is challenged, while the demonstrations and riots are apparently not.

It's hard to believe the decision and court ruling was simply carrying out due process of the law.

I don't believe it.

The myth of "separation of church and state."

Salinas is trying to use zoning laws and city ordinances to marginalize this church, but it reveals a greater urge among the Left to control the church. Which is common in today's America. Trump is an interrupter and that's one of the reasons he is hated by the left.

The idea of "separation of church and state" is birthed out of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists in 1802, assuring them the government can not interfere in the business of the church.

It says in part:

“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church and State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.”

It's clear that the original intent of Jefferson's letter was to assure the Baptists and all other church groups as well, that America would not have a state-run church, like England.

The phrase has been inverted and is used exactly opposite of what Jefferson intended. And said.

Through a series of legal maneuvers over a number of years, progressives have revised what Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers intended.

While the city of Salinas is not using "the wall of separation" as a club to manipulate the New Harvest Church, they are certainly operating in the perceived freedom the state has assumed to control the church.

Today, the state regularly controls, or attempts to control the church. Perhaps it's time for the church to tell the state, "I can't breathe." So "Back off."

Whether it's censoring sermons, forcing churches to affirm sexual behavior, the Bible clearly condemns affirming same-sex relationships, including so-called same-sex marriage---the risk is real of being labeled a bigot or being punished by newly minted laws written to punish those who disagree.

Jefferson meant the "wall" to be used for good, they have now inverted its intent and are using it for evil.

Most of the biblical principles and values upon which this country was founded have been inverted, because the church, in too many cases, has become silent.

Alexis De Tocqueville—a Frenchman who authored Democracy in America in the early 1800s, said, "I looked throughout America to find where her greatness originated. I looked for it in her harbors and on her shorelines, in her fertile fields and boundless prairies, and in her gold mines and vast world commerce, but it was not there."
"It was not until I went to the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her success. America is great because she is good, and if America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

I fear the moral compass in our culture has been passed from the pulpit to the activists. The great preacher Charles Finny often said should America fall, "the pulpits are to blame for that fall."

Instead of being cheerleaders, our nation needs preachers of righteousness. God's Truth.

And we need prayer. For our nation and for our families.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.