Religious Land Use

Accord­ing to Agape­Press, a Titusville, PA, church called the Light­house Chris­t­ian Cen­ter, has been refused the use of a com­mer­cial build­ing which they were hop­ing to move into, as the con­gre­ga­tion had out­grown their old build­ing. The area of Titusville in which they are want­i­ng to move is zoned as a “church-free” area (who would want to live and work near wild, uncon­trolled, par­ty­ing, and just oth­er­wise bad-news CHRISTIANS, after all?).

Cit­ing vio­la­tion of the fed­er­al RLUIPA, as well as the First and Four­teenth Amend­ments of the Con­sti­tu­tion, LCC is suing the City of Titusville for dis­crim­i­na­tion and use of the land. 

Obvi­ous­ly, I side with Light­house; they should be able to use what­ev­er build­ing they want pro­vid­ed it is obtained legal­ly and their finan­cial oblig­a­tions are met. Whether or not I agree with their spend­ing time mixed up in the court sys­tem to get the laws straight­ened up. The affairs of this world–includings its own laws–shouldn’t be too much a con­cern to those who seek­ing to please the God who has called them (2 Tim­o­thy 2:4), I think.

This reminds me in many ways of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and the “whites only” neigh­bor­hoods that were around some time before I was born. Men who by no choice of their own were born with dark­er skin were dis­crim­i­nat­ed against by hate­ful white folk–even by hate­ful Chris­tians (which, hon­est­ly, should be the biggest of all oxymorons).

So now, assem­blies of believ­ers who by no choice of their own were born from above (John 3:3, “born again” beign bet­ter trans­lat­ed as “born from above”) into God’s fam­i­ly are being dis­crim­i­nat­ed against for rea­sons I could­n’t even begin to fath­om, aside from the fact that it ful­fills the words of Jesus (lost peo­ple do this often, which may explain why they seek to dis­cred­it His words, which describe them so well so often). The per­se­cu­tion and hate of believers–even whole assem­blies of believers–ought not suprise any­one with a cur­so­ry knowl­edge of what the Lord has said, that the world will hate them because the world first hat­ed Him.

I have men­tioned in pass­ing that I think it is bet­ter for church­es to assem­ble in homes and for church­es to not reg­is­ter with the gov­ern­ment as a tax-exempt organization.

Not a whole lot can be done about what peo­ple talk about and gath­er unto with­in a home. Com­mer­cial prop­er­ty, as shown in Titusville, PA, can be lim­it­ed. (Thank God for that, or we may have adult book and video stores, strip clubs, and more pop­ping up all over the place.)

And reg­is­ter­ing with the gov­ern­ment puts lim­its on what can be said. (Endors­ing any par­tic­u­lar polit­i­cal can­di­date comes to mind, though there are oth­ers.) Church lead­ers will be lim­it­ed enough by those with­in the con­gre­ga­tion who want noth­ing more than to cause divi­sion among the brethren; there is no need to put on the gov­ern­men­t’s leash. It would be a small step for the gov­ern­ment to restrict non-prof­its from pro­mot­ing any par­tic­u­lar reli­gion as well. That day is grow­ing clos­er. It may take a long time for it to hap­pen, but it will. It will have to–Revelation says that one day believ­ers will be unable to buy and sell, let alone own a build­ing in which to gath­er with­out the need to pay tax­es to that Wicked who will be in con­trol at that time.

I’m hop­ing Light­house is able to get the build­ing they want. Such dis­crim­i­na­to­ry laws should not exist, but the gov­ern­ment is not ours; ours is in Heav­en, and it more than any­thing should make us used to obey­ing (there are no appeals before the Judge in Heaven).

If Light­house is not able to get the build­ing, it may be the begin­ning of a flood­gate, both of such white-col­lar per­se­cu­tion, but also of a home-church movement.

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Rick Beckman