Tuesday, January 16, 2007

First Amendment & Zoning Boards

I just read an article at Christianity Today about Christ Church in New Jersey who needs to build a new sanctuary. The suburb they are located in "approved" their request with 45 conditions. Things like - you can't have Friday or Sunday night services, Bible studies on Wednesday night only, two hour break in between services, and 450 fewer parking spaces that they need (I can attest attending a large church that parking is very important).
Crazy, I am hoping somebody will enlighten the Rockaway Township Planning Board that they are not allowed to violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment. Their zoning/planning authority does not trump the Constitution.


Anonymous said...

Why should Rockaway Township residents have to have the quality of their lives damaged to appease a church made up of non-residents? Last I heard, one family in the town attends this church.

Shane Vander Hart said...

I did not hear about that, but it doesn't matter. Their restrictions would restrict free exercise of religion. Their authority does not trump the constitution.

I hope that both the church and the Zoning Board can come up with an agreement that both parties are happy with. I am sure the church really does want to work with the community, but they also have facility needs that have to be addressed.