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Litigation Update

I wanted to provide each of you an update on some cases that are developing in the federal courts during this Christmas season.  As Ive mentioned previously, the case in Tennessee involving the Wilson County School District continues to move forward.  The ACLU challenged the School Districts allowance of a Christmas pageant that included students performing a live nativity scene and singing the song, Away in a Manger.  I am returning to Tennessee to work on this case with ACLJ Senior Counsel Larry Crain today. 


Larry is also handling another case for us in Texas on behalf of Mylon Le Fevre Ministries that has been denied their tax-exempt status.  Weve represented this ministry for literally decades, and they provide a valuable and important service to the Christian community.  The countys position in denying the ministry property tax exemption is wrong and must be reversed.  Increasingly, cities are trying to tax religious institutions.  This raises two fundamental problems.  First, tax exemption for real estate property taxes for religious organizations has been given since our founding; the reason is simple:  religious organizations and ministries give something back to the community thats worth more than the minimal tax revenue that would be generated.  This particular ministry has been meeting the needs of the community both in Texas and around the country for a long time.  We are pleased to be representing Mylon Le Fevre, a well-known Christian minister whose music and preaching ministry have reached tens of thousands.  We are working aggressively on this case to make sure his ministry is treated properly. 


The issue of county taxation and zoning against churches continues to be significant.  We are currently representing McLean Bible Church in both a federal cause of action and a state cause of action because of the countys unlawful denial of their use permit.  The county has actually alleged that the teaching of Bible courses that could receive seminary credit is not within the religious mission of the church.  The irony of this, of course, is that the church believes that the courses are an integral part of its mission and that government should not be making that determination.  We are working on that case through our office in Washington, DC. 


In this report, Im simply highlighting three cases that are among the dozens we are handling around the country.  We are also handling cases literally around the world on the issue of religious freedom.  I will be having a conference call with our European Centre for Law and Justice offices on several major cases currently in development in Europe at the European Court of Human Rights.


This is a particularly busy time for us at the American Center for Law and Justice, as well as our offices in Strasbourg, France and Moscow, Russia. For more information about the cases were handling around the United States, click here for our report.

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