ACLJ Suing Virginia County Over Church Discrimination
The ACLJ is filing a lawsuit today on behalf of a church in northern Virginia. As we told you, Alive Church of the Nazarene was told if they wanted to utilize the property that they own, then they needed to get a liquor license. You read that correctly. If they want to use their own land for worship, the church needs a liquor license.
This demand is not only nonsensical – the church doesn’t even use alcoholic wine in communion – it is treating the church in a uniquely different way. There is no other possible explanation for this except blatant religious discrimination. That is why we are suing Prince William County, VA.
Our client and pastor of Alive Church, Allen Perdue, joined Sekulow to discuss what led this church to this property to begin with:
If I could, I want to quickly say thank you to Ben Sisney [ACLJ Senior Counsel] – how our paths crossed was a God thing. And Jay to you and the ACLJ . . . you have been with us and you gave us the roadmap for how to get into schools – giving students the bill of rights to do Bible clubs in their local schools. Thank you and the ACLJ for all you do. Thank you for taking on this important case.
Allen went on:
It began because we are active in our community. I’m very active in our business community. And the business associations in our area – meet just in general for meetings and get together in wineries. We have these business meetings there. And we left and our board and our leaders here said man you go to these wineries and they have these really nice facilities, but they are parking on gravel, or they are parking on the grass. So, we simply went to the zoning administrator and said why can’t we do that? You’ve removed all of the red tape for them. But for churches you have put up in place this huge amount of red tape – this special use permit, which by the way we have. We asked can we just build a venue like that? And when I asked the question, she looked right in my eye and said go get your ABC license [liquor license] . . . and it’s like wow we are a church.
The church just wanted to be treated equally and the county denied that right. Anytime the government tries to treat a church differently is a very serious issue. The ACLJ has been defending the rights of religious liberty for a long time.
This issue goes all the way back to 1993 in a monumental case – Lamb’s Chapel v. Center Moriches School District. A school district tried to not allow this church to use the school’s property to present films on family values from a religious perspective. After my dad, ACLJ Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow, argued at the Supreme Court, the Court held that the school district violated the church’s First Amendment rights and this decision has been treated as precedent for countless cases when it comes to government restrictions.
The scope of the ACLJ’s line of work doesn’t just stop there. We are fighting at the local level for a church in Virginia, but we are also utilizing people like former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, now Senior Counsel for the ACLJ, on global issues. One of the greatest threats to American safety and security right now is still the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.
ACLJ Senior Counsel for Global Affairs Mike Pompeo was responsible for some of the most successful policies when it came to protecting and securing our border. The Biden Administration has finally taken note of the former Administration’s work and renewed the Title 42 order of the U.S. Code for COVID-19 concerns. Mike Pompeo discussed if he thinks the Biden Administration will actually implement this policy:
Well America’s health and security both depend on them actually executing what they have now said they are going to do. Look, I always want to give credit where it’s due. If they have now gotten it right and said that they are going to reinstate that part of the policy that our Administration had, then I am happy about that. It is all about implementation. . . . This matters an awful lot. We can’t have people who are coming in who have COVID while we are setting up a different set of rules and constructs here inside the U.S. for Americans. . . . They need to go back to all of the policies that we had in place. . . You talk about these record numbers – this wouldn’t have happened if they would have just stayed the course, treated people humanely, and stopped this terrible human crisis of these people crossing this desert. . . . Remain in Mexico, a good policy on asylum, a set of rules about people who are coming who may be contagious . . . all of those form an umbrella that had truly gotten control of our southern border for an awfully long time, they ripped the bandaid off, and the United States is now suffering for that.
The United States is suffering on a host of issues under the Biden Administration. Between discriminating against churches, attacking the First Amendment, and the crisis at our southern border – the ACLJ is needed now more than ever.
Today’s full Sekulow broadcast is complete with even more analysis of our lawsuit against Prince William County and the Biden Administration renewing the Title 42 order.
Watch the full broadcast below.