A senior living center in Missouri has banned a group of Christians from holding weekly Bible studies citing that the meeting offended some residents. CBN News reports that the senior center may soon find itself in legal trouble for prohibiting the meeting. The organizer of the Bible study us being represented by Abigail Sutherland of the American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian legacy advocacy group.
The woman who organized the Bible study led the group without issues for months. The meetings were held in one of several public spaces of the facility, one of which the woman reserved space for the Bible study for willing participants.
After complaints, the senior center allegedly claimed that “the Bible study should not have been allowed from the start because the center receives federal funding and such gatherings violate Fair Housing Act guidelines, according to The Christian Post.”
Southerland asserts that this claim, however, is the “exact opposite of the law.” In a letter written on behalf the Christian resident, her lawyer from the ACLJ wrote “Not only does the FHA allow a Bible study on federally funded property, but it also expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion in regard to providing facility services.” Southerland added that “The [U.S. Department of Justice] has made it clear that ‘someone could not, for example, be excluded from reserving a common room for a prayer meeting when the room may be reserved for various comparable secular uses.”
Southerland explained that it is common for more vulnerable populations, such as senior citizens, to be taken advantage of by those who tell them wrong. The freedom of Americans is protected by law, said Southerland, and people will fight for vulnerable populations if someone tries to violate their rights.
Southerland warned the facility that if they do not reverse their decision to ban the meetings, the ACLJ will file a federal lawsuit to “protect [her client’s] religious liberty.”