RLUIPA, was RE: Potentially Important California State Case
sjamar at law.howard.edu
Mon Mar 1 19:57:42 PST 2004
Religion is a special category. It is treated specially in the
Constitution and in IHR instruments and in constitutions worldwide.
NIMBY ought not be allowed to reign for siting religious structures.
There ought to be good space zoned for religious groups to meet. And
for certain size groups, homes should be ok too.
We ought to encourage beneficent organizations. We need not make every
parcel into a tax-free church. But I know of no community where that
has in fact occurred. What I see far more often is states and
communities competing to give tax free land and other advantages to
employers to locate in their communities. I don't see that changing.
In short, I think Marci's concern with respect to tax base is misplaced
and has next to nothing to do with constitutional issues. And I don't
think religious anything can be left to pure majoritarianism.
And finally, in my experience, many zoning boards and land (ab)use
committees are either beholding to the monied interests or engage in
petty actions just because they can - especially when it affects less
popular things like religious buildings of certain types and sizes.
Last time I looked as zoning schemes, they were impenetrable, detailed,
and riddled with nonsense with multiple layers of commercial,
industrial, residential, and on and on. And they ALWAYS give way when
the big guys move in and want a change. Always.
No, some constitutional restraint on our lesser angels is necessary or
not only would there be no place at the inn, there would be no
The reader's particular community excepted, of course.
Prof. Steven D. Jamar vox:
Howard University School of Law fax:
2900 Van Ness Street NW
mailto:sjamar at law.howard.edu
Washington, DC 20008
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided
missiles and misguided man."
- Martin Luther King Jr., "Strength to Love", 1963
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