National religious freedom organization now representing Livingston Christian

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In its legal battle against Genoa Township, Livingston Christian Schools is now being represented by the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

Today, First Liberty Institute filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of Livingston Christian Schools (LCS). In 2014, LCS requested permission to relocate their school onto church property in Genoa Charter Township.

Against the recommendation of the local zoning board, the Township refused to grant the zoning permit, substantially burdening LCS’s ability to operate a Christian school. LCS brought suit to protect its right to exist as a ministry in Genoa Township.

Read the brief here.

When its previous facility could no longer support the school, LCS found a new home in Brighton Church of the Nazarene. The church agreed to lease one of its buildings to house the school. Brighton Church then submitted an application to amend its permit to allow LCS to use the building as a religious school.

Although the Township’s experts, the local community, and the local zoning board all agreed that the permit should be granted, the Township Board denied the application, preventing LCS from operating anywhere within Genoa Township.

LCS has been engaged in litigation at the federal level for two years, attempting to secure their right to operate in Genoa Township. They sued the Township under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), arguing that the Township’s actions substantially burdened the school’s ability to operate as a religious ministry.

“The government is refusing to allow a Christian school to move into a building on church property or, for that matter, anywhere else in town,” Hiram Sasser, Deputy Chief Counsel for First Liberty Institute, says. “That’s wrong. Federal law expressly prohibits the government using zoning laws to keep religious institutions out of their town.”

Read more about the case at FirstLiberty.org/Livingston

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