Several months ago, the Christian Fellowship Center of Canton, New York, bought the building of a former restaurant with the intent of using the facility as their worship center. The Village of Canton’s village board wasn’t too thrilled with the idea and tried to stop them from worshiping there by using the argument the area was only zoned for a restaurant. A months-long legal battle ensued.
The church argued it was facing religious discrimination. Then a U.S. District Court judge handed the village a defeat. He ruled against the portion of the village’s case that claimed they were following the zoning law, ruling they could not enforce that zoning law. The strongest part of their case hung on that argument. Therefore, realizing they had no other choice, the Village of Canton was compelled to reach a settlement with the church.
The village found out the hard way that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still holds strong in cases of religious freedoms. They not only have to allow the church to worship in the former restaurant, they also now have to pay all of the church’s legal fees–amounting to $60,000. The situation demonstrates how vital it is for Christians to stand up for their rights whenever they have the opportunity to do so. Win or lose, God will be with us in the battle. Fighting such battles may not only help the Christian party involved, it can set a precedent that could help out other Christians at some point in the future and give them the encouragement they need to move forward in some plan the Lord may have in store for them.
18 I will give thee thanks in the great congregation: I will praise thee among much people.
19 Let not them that are mine enemies wrongfully rejoice over me: neither let them wink with the eye that hate me without a cause.
20 For they speak not peace: but they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet in the land. Psalm 35
Source: Christian Fellowship Center Wins Right To Use Property As Church, WWNYT News (video), April 30, 2019.