Federal Suit Filed Before Easter to Protect Living Spring Church

(Chicago, IL—March 23, 2016) Pastor Yomi Joel and Living Spring International Church filed suit in federal court today against the Village of Midlothian to protect the Church’s right to worship at its building located 4645 147th Street. After dragging the Church through a nearly year-long permit process, the Village Board voted to deny the Church’s permit request on February 24, 2016, ignoring the Zoning Board of Appeals recommendation to approve the Church.

“Our church may not look like their churches or the other churches on 147th Street, but that does not mean that our small congregation doesn’t have the constitutional right to religious freedom and equal treatment.” said Pastor Yomi Joel, “it is a shame we will not be able to worship in the building this Easter.”

Following the Village’s February 24th decision, several Village Trustees told the press that they couldn’t approve the Church’s request because the building was not “very church-like.” The lawsuit, filed by attorney Noel W. Sterett of the law firm of Mauck & Baker, LLC, alleges that the Village’s zoning code and decision violates the Religious Land Use & Institutionalized Persons Act, a federal statute enacted in 2000.

“Federal law is clear that municipalities must treat religious assemblies and nonreligious assemblies, like clubs and lodges, on equal terms. Since Midlothian freely permits clubs and lodges at the property, it cannot deny the Church the same freedom.” said attorney Noel Sterett “The Village is not above the law."

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