After months of fighting Bernard’s Township zoning laws, the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge New Jersey was finally granted the right to build their mosque. No matter the religion, city governments cannot intentionally throw up obstacles to religious organizations. Learn more at FirstLiberty.org/Briefing.
3.25million dollars—that’s the price one New Jersey town will pay for its religious discrimination.
Not long ago, on this program, I told you about the refusal of Bernard’s Township, New Jersey, to grant a building permit to the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge New Jersey. The society fought city hall for at least four years, having their application denied 9 separate times.
In November 2016, the US Department of Justice filed a suit against the township, alleging a violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. The Department of Justice won just two months later.
But, by May 2017, the Township decided to give up the fight, settle with the government, and allow the Islamic Society to build their mosque.
This is good news for religious liberty. Though Bernards Township, in this case, used their zoning laws to prevent the building of a mosque, it could’ve just as easily been a synagogue, church, cathedral, or other house of worship. City governments cannot intentionally throw up permitting obstacles to religious organizations. They must treat a religious organization’s application for land use just like it would any other land use application.
In a land that values freedom, our government should never make the free exercise of religion difficult.