Liberty Institute Continues Defense of Opulent Life Church Against City of Holly Springs Ordinance that Unlawfully Targets Churches
HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss., Oct. 17, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being released by the Liberty Institute:
WHAT: Tomorrow, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mills will hear oral arguments on Opulent Life Church's request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) in this high profile religious liberty case. Following a recent U.S. Court of Appeals victory, the Mississippi church will ask the judge to halt enforcement of an ordinance—enacted by the City of Holly Springs, MS on the eve of appellate arguments—which unlawfully discriminates against churches and prohibits their operation in the City's downtown area.
WHO: Liberty Institute's Director of Litigation Hiram Sasser, on behalf of Opulent Life, will attend to present the case for granting the TRO and will be available to comment on the proceedings. Counsel for the City will also be present.
WHEN: Thursday, Oct. 18 at 10 AM CT
WHERE: U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi, Western Division,
Room 369 Federal Building
911 Jackson Avenue
Oxford, MS 38655
DETAILS: In January 2012, Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Opulent Life Church and its pastor, Telsa DeBerry, and sought a preliminary injunction, which the federal district court denied. In March 2012, Liberty Institute filed an appeal, arguing that the city's zoning ordinance unfairly singles out churches, and asking the court to reverse the lower court's decision. In late September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit declared the City's ordinance placing numerous conditions on Opulent Life Church, which prohibited the church from occupying space on the town square, a violation of federal law, and it reversed a lower court's ruling. The Fifth Circuit found that the City's original ordinance "plainly violated the Equal Terms Clause of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act." On the eve of the appellate argument, the City announced that it had enacted a revised ordinance, which bans churches from operating in the City's central square. In reviewing the revised ordinance and remanding the case to the federal district court for further proceedings, the Fifth Circuit observed that the City's revised ordinance is likewise "a prima facie Equal Terms Clause violation."
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America — in our schools, for our churches and throughout the public arena. Liberty's vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of our Founding Fathers. For information, visit www.LibertyInstitute.org.
SOURCE Liberty Institute