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Latino Daily News

Sunday November 6, 2011

Predominantly Latino Church Sues City for Discrimination When Its Not Allowed to Operate

Predominantly Latino Church Sues City for Discrimination When Its Not Allowed to Operate

Photo: Iglesia Cristiana Renacer Sues Lynn city

Click Here to Enlarge Photo

What is going on in Lynn city, Massachussetts with the Iglesia Cristina Renacer – is it racial discrimination or a simple case of bureaucracy?  The members of the Iglesia Cristina are suing city officials betting it’s discrimination that is keeping them from practicing their faith in the building they own but can not occupy.

The predominantly Latino congregation purchased the property back in 2009 for $300,000 and then proceeded to spend over $100,000 to repair the building until the city refused to issue it permits to continue construction.  The city claims they need close to one hundred parking spaces for the 84 person congregation. 

Apparently the city has overlooked that a nearby church is not being held to the same zoning standard or that churches are typically given ‘hardship’ exemptions.  And the city is apparently overlooking that the next door neighbor to the church is the head of the city council, John Phelan.  Will it matter that Phelan and others have argued that having Iglesia Cristina will “hurt property values and quality of life” in the neighborhood?

The congregation is losing money every day and followers since it does not have a church to pray in, has to pay legal fees and is paying the mortgage for the property.  In its suit the church is confident Lynn officials are violating federal law that does not allow discrimination against houses of worship.