Summarized by Gregor McHardy
Zoning Rules Test Faiths
By Michael Luo: Times Staff Writer
The battle with local officials over the building of temples is not alone
in the drama of religious persecution by the state. Although this article
does not mention the difficulties faced by the Church in the past years as
it has tried to construct temples around the country, it calls attention
to several other cases of other faiths not being able to construct their
The Shalom Alliance Fellowship in Fountain Valley, CA were originally
barred from changing a storefront to a church because this would deprive
the town of valuable commercial space that it needed for a tax base.
Another such case cropped up in Palos Verdes when a church tried to
convert a vacant theater into a church.
After nine years of court battles, Muslims in the San Fernando Valley were
finally permitted to build a mosque, but the architecture had to be
spanish, sans the traditional dome common to mosques around the globe.
Muslims in Culver City who tried to turn an old building into a mosque
were not allowed to light their minaret during the holy month of Ramadan
to signal the end of the fast each night. Even though the Muslims bowed to
this concession, they still cannot worship in the building, because they
cannot get permission to tear down an interior wall to expand a prayer
Although a Mormon church already exists in a Yorba Linda neighborhood,
when Burmese monks wanted to build a monastery next door, the City Council
nixed it because of fears of unwanted traffic and noise (you know how the
chicks just flock to a MONASTERY to listen to LOUD MUSIC, c'mon folks).
The same group was turned down flat by the San Bernardino County Board of
Supervisors, and is now forced to meet in two residential homes.
Cole Durham, a law professor at BYU is quoted as saying "[Planning boards]
are so used to looking at things through the filter of what they're used
to regulating that when religious value comes into play, it's given no
weight, or not the heightened weight that it really deserves. Many
conditions imposed on religious groups are legitimate, but cities must be
careful to make sure that mere 'inconvenience' does not end up hampering
some of the highest values of the republic."