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Mormon News: All the News about Mormons, Mormonism and the LDS Church
For week ended August 29, 1999 Posted 19 Sep 1999

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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 edifices.

For example:

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 area.

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."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information