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For week ended December 12, 1999 Posted 18 Dec 1999

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American Jeweish Congress promotes Boston Temple position

Summarized by Kent Larsen

American Jeweish Congress promotes Boston Temple position
Boston Globe (AP) 7Dec99 N1
By Associated Press

NEW YORK, NY -- The American Jewish Congress sent out a press release yesterday trumpeting its brief supporting the LDS Church's Boston Temple. The AJC claims that the Temple is a clear example of how zoning laws can be used to promote religious freedom.

The AJC filed a 'friend-of-the-court' brief in the U.S. First Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the town of Belmont and the LDS Church against neighbors of the Temple. The lawsuit claims that the town, which relied on the "Dover Amendment" in granting the Church a building permit, should not have granted the building permit because the "Dover Amendment" is unconstitutional. The neighbors claim that the law favors religions in violation of the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

But the AJC says that the law prevents local governments from discriminating against religious groups that might otherwise be barred by a majority of residents using zoning laws.

The AJC also says that it is ironic that it is supporting the Temple because it "frequently goes to court to maintain the First Amendment separation of church and state." It does so in this case because there is no violation of that separation. "The concern of AJCongress is to protect religious institutions against discrimination," says the press release.

The AJC's brief was prepared by James O. Fleckner of Boston and by Mark A. Michelson of the Boston firm of Choate, Hall &Stewart.

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