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
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.