Boise, Idaho, Sep 23, 2011 / 00:09 am
The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco unanimously rejected a lawsuit filed by two people who sued the Boise Rescue Mission for insisting they take part in religious services.
The Intermountain Fair Housing Council and two individuals who stayed at the mission’s shelters sued, saying the organization coerced residents into taking part in Christian-based services by giving preferential treatment to those who participated.
The appellate court said the individuals, Janene Cowles and Richard Chinn, did not have a protected right to take part in the mission’s programs.
“Our Constitution and civil rights laws protect the right of religious groups to minister to the poor and needy in accordance with their religious beliefs,” said Luke Goodrich, deputy national litigation director at the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.