CNA Staff, Nov 28, 2023 / 15:55 pm
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) this month signaled its support for an Oregon Episcopal church in a legal dispute over a homeless meals program that the church has run for years.
St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Brookings, Oregon, has for years regularly provided meals for homeless people in the area up to six days per week, but the city in 2021 ordered that it could only do so up to two days per week.
The church subsequently sued the city over the order. This week, the Department of Justice filed a statement in support of the church.
The DOJ said in a press release that the city’s new ordinance might run afoul of the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). That law, according to the DOJ, “protect[s] individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws.”