Thursday, February 28, 2008

South Carolina - Equal Access to Facilities

Gracepointe Church in South Carolina wanted the freedom for their church to be able to continue to use a local high school gymnasium for Sunday worship services. The school facilities are available for use by any nonprofit group that pays the fees and abides by the rental criteria. Gracepointe Church paid the fees and met the criteria. But the school district's Board of Trustees, hoping to discourage so-called "undesirable" groups from using the school facilities, attempted to make an example of Gracepointe Church by denying them continued use of the school.

Cases like this typically do not stand up to a court fight. If the school facilities are available to other groups, they can not legally be withheld from a church's use. However, not many churches wish to use precious resources to fight something like this in court. And the fact is, it should not come up in the first place. It is another example (actually, one of many such examples from all around the country) of people misunderstanding the meaning of the First Amendment.

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