The Justice Department (DOJ) filed a statement of interest in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California explaining that the act of distributing food and drinks to people who are homeless by Micah’s Way, a faith-based organization that helps people in need, could be religious exercise under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA).
“Discriminatory barriers and land use restrictions against faith-based organizations is unlawful,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “ Many faith-based organizations across the country are on the front lines serving the needs of people experiencing homelessness. The Justice Department is committed to enforcing federal civil rights laws to ensure that all religious groups can freely exercise their religious beliefs.”
“The free exercise of religion is a bedrock principle of our nation,” said U.S. Attorney Martin Estrada for the Central District of California. “Religious groups should be entitled to exercise their religion by providing charitable services based in their religious beliefs. Our office firmly opposes actions that block religious groups from carrying out their spiritual mission to help others in need. ”
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