In America’s ongoing culture war, in which the Left and anti-Christians have won too many battles, conservatives and Christians must fight back, with lawsuits if necessary.
A few Christians in a California retirement community did just that — and won.
Solera at Kern Canyon (by Del Webb) is a senior (“active adults” 55 and over) community of 558 homes in Bakersfield, California, where the cost of a single-family home ranges from the low $200,000s to high $200,000s.
Solera has a community center where residents meet, including four popular Christian groups: a Sunday morning worship service, a men’s Bible study group, and two women’s Bible studies groups. About 100 residents attend the groups every week.
In 2016, just before Thanksgiving, Solera’s homeowners’ association (HOA) suspended the group meetings following a complaint from one atheist resident.
A member of the Sunday worship service and men’s Bible studies filed suit, and the HOA lifted the suspension in late December. The HOA, however, continued to insist that it had done nothing wrong and has the authority to suspend the groups again at anytime. So litigation continued throughout 2017 and early 2018.
Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious (read: Christian) freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.
In Spring 2018, Pacific Justice Institute intervened in the suit on behalf of the leaders of Solera’s four Christian groups. In collaboration with Bakersfield attorney Doug Gosling of Braun Gosling, PJI argued that, although the homeowners’ association was not directly subject to the First Amendment, it owes residents similar obligations under California’s civil rights laws.
The case was scheduled for trial in mid-May. On March 12, 2018, the parties met for mediation that culminated in the HOA agreeing to a number of concessions that will protect the seniors’ religious rights going forward. After the settlement was finalized over the next several weeks, the plaintiffs filed for dismissal of the case.
Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, commented, “We are thrilled with this tremendous victory on behalf of these courageous senior citizens. This may be the first time a group of residents have taken on their HOA in court to fight for their religious meeting rights—and won.”
Matthew McReynolds, the PJI attorney who led the group’s litigation in the case, stated, “Throughout this case, their faith and dedication have inspired us. They are overcoming physical challenges and disabilities to spread the light in their community, and we couldn’t have been more proud to represent them.”
Source: Pacific Justice Institute
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