Citizens for Community Values Asks U.S. Supreme Court to End Discrimination By Upper Arlington Against Christian School
CCV’s Ohio Christian Education Network files a brief in the Tree of Life Christian Schools v City of Upper Arlington case that is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court

COLUMBUS – Citizens for Community Values filed a friend-of-the-court brief today with the U.S. Supreme Court, urging the court to consider the Tree of Life Christian Schools v City of Upper Arlington case.

The “amicus brief” was written by W. Stuart Dornette and Phillip Williamson of Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP and asks the court to consider the case because since Congress passed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA) nearly 20 years ago, courts have continued to undermine the purpose of the law, leading to many Christian ministries and schools to face unlawful discrimination:

“Suspicious that the actual text of the statute is too generous to religious land uses, the courts have added new language to the statute,” writes Dornette and Williamson. “The majority of courts have intentionally narrowed RLUIPA’s protections, despite Congress’s express mandate to construe RLUIPA ‘in favor of a broad protection of religious exercise, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter and the Constitution.’”

In Tree of Life Christian Schools v City of Upper Arlington, the city is blocking Tree of Life from moving into the property the school has owned on Henderson Road in Upper Arlington since 2010 because the city claims that, as a nonprofit school, Tree of Life won’t generate the income tax revenue the city had planned to receive from that property.

“Upper Arlington’s actions are nothing less than discrimination,” said Aaron Baer, President of Citizens for Community Values. “The idea that a city could block a private organization from using their property in a lawful manner, merely because the city wants to milk more money out of the land, is terrifying and un-American. The Supreme Court must take up this case to end this injustice.”

CCV filed the brief with the U.S. Supreme Court after launching the Ohio Christian Education Network in 2018. Now 26 schools strong, the Ohio Christian Education Network advocates for the religious freedom rights of Christian schools throughout the Buckeye state.

If Upper Arlington is allowed to prevail in this case, there is little to stop other municipalities from using the same rationale to punish or eliminate these Christian schools, or other religious ministries.

Tree of Life is being represented by the premier First Amendment defense organization in the nation, Alliance Defending Freedom. For more information on the case, visit ADF’s website.

You can read the brief online here.

As Ohio’s Family Policy Council, Citizens for Community Values seeks the good of our neighbors throughout Ohio by advocating for public policy that reflects the truth of the Gospel. We endeavor to create an Ohio where God’s blessings of life, family, and religious freedom are treasured, respected, and protected.
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