- Family told they cannot pray with anyone except family
members in their home. CBN.com - Hartford, CT - The American Center for
Law and Justice announced today it has filed a federal lawsuit in Hartford,
Connecticut against the Town of New Milford, Connecticut charging that
the Zoning Commission has issued an order prohibiting a family from holding
prayer meetings inside their private residence.
- "This is clearly a case where the zoning authorities
have overstepped their authority by determining that our clients cannot
use their private residence for weekly prayer meetings," said Vincent
McCarthy, Senior Counsel of the ACLJ who is representing the family. "To
issue an order prohibiting a family from using their private residence
for prayer is not only one of the worst forms of religious discrimination,
it represents a direct assault on our client's constitutional rights. We
are asking the court to declare the actions of the zoning authorities unconstitutional
and to issue an injunction to clear the way for the family to resume the
prayer meetings in their home."
- The ACLJ filed suit December 1st on behalf of Robert
and Mary Murphy, residents of New Milford who have been holding weekly
prayer meetings and Bible studies at their single-family home since 1995.
The complaint contends the prayer meetings, which are attended by no more
than 25 people, do not violate any town regulations and are in full compliance
with all applicable law.
- The lawsuit contends that the problems began after they
received the proper zoning and building permits to add a family room and
a garage to their home this year - new space that is not used for the prayer
- As the Murphy's attempted to add a driveway to their
property, the complaint contends the town rescinded a permit to complete
the driveway because they Murphy's used their home for prayer meetings.
- The lawsuit states that the Murphy's received a letter
from town's zoning enforcement officer on November 29th ordering the Murphy's
to suspend the prayer meetings at their home - saying the zoning commission
has determined that such activity is not permissible. The letter also states
that the town will take legal action against the Murphy's if they continue
to hold the prayer meetings at their home.
- McCarthy said: "It is very troubling that a local
government body would censor the religious expression of a family who only
wants to use their own private residence for prayer. The town's reasoning
and actions are not only flawed but send a disturbing signal that the government
can be used as a kind of 'prayer police' to censor the legal and lawful
religious expression of our clients."
- The lawsuit charges the defendants with violating the
First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution as well
as provisions of Connecticut law. The complaint contends that the actions
of the town violate the Murphy's constitutional rights of free speech and
freedom of assembly by restricting and inhibiting religious expression.
- The lawsuit names as defendants the Zoning Commission
of the Town of New Milford and its members.
- The suit requests the court declare the town's action
invalid and unconstitutional and asks the court for an injunction to prevent
the town from continuing its discriminatory action. The ACLJ is an international
public interest law firm that specializes in constitutional law. The ACLJ
focuses on pro-liberty, pro-family, and pro-life issues. The ACLJ's web
site address is www.aclj.org.
- Hi, Jeff:
- I enjoy Rense quite abit and visit frequently.
- I happen to live in New Milford, Ct. , the town mentioned
in the piece about outlawing prayer at home by anyone other than family
- This community is an example of much of what is so terribly
wrong in *pretty little communities* everywhere.
- Our town government is corrupt (with ethics charges routinely
filed)...we made the national press and a suit now moves forward regarding
the sex survey which was given to middle schoolers in which various sexual
acts were described ...without parental consent. (the Rutherford Institute
is involved in this....we made the press as one of our police officers
was the first officer EVER to be tried for MURDER. He shot an un armed
young black man who was subdued by the officer and lying face down on the
ground...AT POINT BLANK range in the back of the head. The officer was
found guilty of murder, now on appeal AND the citizens of New Milford were
and continue to be outraged at the officers conviction of murder.
- Now this. I am not surprised . New Milford has become
a soul less community; driven by economic greed and self interest. I hope
that someone shines a SPOTLIGHt on this community as being the bad citizen
that it is.
- I will be moving within the year.
- I was very glad to see that Rense picked up this story.
It's the tip of the iceberg.
- MK Cuthbert
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