Residents of a Spartanburg, SC apartment building have been asked to stop their Bible study:
The owners of a Spartanburg apartment complex have asked residents to stop a Bible study held in a common area.
The owners of Heritage Court said the study violates the Fair Housing Act. The apartments are privately owned by One Management of Raleigh, N.C., but many residents have their rent subsidized by federal vouchers.
"It's not our rule. It's Fair Housing law, which says you cannot discriminate against religion," One Management Vice President Jenny Petri said. "It's unfortunate, but we are required to comply to Fair Housing laws. We hope that the residents can continue doing what they're doing within their own apartment."
Others are saying, however, that the law is being misapplied:
But the owners may be misinterpreting the law, said William Dudley Gregorie, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's field office director for South Carolina.
The Bible studies are likely OK as long as permission was also given to any other religious group who wanted to use the area, Gregorie said. "In other words, if you let one, you have to let all," he said.
U.S. Rep. Bob Inglis, R-S.C., plans to send a letter to the apartment complex management telling them the Bible studies can legally continue.
The Bible studies were quite important to the 20 or so people who turn out for an hour each Monday night for worship, singing and fellowship.
"We were really into this Bible study. It was a sharing time. Now we can't do anything spiritual. That's the pits," said Sara Bryant, who lives at Heritage Court with her husband, Bob.
If a roadblock to the free exercise of religion ('free exercise'...hmmm...I read that phrase somewhere) can be thrown up, you can be pretty sure it will.
[Thanks to Jeff at Truth In Love for the link.]