Thursday, July 1, 2010

Murfreesboro News Journal Article on Tn RFRA

The Murfreesboro Daily News Journal carried an interesting article concerning the Islamic Mosque controversy in Rutherford County, and the seminar that Sam Edwards and I did for the local planning commission earlier this week. The article is here.

I am most interested in how the courts will interpret the Tennessee Religious Freedom Restoration Act (TnRFRA). As I have discussed here before, the Act is quite strongly worded and local governments will find it difficult to deny applications by churches and other religious uses. I should add that I am not the only attorney who has expressed this concern. Back in September of 2009, the Tennessee Municipal Technical Advisory Service, which helps local governments understand and implement their duties and powers, wrote that TnRFRA
will also diminish the authority of local governments to regulate land within their jurisdiction through zoning, direct the behavior of on-duty employees and protect the health and safety of its citizens. The full scope of the ramifications is limitless as any action that someone can claim is religious can be used to challenge even the most neutral and prudent law.
The MTAS reference document can be found here.

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