Holly Springs, U.S.A. — On August 8, Liberty Institute will represent Opulent Life Church of Holly Springs, Mississippi, at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, La. The Court will hear oral arguments from the City of Holly Springs, Opulent Life Church and the U.S. Department of Justice. Like Liberty Institute, the DOJ contends that Holly Springs’ ordinance improperly singles out places of worship for special restriction and is in violation of federal law.
“We are thankful that the Department of Justice is weighing in on the importance of securing religious freedom for a church like Opulent Life that is facing discriminatory restrictions,” said Hiram Sasser, Liberty Institute’s Director of Litigation. “Churches should be able to grow and expand free from discrimination. Placing special burdens on them is unfair, unconstitutional and illegal.”
In the case Opulent Life Church; Telsa DeBerry v. City of Holly Springs, Mississippi , the Church sought to move to a new space in the town square area of Holly Springs, Miss. Due to zoning restrictions, the city told the church it must get the approval of 60 percent of local property owners and the city’s mayor before it can exist in the downtown area. This ordinance only applies to churches. Businesses and other groups are not subject to this requirement.
In January 2012, Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of Opulent Life Church and its pastor, Telsa DeBerry, and sought a preliminary injunction, which the federal district court unfortunately denied. In March 2012, Liberty Institute filed an appeal, arguing that the city’s zoning ordinance unfairly singles out churches, and asking the court to reverse the lower court’s decision.
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to defending and restoring religious liberty across America, their vision is to reestablish religious liberty in accordance with the principles of the nation’s Founders