Religious group wants to use meeting room for services

News out of Antioch, California, on The Contra Costa county library's policy of barring religious groups from reserving a public meeting room. A national religious rights groups said in a lawsuit this is unconstitutional. The Alliance Defense Fund filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and library officials. The group brought the suit on behalf of a Christian ministry barred from reserving a public meeting room at the county library's Antioch branch because its policy prohibits the use of the rooms for "religious purposes," the group said.
Thanks to The Resourceshelf for the heads up.

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This doesn't look good for the library.

Since you can't restrict free speech in public (within reason we all know the fire in a crowded theater cliché) it would seem the library would not be able to restrict what a group could do as long as it was legal (no meth labs).

It didn't work too well in the city just north of me. In fact the Dunedin, Florida library paid the legal expenses of a group that wanted to use a meeting room to discuss American's Christian heritage.

Library has the right!

I fully understand and fully agree with the library's policy of barring religious groups from using their public meeting room. I believe the library has the right to have such a policy. I believe that meeting rooms in public libraries are for non-political and non-religious purposes. Religious activities should be confined to churches, temples, synagogues, mosques. Anyone has the right to attend services at these places of worship, and the right to discuss religious topics to their hearts content. But don't do it at the library! So their rights of freedom of religion and speech are not curtailed at all! Rather these religious groups are denying the library its rights!

Re:Library has the right!

>>Rather these religious groups are denying the library its rights!

What right is the library being denied?

Why are you so afraid of a religous discussion in a libraries public meeting room?

"Religious activities should be confined to
churches, temples, synagogues, mosques."
It is statements like the one above that make me glad that there is a first amendment to the constitution.

No scientific discussion at the library.

Scientist should not have scientific discussions at a public room in the library. Here is the argument.
I fully understand and fully agree with the library's policy of barring scientific groups from using their public meeting room. I believe the library has the right to have such a policy. I believe that meeting rooms in public libraries are for non-political and non-scientific purposes. Scientific activities should be confined to labs, research centers, and universities. Anyone has the right to attend discussions at these places of scientific study, and the right to discuss scientific topics to their hearts content. But don't do it at the library! So their rights of freedom of science and speech are not curtailed at all! Rather these scientific groups are denying the library its rights!

Re:Library has the right!

The library is being denied the right not to become a religious battleground. The library can be perceived to be favorable to a particular religious group over another. The library staff and public don't need to be subjected to this. The library should be a place of learning, neutral of and free from religion or politics. There is a place and time for everything.

Terrorism discussion at the library?

Then should terrorists be allowed to have terrorism discussions at a meeting room at the library?

Re:Terrorism discussion at the library?

So are we comparing religious groups to terrorist groups?
And if we are, let me point out an important distinction. Religious groups are covered by the first amendment. Terrorist groups are not.

Re:Library has the right!

Just checked my Constitution I don't see the right to not be a religious battleground.


The library can be perceived to be a lot of things, but its real purpose should never change becuase of what someone percieves it to be.


The library staff and public are not forced to attend any of the meetings in the public meeting rooms in my city, perhaps you live somewhere they are.


You can't restrict speech simply because you don't like it. What a wonderful country this is in which we live. (although if we could the prisons would be full of liberals....hmmmm....nope- even though it would be nice to stifle dissent we can't do it.)

Re:Terrorism discussion at the library?

Yes.


To the extent that their activities are not illegal anyone should have the right to meet to discuss anything they desire at the public library.

Re:Terrorism discussion at the library?

Of course, religious groups are not comparable to terrorist groups. Of course, terrorists are not covered by the first amendment. And their activities are illegal. However, 9/11 happened. Anyway, terrorists probably woundn't meet at a public library to discuss their plans. Even if they did, they wouldn't identify themselves as terrorists. The difficulty lies in distinguishing between the sincere religious groups who have sensible views and discussions and those that are fanatical, extreme and militant and even sympathises with terrorists.

Re:This doesn't look good for the library.

You can restrict free speech in public in quite a few ways, not all related to public safety or illegal activities.
For example, if a library makes its meeting room available only for events which are open to the public, and if a church planned to offer sacraments to its members during its meeting time, then the library could probably deny the church's requests to use the room, without any constitutional implications.

However, from the little we're told in the news story, no, this doesn't look good for the library.

(Standard IANAL disclaimer.)

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