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March 18, 2009

Sufism debate continues with TV coverage, RLUIPA (argh!) sniping, and some fun--at all of our expense--by the Mayor of Claycord

RLUIPA: It's a mouthful, and it stands for a federal statute, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which Congress passed in 2000 to "protect individuals, houses of worship, and other religious institutions from discrimination in zoning and landmarking laws."

RLUPIA has come up in several comments regarding my posts on the debate over whether Sufism Reoriented should be able to build its 66,000-square-foot house of worship in Saranap, an older residential neighborhood between Walnut Creek and Lafayette.

Institutionalized persons? What's that about? Sorry, I've been reading this very good memoir of a woman who spent much of her life battling schizophrenia, and I'm getting sidetracked ...

Briefly, here is what the US Justice Department's Housing and Civil Enforcement says about RLUPIA (Sorry again, but contemplating uttering the letters that make up RLUPIA, or forming any kind of word around them, honestly makes me feel like a cat coughing up a hairball):
"In passing this law, Congress found that the right to assemble for worship is at the very core of the free exercise of religion. Religious assemblies cannot function without a physical space adequate to their needs and consistent with their theological requirements. The right to build, buy, or rent such a space is an indispensable adjunct of the core First Amendment right to assemble for religious purposes. Religious assemblies, especially, new, small, or unfamiliar ones, may be illegally discriminated against on the face of zoning codes and also in the highly individualized and discretionary processes of land use regulation. Zoning codes and landmarking laws may illegally exclude religious assemblies in places where they permit theaters, meeting halls, and other places where large groups of people assemble for secular purposes. Or the zoning codes or landmarking laws may permit religious assemblies only with individualized permission from the zoning board or landmarking commission, and zoning boards or landmarking commission may use that authority in illegally discriminatory ways."
Well, I'll be doing some RLUPIA reading in the next few days, as I'm sure those on both sides of the debate already have. It's an area of contentious legal and public policy debate.
Meanwhile, the mischievous Mayor of Claycord had a bit of fun with all of us.

"The Sufi Story Results in Unintentional Haha," says CBS.com's Eye on the Blogs. Apparently, the Mayor spotted this bit of unintentional ad placement from Comcast on CBS5.com's summary of its report on the Sufism sanctuary debate. The Mayor did his screen-grab thing and voila!




10 comments:

Anonymous said...

ha hah hah - that is funny - the Comcast space thing - - but let's not be totally distracted

maybe folks around here should learn more about RLUPA or RLUPIA - and congrats to Soccer Mom for realizing that she needs to do some more research... that's all I was saying in an earlier post - that she can't claim the journalist lense unless she sticks with it...

hooooooo- rah! here's to moving forward and bringing some real education to the situation!

Anonymous said...

I for one, welcome our new alien overlords.

Anonymous said...

Yes, take me to your leader.

Anonymous said...

Is Soccer Mom an attorney?

Anonymous said...

no - she's not an attorney, and neither am I...

But Soccer Mom was taken to task for presenting herself as having a journalistic approach to her blogs and then not having done some basic research on the Sufi issue.

I believe this post is an attempt by her at rehabilitating her image with her readers.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully, as a journalist, Soccer Mom will simply present the law as written, and, as a researcher, will be able to produce all relevant case law. Meaning, all case law that supports one side or another even if you don't like it.

Anonymous said...

I'm a huge Claycord fan. I've never thought Soccer Mom in the same league as the Mayor. It seems like he highlights her blog as a huge favor to her. Some folks speculate that she's his wife.

Anonymous said...

Soccer mom and the Mayor are totally married.

Anonymous said...

I happen to know both Soccer Mom and the Mayor and yes they are a wonderful couple. The Mayor of Claycord told his wife Soccer Mom that they can't be married when it comes to blogging because of her opinions. The Mayor tries to keep his blog fair and balanced for the most part but some times Soccer Mom goes off the deep end.

Soccer Mom said...

That's why it's "Crazy" in Suburbia.