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!