A Holly Springs, Mississippi, church is one step closer to
locating in a building in the downtown section of the city. That
comes after a ruling by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of
The city ordinance requires that a church obtain permission from
60 percent of the business property owners and the mayor. A federal
court ruled in favor of the city sending the case to the Fifth
Circuit, which ruled the lower-court judge erred and sent the case
back for further proceedings.
Jeff Mateer with Liberty Institute tells OneNewsNow that
the Fifth Circuit's decision provides church with a solid basis for
"In doing so the Fifth Circuit made it very clear
that the Holly Springs ordinance discriminates unfairly against
churches, which basically makes the churches -- and only churches
-- jump through some hoops in order to occupy any space in the
downtown area," he says. "So the Fifth Circuit made it very clear
that that ordinance is unconstitutional."
Bars or other non-religious groups did not have to obtain the
permissoin of downtown property owners or the mayor's approval.
"... On the eve of the argument at the Fifth Circuit, they
changed their ordinance. Before, they had all these requirements,"
Mateer remarks. "What they basically have done now is ban churches
from their downtown area, and so the Fifth Circuit gave some advice
on that and that's what we'll be back at the district court seeking
to hold the new ordinance unconstitutional."
A hearing has not been scheduled as yet, but the church will be
arguing that it simply seeks to be treated equal to any other
establishment trying to locate downtown.