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The Local Battle Over Religious Rights to Land Use

The battle over building a mosque near the New York City site of the destroyed Twin Towers highlights a growing nationwide battle over the legal right of religious communities to build where they choose and the power of local governments to intervene. In a recent Guiding Paper from the Association of Religion Data Archives, University of Washington political science professor Anthony Gill explores the issues that motivate local governments to use the regulatory process to violate federal law regarding religious communities and location. Read the 23-page paper, "Septics, Sewers and Secularization: How Government Regulation Flushes Religiosity Down the Drain," archived on the ARDA website. For a brief review of the issue, read the June 24, 2010, post by David Briggs on the ARDA’s blog, “Ahead of the Trend.” The commentary, "Zoning battles endanger religious freedom, test spirit of law," explores challenges faced by religious communities wishing to build houses of worship.

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