Missouri Senior Living Facility Allegedly Bans Residents’ Bible Study, May Face Legal Action

A Christian legal advocacy group says it may sue a Missouri senior living center for allegedly banning residents from holding Bible studies.

Abigail Southerland with American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) claims that when their client tried to hold a Bible study for residents, the facility offered common spaces available to reserve.

In June, after residents held the weekly Bible study over several months “without issue,” Southerland, who serves as senior litigation counsel for ACLJ, said their client was told to cease the studies “because some residents were purportedly offended by the Bible study,” The Christian Post reports.

Management claimed the Bible study was not allowed since the center is in a federally funded building and Bible studies are prohibited under FHA guidelines.

“This is literally the exact opposite of the law,” Southerland asserted.

The resident reached out to the ACLJ and had them send a demand letter on their behalf, saying, “Not only does the FHA allow a Bible study on federally funded property, but it also expressly prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion in regard to providing facility services.

“The [Department of Justice] has made it clear that ‘someone could not, for example, be excluded from reserving a common room for a prayer meeting when the room may be reserved for various comparable secular uses,’” she said.

Southerland said if the senior living complex does not “quickly reverse course for our client, we will file a federal lawsuit to protect her religious liberty.”

“Unfortunately, many of the most vulnerable among us, such as our senior citizens, experience violations of the very freedoms that our law is enacted to protect,” she added.

This isn’t the first case involving a Bible study and a senior living center.

In January 2020, a Virginia couple was threatened with eviction from their retirement home if they continued to hold Bible study meetings. They reached a settlement and were allowed to continue holding Bible classes and movie screenings in the community room.

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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and She blogs at The Migraine Runner.

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