Brad Dacus is president of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the law firm representing New Harvest Christian Fellowship, which is a church in downtown Salinas, California that was leasing a building on Main Street.
"They outgrew it, and they bought a building right across the street, and they applied for a conditional use permit. But the city of Salinas denied them because the church was not –quote– 'fun enough,'" Dacus details.
After the church contacted PJI, the law firm filed suit in federal district court.
"We did not prevail there but … appealed it to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where chief counsel Kevin Snider effectively persuaded the Ninth Circuit to rule 3-0 in favor of the church based on the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act," says Dacus. "This is a great victory for churches and their ability to go where God has called them to and to resist flagrant hostility by intolerant cities like Salinas."
He suggests this victory is all the more reason for churches to find legal assistance and not just take no for an answer.
"It really pays for churches to not just cower and surrender when the first shot is fired," Dacus asserts.