ACLU Threatens Senior Wellness Center, Asks for Religious Discrimination

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from Liberty Institute,

Last week, in response to threats received from the ACLU, Liberty Institute submitted a letter supporting Oklahoma City’s plan to lease or purchase a portion of the Putnam City Baptist Church to establish a senior wellness center.

The city seeks to open a Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) 3 initiative, with the purpose of providing state-of-the-art senior health and wellness facilities to encourage a healthy lifestyle and serve as a gathering place for active seniors.

The ACLU of Oklahoma warned the Oklahoma City Council there could be legal issues if the church were to operate a city senior center. However, the administration and operation of the senior wellness center will be conducted by the non-profit organization Healthy Living, Inc., a secular organization with an independent board of directors.

To the contrary, Liberty Institute warned that a local government commits religious discrimination by opening its public spaces for civic, cultural or educational purposes, yet prohibiting access for “religious purposes.”

“Not only should the City proceed with its plan to use the Church for the senior wellness center, it must be careful to avoid acting against the Church on the basis of religion,” Berry added.

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