Public Library Faces Lawsuit after Denying Access for Religious Meeting

Barb Wire

Wake, NC – Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the County of Wake, North Carolina, for its public library’s unconstitutional policy and its denial of access for a civic and educational program that included religious content. The library meeting rooms are offered free of charge for nonprofit groups, but the Cameron Village Regional Library’s policy discriminates on the basis of religious content and viewpoint. In fact, the policy specifically states that “religious instruction, services or ceremonies are not permitted.”

Liberty Counsel conducts lectures throughout the country on the role of religion and Christianity in founding the American government. “The County claims that the mission of its public library system is ‘to foster the pursuit of knowledge for the residents of Wake County,’ but its policies and practices foster only hostility toward religion, not knowledge of the Christian history and Biblical foundations of this nation,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel applied to use the library’s meeting rooms twice, and both times the application was denied. The library’s director specifically stated that she was denying the application because the proposed program contained a religious component and that the library did not allow meetings discussing religion.

“Any policy that expressly prohibits meetings based on the religious viewpoint of the program is simply unconstitutional,” said Staver. The Supreme Court has struck down countless attempts by local government bodies to remove religion from the public arena. Public libraries are a marketplace of ideas, and governments cannot censor religion from the marketplace.

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Staver commented, “Cameron Village Regional Library violates its own mission by denying the citizens of Wake County the pursuit of knowledge of American history, particularly our religious foundation. Of all places, a public library should not only understand but strive to uphold the First Amendment, rather than engage in censorship. It is astounding that public libraries continue to have these types of unconstitutional policies.”

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

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