No Proselytizing @ Your Library


Here's the story from Reuters ...and another with analysis from the First Amendment Center ; a U.S. appeals court judge has ruled that a California library can bar a religious group from holding worship services in library meeting rooms. The dispute revolves around an evangelical Christian church's attempt to hold religious meetings in rooms of a Contra Costa County library in an effort to attract those who might not otherwise attend services. When the Antioch, CA library staff did not allow meetings because of their prohibition against religious services, the religious group sued alleging discrimination.


Judge Richard Paez wrote that that county's decision was permissible because the U.S. constitution did not guarantee that all forms of protected speech can be heard on government property.

"We conclude that the Antioch Library meeting room is a limited public forum and that enforcement of the county's policy to exclude religious worship services from the meeting room is reasonable in light of the forum's purpose."

The ruling said that the religious group could hold secular activities at the library.

Secular activites? I'm not big on the idea of full blown worship services being held there (especially if there's an attempt to do it regularly) but who is the government to say that a religous group can only use *a public resource* in a secular fashion? If the political party held an info-rally there it would be okay because its 'secular'? Secular means worldly and non-religous, it doesn't mean neutral.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Seperation of church and state is based off of the bolded language in the first amendment. I don't see how use a meeting room for a religious service is an establishment of religion. If the meeting room is open to any religious group it should be fine.

Exactly! I should celebrate this freedom by holding a SubGenii Clench at our local library

Ia! Ia! 'Ghryth Dobbs fhtagn! Ia!

I could hold a perverts association meeting but I can't pray.


I believe this religious group was doing fund raising at these religious services. This activity should have been sufficient to get them thrown out of any library meeting room unless, of course, they paid room rental.

So I can't ask people for money in the library? Please someone tell all the freaking vagrants.

I have a copy of the Constitution in my wallet, you might want to run down to the local school supply place and get one. I think they are about 2 buck for the nifty laminated folded wallet sized ones.

A library is not a church. Church services should be held in a church. Let a library be a library.

Darn tootin'! You should be able to pray in the library! Everybody should! Even them thar Jihadists!

Darn tootin' again! Let's do a sweep and get rid of those bums! It's nothing a good labor camp can't help!

But what makes a library a library? Who's definition? So no meetings beyond those that are directly pertaining to the library? What about art galleries in a library? And what makes a church a church?

The library held itself open as a meeting place. Who cares what they do when they meet as long as they don't do anything that is criminal. Sounds like a content-based restriction to me.

Read the opinion here:>

I never said get rid of them. If they don't stink and are quiet (as much as the others don't stink and are quiet) let them use the library. If they want to sit on a bench out front and ask passersby for change, live it up. There is nothing wrong with asking someone if he can spare some change.

I'm not a bum (don't ask my mom) but some people are completely happy living on spare change and if they are happy who am I to stand in their way. It is their right to hit me up for change. Inside the library, outside the library, it is still OK for anyone to ask me for money.

I may not give it but it is OK to ask.

So a group of people can't pray in the library but they can discuss books? Think of it as a book discussion of the KJV.

Please this Church / State nonsense has to stop. There is nothing in the Constitution that says people can't pray or gather to pray in a public building of their own volition.

I don't give the atheists a hard time about it, why the heck do they care if I pray in the library if they think I am wasting my time. If someone tries to convert you tell them to STFU. I've no problem with that. I don't try to convert people, and I don't let other people try to convert me. Nip it in the bud if they start.

Oh, and my Church has a library- best of both worlds?

Oh, and there is a reason it is called the 9th Circus. The whackiest decisions in the country come out of there.

We'll see what happens further on up the chain. The fat lady has not sung yet.

Charities who meet in our rooms can ask for donations. Isn't that the same thing?

Plus, I'm a snarling atheist secular-humanist and I think that any congregation of any faith should be allowed to use library rooms that the public are allowed to reserve. If they follow the rules like the other groups I see no problem.