Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Jesus Talk & Prayer Banned at Gov't Senior Housing

Ruth Sweats, a widow who lives at the Osborne Apartments in Spring Lake Park, MN, was having a private Christian conversation with a friend when Rachelle Henkle, the building social worker, yelled at her “You can’t talk like that here!”  Henkle explained that because the building is subsidized by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) there is no freedom of speech on the property -- specifically no prayer or reading the Bible and such.

For background, read Jesus Talk Outlawed in New Orleans, Arrests Made and also read California Pastor Arrested for Reading Bible in Public as well as Kentucky Court Considers Ban of Jesus from Highways

-- From "Elderly Widow Told Not to Pray in Public Housing Complex" by Todd Starnes, Fox News 10/19/12

Sweats contacted Alliance Defending Freedom — a legal advocacy group that immediately sent a letter to the senior living complex urging them to reconsider their actions.

“Government funding should not be misused to ban a widow’s prayers,” said ADF legal counsel Matt Sharp. “The private decision of senior citizens to discuss their faith, read the Bible, and pray is private speech, and no law requires this privately owned independent living facility to restrict the religious expression of these members of America’s greatest generation.”

Alliance Defending Freedom also suggested their actions may have violated federal and state anti-discrimination laws.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Minnesota Apartment Allegedly Barred Widow From Praying in Public" by Michael Gryboski, Christian Post Reporter 10/22/12

In an interview with The Christian Post, Sharp of the ADF said that this complaint on behalf of Sweats was not the first time they had dealt with religious freedom issues surrounding the policies of housing complexes for seniors.

"In fact, just a few months ago, we helped a senior citizen who was told that she and other seniors could not pray over their meals at a local senior center," said Sharp.

"We have been involved in several similar situations where a housing complex or senior center was under the mistaken belief that it must censor prayer or religious expression by senior citizens at the facility simply because the facility receives government aid."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Social worker bans religious conversation" by Dave Tombers, World Net Daily 10/23/12

Since Sweats was having a private conversation with a friend and simply had read the introduction paragraph from her Bible describing the Book of Revelation, she was shocked. She said her friend had asked her about Revelation, and she opened her Bible and began reading the introduction that precedes the book.

WND contacted building management for the Osborne Apartments and spoke with Kate Edrey, who identified herself as the manager.

When asked about the situation, she opted to read a statement prepared by Ebenezer that said:

“We do not restrict expression of faith in our community. Residents host Bible studies, one-on-one conversations, and other religious activities in our community. Staff will step in when residents are being hostile or intimidating to other residents no matter what the type of conversation. While we do not intend to get into a conversation about the exact circumstances of this dispute, we want to share these practices with you.”

Edrey would not identify if what Sweats was reading could be considered “hostile or intimidating,” and said that the prepared statement was all she was authorized to say. She also said that Henkle is away on vacation.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.