The American Center for Law and Justice filed a lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of a local church against Prince William County, Virginia, due to the government requiring a church to obtain a liquor license in order to use its own property.
The group alleges the county is discriminating against Alive Church of the Nazarene because of the regulation and the church’s belief against obtaining the license.
Specifically, the county claims that the church must obtain expensive and time-consuming zoning and land use requirements due to the fact it does not have a liquor license.
“But our client cannot get that ABC license because of its sincerely held denominational religious beliefs. So Prince William County won’t treat them the same. It won’t treat them as favorably as it does wineries. Of course, wineries and breweries generate significant tax revenue. Churches do not. In so many words, our client asked the county, ‘How do we get treated as favorably as breweries and wineries?’ The county’s response, ‘Go get a liquor license,'” the group alleged on their website.
Furthermore, the church’s need to purchase and use the land was largely due to the fact the group was unable to continue to use the public school it had been renting due to COVID restrictions throughout the county and state.
“If Alive Church was a winery or brewery it could begin immediately meeting on its agriculturally-zoned Property, hold public gatherings for recreational, entertainment, or educational purposes, and even build buildings for public gatherings without being required to have a building permit or associated land improvements such as turn-lanes, curbs and guttering, or stormwater management,” the ACLJ claimed in its brief filed in a federal court in Virginia.
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