Despite persecution of bakers, florists, and photographers for daring to keep their 1st Amendment rights while engaging in commerce, certainly they are still free to read and study what they read outside of business activities in the privacy of their very own private property, especially when the freedom of speech and freedom of associated is become a hat trick with the inclusion of religious freedom, right?
According to Sewickley Heights Borough near Pittsburgh, they don’t. The borough ordered Scott and Terri Fetterolf to “stop using their 35-acre property to host Bible studies, worship events, religious retreats, or religious fundraisers.” How do they argue that this is acceptable? Zoning laws, unsurprisingly.
“Borough officials filed a Notice of Violation/Cease and Desist Order and seek to impose zoning restrictions such as those applicable to ‘Places of Worship’ like churches and synagogues on the Fetterolfs’ activities. However, secular counterparts to these activities like parties, political fundraisers, and book clubs are not banned.”
Rather than the expectation that freedoms the government is barred from infringing shall not be infringed, this brave new mindset declares that all is forbidden unless the government allows otherwise. If you have to ask permission, then you are not free.
That religious activities were specifically targeted indicates an animus that would certainly not stand-up to scrutiny, especially in light of Masterpiece Cakeshop, Ltd. v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
The full lawsuit can be read below: