Ban on worship services at Edisto Beach Civic Center dropped

Charleston County News

EDISTO ISLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – A ban on worship services has been lifted at the Edisto Beach Civic Center.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a small church against the town of Edisto Beach after the town council changed its civic center rules to ban worship services last year.

According to a news release in August of 2018, the Redeemer Fellowship of Edisto Island had rented the Edisto Beach Civic Center for Sunday worship on two occasions, but after the church proposed another rental agreement, the town council voted to reject the church’s application and amended the facility use guidelines to ban all rentals for “religious worship services.”

However, the lawsuit revealed another religious organization, an Episcopal church, had been renting a multi-purpose room for approximately five years, and stated the church “uses the Civic Center room for church office space, Vestry meetings, Bible studies, and theological training.”

The lawsuit argued that the town’s amended guidelines were inconsistent and amount to viewpoint discrimination allowing some groups “to engage in singing, teaching, social interaction, and similar expressive activities” at the center while denying “access to those groups that engage in those same activities from a religious viewpoint.”

Shortly after that lawsuit was filed, the Department of Justice filed a statement of interest in favor of the church.

Now that the ban has been dropped, the lawsuit was also dropped.

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