Is it legal for a government agency to boot out a church because of its pastor’s political views?
This is both an outrage and an interesting test case if conservative legal eagles want to push back against the increasing purge of conservative views from public life.
The Associated Press reports that the Birmingham City Schools Board of Education voted Tuesday to end its leases with the Church of the Highlands, which had been holding services inside two high schools. Prior to the reportedly unanimous vote to terminate the leases, the megachurch paid the school district roughly $12,000 per month to hold services. The board has not said why it chose to end its profitable relationship with the Church of the Highlands.
Earlier than that, on Monday, the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District Board of Commissioners voted to terminate its partnerships with the church, including their shared outreach and social services programs. In 2017, the church and the housing authority entered into a memorandum of understanding to launch a number of community-based initiatives, including “mentoring, community support groups, and faith and social service activities that promote volunteerism,” according to AL.com.
In a statement explaining its decision to end its relationship with the church, the housing authority said the views that pastor Chris Hodges “liked” are incompatible with its own.
Here, you have a government agency punishing a church because it doesn’t like views that are mainstream in conservative circles. The views are those of Charlie Kirk and Turning Point USA, a popular campus organization. If Kirk isn’t acceptable, no conservative or Republican is.
And that’s what Birmingham is really saying. So much for civil rights.
It may be time for some ideological desegregation.