Sunday, June 26, 2005

Separation of Church and Land (or how Costco won the war)

Your church isn't safe. A Costco might want the land:
Religion squared off with consumerism in Cypress, California, last May when the Cypress City Council voted unanimously to seize, through use of the city’s power of eminent domain, 18 acres of land owned by the Cottonwood Christian Center in order to build a Costco discount store.
The city council was rather arrogant about its power:
In Cypress, writes Greenhut, "City officials did not dress up what they were doing in legalistic language. They were brazen in their goals. They ridiculed church members at public meetings. They bragged about their ability to use eminent domain for whatever reason they chose, and they made it clear that the government's desires should take precedence over the desires of `a narrow special interest,' which is how city officials repeatedly referred to the church."
The church eventually settled.