In efforts to defend the right to worship, two churches filed suit against the City of Markham, Illinois after they were unlawfully denied zoning for their religious assemblies. Just a couple of weeks ago one of those two lawsuits came to a close. Following a court order protecting the Church’s right to worship at its property, the City of Markham also wrote Original Bible Church a $60,000 check as part of a settlement of the Church’s claims to damages and attorneys fees.
Back in 2015, Reverend Fields of Original Bible Church received a hostile response from the City. “When I went to City Hall to let them know about our church, I was told that Markham didn’t need any more churches,” said Reverend Fields. “I was told we should sell our property and locate to another community. And I was told that if we applied for a zoning permit it was going to cost us.” Since a preliminary injunction order was granted by the Federal District Court of Illinois against the City of Markham on January 26, 2017, the church has been free to proceed with its worship plans at its leased space at 3509 W. 159th Street.
The other suit was filed by the Church of Our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. This small church of about 30 members began meeting at 16018 S. Spaulding in Markham. The City, however, sued the church in 2012 and has spent the last five years litigating against the Church, seeking a court order to shut it down. Even after the Church passed building inspections and received occupancy approval in 2013, the City Council denied the church zoning approval and continued to set a moving target for the church.
Story from Mauck & Baker, LLC