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Eminent domain abuse - it could happen to you
January 20, 2006 | Jerry Falwell

Posted on 01/21/2006 6:12:26 AM PST by seanmerc

Date: January 20, 2006 From: Jerry Falwell


I learned this week that a small Baptist church in Oklahoma is at risk of losing its place of worship because it sits on a site where city leaders want to build a shopping plaza.

This eminent domain business is getting serious.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo ruling last year, we are facing a brand new ballgame in terms of private property and what that term really means.

For the Rev. Roosevelt Gildon, pastor of the Centennial Baptist Church in Sand Springs, Okla., eminent domain is threatening to tear his church apart.

I’ve never met Rev. Gildon — or “Rosey,” as his friends call him — but as a pastor of nearly 50 years, I can imagine the feeling of helplessness this man must be feeling. He’s been leading the flock for seven years at the church. And now the congregation is looking to their shepherd for answers, with government officials threatening to take the church property.

Government officials in Sand Springs have told Rev. Gildon they will be seizing the church property in order to build a “super center.”

This is an alarming development, one that should send shivers down the spine of any pastor reading this column.

In the Kelo case, a group of Connecticut homeowners chose not to accept a corporation’s offers so that a business area could be developed. So the city council authorized the corporation to acquire properties within the designated area. When homeowners refused the offers, the development corporation voted to use eminent domain to acquire the properties, even though the owners were averse to selling.

Following a trial, the case was appealed to the state supreme court, which determined that the use of eminent domain for economic development doesn’t violate public use clauses of the state and federal constitutions. Appeals failed to protect the rights of the property owners.

We are now seeing that “economic development” is more powerful than personal property rights — or church rights, in the case of Centennial Baptist Church.

In a National Review Online ( article titled “Unholy Land Grab,” Heather Wilhelm reported that this church property takeover is unnecessary.

“The way things are now, Centennial Baptist Church could easily live side-by-side with new stores, houses, or businesses,” Ms. Wilhelm wrote. “Yet Centennial remains in the crosshairs — even though two nearby national chains, a taxpaying McDonald’s and a taxpaying O’Reilly’s muffler shop, have been left alone.”

She also reported that Centennial is not run down; in fact, she reports that the building is like new and fully functional. So this isn’t a case of city officials getting rid of a dilapidated old church.

Rev. Gildon has now coalesced with Americans for Limited Government and Oklahomans in Action to fight the takeover bid of his church.

I’m no lawyer, but maybe the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act or 2000 (RLUIPA) can provide protections for Rev. Gildon’s church. RLUIPA is a federal statute that provides stronger protection for religious freedom in terms of land use. The statute has been beneficial in halting discriminatory zoning laws that target churches across the nation.

In the meantime, my prayers are with Rev. Gildon and his congregation. They should be afforded the right to remain at their present location so that they can serve God and fully minister to their community. Let the money-hungry corporate big boys either build around the church or move on to another locale.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: Oklahoma; US: Virginia
KEYWORDS: abuse; baptist; centennialchurch; church; court; decision; domain; eminent; eminentdomain; falwell; grab; kelo; land; landgrab; supreme
This is alarming on so many levels--freedom of religion, abuse of government power, etc. We should all be concerned by this. It could happen to any one of us next. Something has to be done about governments abusing the concept of eminent domain. I think the Founding Fathers would be horrified by the things that governments are doing "for the greater good." Whose "good" are they seeking?
1 posted on 01/21/2006 6:12:28 AM PST by seanmerc
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To: seanmerc

Please provide a working link for this. Thanks.

2 posted on 01/21/2006 6:14:55 AM PST by Admin Moderator
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To: seanmerc

America's founders would have taken up arms against the Supreme Court's interpretation. Americans deserve what they tolerate.

3 posted on 01/21/2006 6:21:01 AM PST by Rapscallion (Ninety-nine percent of democrats give the rest a bad name.)
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To: seanmerc
Private Property.

"Private" is not a word in the US Constitution.

Property. Property can now be taken from you by government and given to another person for a (undefined) public purpose.

America, where are you?

4 posted on 01/21/2006 6:25:49 AM PST by Rapscallion (Ninety-nine percent of democrats give the rest a bad name.)
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To: seanmerc
[Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo ruling last year, we are facing a brand new ballgame in terms of private property and what that term really means.]

I marked this day as the day America overturned it's once great constitution.
We are a socialist nation now and the government owns and controls all things until they destroy our last vestiges of freedoms and rights.
I do not understand why more people do not realize this fact.
5 posted on 01/21/2006 6:28:56 AM PST by kindred (Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.)
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To: Admin Moderator

I would ordinarily have done so, but this is the body of an e-mail I received from The Moral Majority Coalition. It is not from a web page. Sorry for any confusion I may have created!

6 posted on 01/21/2006 6:30:52 AM PST by seanmerc
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To: kindred
I do, and I tried explaining it to my wife.

I consider her the benchmark of "common man" thought, as she has limited news sources and a passing interest in the stories of the day (she likes cultural stories most of all, such as mothers killing their children or other "Oprah"-like topics).

Needless to say, she didn't quite "get" it, much like I imagine 80% of other folks don't quite understand the ramifications of that ruling.

Most folks are interested in keeping their heads down and gathering "stuff" to fill their homes.

Unfortunate, but a fact of American life.

7 posted on 01/21/2006 6:40:18 AM PST by APFel (Loose ships sink lips.)
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To: 2Jedismom


8 posted on 01/21/2006 6:42:27 AM PST by PayNoAttentionManBehindCurtain (Never under estimate the power of stupid people in a large group:)
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To: APFel

It is the truth. Oy vey.

9 posted on 01/21/2006 6:44:45 AM PST by kindred (Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.)
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To: Rapscallion

As soon as the Kellog decision was published, I posted here that the key concept was this: The USSC has rewritten the fifth amendment to say "public purpose" rather than "public use".

The robed rascals have amended the Constitution without having to get 2/3 or 3/4 votes anyplace. And the people are, like, "Whoa man, those poor people, losin' their homes like that. Hey, pass me a beer, will ya? CSI's about to start."

10 posted on 01/21/2006 7:03:01 AM PST by savedbygrace (SECURE THE BORDERS FIRST (I'M YELLING ON PURPOSE))
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To: seanmerc

What ever happened to the man who wanted to take the SCOTUS judges house in like NH, and change it into a hotel with a restaurant called ' just desserts '???????????

11 posted on 01/21/2006 7:04:43 AM PST by television is just wrong (Our sympathies are misguided with illegal aliens...)
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To: seanmerc

There's only five members on my town council.

I wouldn't even have to reload.

12 posted on 01/21/2006 8:09:17 AM PST by the
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To: television is just wrong
Funny you should ask, there was a fresh story on this today in Forbes

They submitted enough petition signatures - only 25 were needed - to bring the matter before voters in March. This weekend, they're descending on Souter's hometown, the central New Hampshire town of Weare, population 8,500, to rally for support.

"This is in the tradition of the Boston Tea Party and the Pine Tree Riot," Organizer Logan Darrow Clements said, referring to the riot that took place during the winter of 1771-1772, when colonists in Weare beat up officials appointed by King George III who fined them for logging white pines without approval.

13 posted on 01/21/2006 5:05:44 PM PST by El Gato (The Second Amendment is the Reset Button of the U.S. Constitution)
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To: El Gato

I'm wanting to keep up with Souter's home/cottage being condemned.

14 posted on 01/21/2006 5:10:55 PM PST by Principled
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To: El Gato
From your link,

The matter goes to voters on March 14.

15 posted on 01/21/2006 5:13:38 PM PST by Principled
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To: savedbygrace

16 posted on 01/21/2006 5:17:52 PM PST by Principled
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To: seanmerc

January 21, 2006

To: RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman

Subject: The return of my 2006 RNC Membership Card

It is with deep regret that I find myself writing this letter to you.

I did in fact receive my 2006 RNC Membership Card. I will not be renewing my membership and I am returning the card to you. If you care about the why, then please read this entire letter.

When I pulled the lever for our current President in the elections of 2000 and 2004, this is what I thought I was voting for.

Limited Government
I am at odds with certain aspects of the Patriot Act with regards to the access of all types of records and data that may be private and none of this governments business.

Equally appalling is the attempt of this government to access Google’s database.

Don’t bring the War on Terror into this, you had all the info in the world to nail the 911 hijackers, but the size of the bureaucracy prevented this government from doing so.

Equally disappointing is the bungling of communication that occurred during Katrina. I am not holding the Federal Government responsible for the suffering, but I am making the point that the more you grow the federal Government the less it will actually be able to accomplish.

A Reduction of Taxes and Simplification of the Tax Code
Although some progress has been made on tax relief overall the tax code as we know it is a mess. Let’s move to the “Fair Tax” specified by Congressman Linder and Libertarian Neil Boortz. This will go along way in helping remove the lobbyist influence over our tax code in addition to trapping a lot of currently uncollected revenue.

Giving in to the WTO with regards to expiring export taxes is a joke. What happened to a level playing field? How can the exporters of domestic services and goods compete when you tie their hands behind their backs? How can you encourage investment state side with policies like that?

Adherence to the US Constitution and Working to Up Hold it’s Values!

U.S. Constitution Excerpt
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The campaign finance law passed under this administration was an direct assault to our Constitution. This must be reviewed and repealed.

U.S. Constitution Excerpt
To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.

The illegal immigration problem is at critical mass, but our President refuses to act forcefully in concurrence with our Constitution.

U.S. Constitution Excerpt
Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

No greater assault on the Constitution and the ownership of private property can be seen than the Kelo decision. Where is the outrage from our supposedly Conservative controlled congress and Senate about this horrendous decision? What about the “Ownership Society” that is so often talked about in the halls of Washington? I cannot even convey the utter disappointment I feel over this.

A Strong Military
I do support the President on Afghanistan and Iraq, but do not support more butter than guns. Being able to afford a couple of hundred state of the art fighter’s is a far cry from where President Ronald Reagan had us a mere 20 years ago.

The Economy
Please, let’s not even go there. The only thing that kept things pointed in what appears to be the correct direction is Alan and the printing press. You want proof? Look at the price of gold and energy; they are the “real” international currency, not the dollar. The current administration and the previous one of Clinton did and are still living off of the economy and military of a real Conservative!

In closing, yes the Administration has done a good job in the Middle East and twenty years from now will probably be seen as a brilliant move in bring democracy there. I just hope we will be as free here at home.

If you need money to fund your mid term elections I suggest you go talk to the people the listed organizations below, because they seem to know what a Conservative should stand for. They are also getting all of my available funds in the future that is if the RNC does not change course.

Minute Man Project
The Gun Owners Association
Congressman Tancrado
United States Senate Candidate, John Mitchel (To replace the “RINO” Dewine)
Ohio State Gubernatorial Candidate, Kenneth Blackwell
National Right to Life Association

P.S. This may not be fact, but it is how I feel. You guys on the hill do not give a rat’s arse about the Constitution or the Son’s or Daughter’s of this Nation. The only thing that seems to matter is the amount of cash that can be jammed in the coffers and pleasing the One Worlder’s and I for one am sick of it.

17 posted on 01/22/2006 4:57:47 AM PST by mr_hammer (They have eyes, but do not see . . .)
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To: seanmerc
maybe the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act or 2000 (RLUIPA) can provide protections for Rev. Gildon’s church

Conservatives ought to shoot down this attempt to cut a back-door separate truce, and demand protection for ALL property owners against eminent domain abuse.

18 posted on 01/23/2006 8:20:54 AM PST by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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