In Virginia, an elderly couple has sued their apartment complex for kickin’ ’em out.
The reason for the ejection? They were hosting a weekly Bible study.
So say Kenneth Hauge and his wife, Liz — both in their 80’s — in a federal suit filed in Richmond.
The complaint alleges housing discrimination on the part of Community Realty — the management company for Fredericksburg’s Evergreens at Smith Run.
Kenneth is a retired Lutheran minister, and he and Liz were hosting a Bible group in the senior living facility’s Club Room.
They were told they’d be evicted if they continued.
GodUpdates.com reported it this way:
When fellow residents found out about Ken’s calling, they were ecstatic. As it turns out, they’d been longing to start their very own resident’s Bible study there on-site. So, they approached Ken and asked him to lead it.
Management immediately balked at having the event called a “Bible study.” Instead, they insisted Ken call it a “Book Review.” Ken and the residents thought the matter was resolved.
But a year later, Ken got the surprise of a lifetime — an eviction notice!
In July 2018, the retirement home issued a new, six-page community room policy. In it, they prohibited using the Community Room for “religious services or for other religious purposes.”
The couple’s attorney, Lea Patterson, told Fox News it’s a case of religious persecution:
“The management company’s hostility to religious residents violates federal law and taints Virginia’s long history of religious freedom. We’re asking the court to hold the management company accountable for violating the Hauges’ right to exercise their faith in their home and to ensure no other residents have to suffer through what the Hauges have endured.”
Since it's #SeniorCitizensDay let us introduce you to our newest victim of anti-religious hostility: Ken Hauge. Evicting senior citizens from their home for leading a Bible study is not only outrageous, it's illegal. https://t.co/yeGGseTQIz pic.twitter.com/8gAxrjL8GC
— First Liberty Institute (@1stLiberty) August 22, 2018
Purportedly, the Bible class dustup wasn’t the joint’s only fight over faith.
As per a letter from the Hauges’ law firm, First Liberty:
[I]n 2017 the Evergreens refused to reimburse the resident social committee for an agreed-upon portion of expenses associated with a monthly resident social dinner because a resident briefly and audibly said grace over the meal. In this context, the Notice and Policy merely crystalized the discriminatory purpose and disparate treatment the Evergreens demonstrated and effectuated for some time.
But Community Realty is biting back: It claims Kenneth and Liz were harassing people about joining the Bible class.
First Liberty has requested the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development looking into whether the apartment complex committed discrimination.
Kenneth explained that Liz tried to work out their issues directly with the facility, but it was a no-go.
At the end of the day, he just wants to exercise his rights:
“It seems to me so obvious why people should be free to express their basic convictions, their basic understanding of philosophical, theological, culturally without any limitations. I believe we are guaranteed that right by law and I think that’s enough reason to stand our ground on it.”
See more in the video below.
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