RLUIPA challenge a difficult battle

Letter to The Journal News

(Original Publication: February 1, 2007)

Due to the nature of the tidal wave of laws that get passed in Washington, D.C., every year, I never noticed or heard of RLUIPA, The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. This law was passed in 2000. Now that I see and know how it works, I am appalled! This has to be one of the most shameful and insidious acts thrust upon the American people since the passage of the Volstead Act, now known as Prohibition.

Who would have known that the separation of church and state would be tossed out the window in favor of every imagined religious group in America? In effect, RLUIPA supercedes all property and environmental law on the books.

Neighborhoods all over the United States are having RLUIPA thrust down their throats and it is indeed a very difficult battle to fight. One of the greatest advantages proponents of the RLUIPA have against average Americans is the use of the wild card - political correctness. If you oppose RLUIPA, you are labeled anti-religious. That is a very difficult label to surpass.

RLUIPA is being used to great effect in Ramapo. Battles have been raging against the issue but it is very difficult to win due to voter apathy. Don't think it can't happen in your neighborhood because it is. Speak out, vote and write letters and e-mails. Your future and your children's futures are at stake.

Don't let America become a theocracy. I don't want to live in a country like Iran!

James Katzenstein