Church wins fight for homeless ministryJust for Jesus serves mostly disabled veterans, low-level offenders, evicted homeowners and renters, and people referred by mental-health agencies.
A Pennsylvania church that houses homeless people has won $100,000 in damages and attorneys' fees from the borough that tried to shut down the program.
Brookville agreed to pay the damages and fees to First Apostles' Doctrine Church, located about 80 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, as part of an agreement with the ACLU of Pennsylvania. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the borough in November 2008 on behalf of the church and the Rev. Jack Wisor, its pastor and founder of its ministry to the homeless, "Just for Jesus Challenge Homeless Outreach."
To the church, providing housing and Christian counseling to homeless people is part of its religious convictions and mission.
It's a perspective that some local government officials don't seem to understand, said Witold Walczak, the ACLU of Pennsylvania's legal director and a lawyer for the church.
"There seems to be this narrow view of religious use as simply being conventional church services, worship services," Mr. Walczak said. "Religious liberty encompasses far more than that."
Read the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette report here. Get background info about the case here.