In Jesus Christ Is the Answer Ministries, Inc. v. Baltimore County, (D MD, March 27, 2018), a Maryland federal district court dismissed RLUIPA and constitutional challenges by a church to a county’s refusal to grant it a zoning variance so it could convert a home it purchased into a house of worship.  The court, in its 35-page opinion, said in part:Plaintiffs have not plausibly pled a substantial burden claim because the record shows that Reverend Ware did not have a reasonable expectation when she bought the Property that it could be used for the Church.Plaintiff’s discrimination claim focused on the fact that the church’s members were African immigrants and on objections to the nature of its ministry.  The court said in part:Plaintiffs have not alleged facts supporting an inference that the Board acted with intentional or purposeful discrimination.

Source: https://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/03/churchs-challenge-to-zoning-denial-is.html

The NewVistas Foundation is a non-profit organization promoting the building of model communities based on writings of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith.  NewVistas wealthy founder David Hall is buying up land in Provo, Utah and near Joseph Smith’s birthplace in Vermont to create two of these villages. As reported in 2016 by Bloomberg Businessweek :Hall is a fourth-generation Mormon. “Joseph Smith was just the wildest guy out there,” he says. “Lots of things he did were stupid, but in my view, he was a sage or a seer and didn’t even understand what came to him.” As the story goes, the plat plan appeared to Smith while he was studying Enoch, an Old Testament prophet who designed a city so perfect it was whisked off to heaven. The text accompanying the blueprint, written out by Smith and his comrades, says each plat should house 15,000 to 20,000 people within one square mile (though the definition of a mile has changed slightly), and that the design should be replicated worldwide. Written in the style of 15th century English, it reads: “When this square is thus laid off and supplied, lay off another in the same way, and so fill up the world in these last days, and let every man live in the city, for this is the city of Zion.”These plans have stirred opposition, and in Vermont (as reported this week by AP) a resolution opposing the planned village has been introduced in the Vermont House of Representatives.  HR 20 (full text) introduced March 21 with 12 co-sponsors, says in part:the NewVistas project would destroy the traditional and compacts settlement pattern in the four towns, convert large amounts of productive agricultural lands and forestland into development, undermine the historic character of these towns, degrade the area’s natural resources, and reduce game and wildlife populations.

Source: http://religionclause.blogspot.com/2018/03/vermont-legislators-join-fight-against.html

The Swedish golfer has had a long, hard ride to the top but now, aged 35 and No 15 in the world, is ready for major gloryIn a week in which the status of Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been enhanced once more, it is worth contemplating what profile would be afforded the first Swedish champion of the Masters. “When you have a guy like Ibra, he is higher than the king,” says Alex Norén. “He is bigger than everybody.” Is that fair? “The king is born into being a king. Zlatan has trained pretty hard.”The LA Galaxy striker was afforded conditions unavailable to golfers in a country where winter bites long and hard. The journey of Norén is therefore worthy of attention. From a young age, dedication to the sport was absolutely necessary. Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/02/alex-noren-fly-under-radar-masters