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Court Dismisses 'Frivolous' Lawsuit Against California Church

Godspeak Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California (Godspeak Facebook page)

Today, the Ventura County Superior Court granted Liberty Counsel's motion to dismiss a lawsuit, brought by the Dos Vientos Community Preservation Association (Association) and Donald Armstrong, which attempts to force the City of Thousand Oaks in California to discriminate against Godspeak Calvary Chapel Church and a non-profit organization. The City of Thousand Oaks supports the church's right to be in the building for religious use and worship.

Ironically, within a stone's throw of the church is a Chabad synagogue located in the same complex of businesses. The synagogue also displayed a large rectangle tent for the Feast of Tabernacles. The association does not object to the synagogue but does object to the church. The association does not represent the neighborhood and is not a neighborhood association. Only a handful of people are behind the association who are adamantly opposed to a Christian church in the area.

The court ruled that if the plaintiffs complete the procedural requirements for complaints, which they did not originally do, they have until Oct. 17 to refile. If the complaint is re-filed, then Liberty Counsel will review it and will likely file another motion to dismiss.

Liberty Counsel had filed the motion in Ventura County Superior Court to dismiss the lawsuit because the Association is fine with having a YMCA rent the facility, but objects to a church renting the same facility. Such biased discrimination is often referred to as "Not in my back yard" (NIMBY).

In Dos Vientos Community Preservation Association v. City of Thousand Oaks, Liberty Counsel represents a religious nonprofit foundation (Foundation) that purchased a building and entered into an agreement to rent the facility to Calvary Chapel. The City of Thousand Oaks supports the use of the facility by the church. However, the association filed suit objecting to the church. The association claims that the facility should be used for a YMCA, not a church.

The Foundation purchased the building from the YMCA in January 2018. The YMCA built and operated a center before it closed in December 2017. The YMCA then sold the property, including the building, to the foundation, which is where Godspeak Calvary Chapel now meets.

"We are pleased that the Ventura County Superior Court dismissed this frivolous lawsuit against a Christian church," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel. "It is a violation of the law when the association welcomes a YMCA but refuses a church. Liberty Counsel will continue fighting for this church as long as it takes."

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