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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scottsboro City Council, Regular Session - City of Scottsboro Violates Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3 - August 8, 2016

Scottsboro City Hall, photo by G. Morgan

Riverside Church, building owned by the City of Scottsboro, leased to the church for $250.00 per month. Google Earth Image, Fair Use for non-profit news reporting and commentary.  Link to previous blog article: City of Scottsboro Property Management Issue – Clouding the Separation of Church and State by Scottsboro City Government - http://arklite.blogspot.com/2016/08/why-city-of-scottsboro-should-not-be.html 

Riverside Church (the old Rec-Com building) – The church at its current location, according to church officials, has been holding worship services there since 2008. In March of 2011 the City Council of Scottsboro, Al. approved a $65,000 expenditure for a metal roof and air conditioning for the church. The lease was recently extended in May of 2016 for 10 years at the same monthly cost of $250.00, payable to the City of Scottsboro. Compare that with the $3000 per month the City of Scottsboro charges the Scottsboro Municipal Court for it’s so called lease (according to the Scottsboro Magistrate’s Office).

Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3
“That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship; nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this state; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.”

In March 2011 the City Council of Scottsboro, Alabama approved replacing a roof and air-conditioning unit for the Riverside Church, property owned by the City of Scottsboro and leased to the church for a small amount of money. “…that no one shall be compelled by law to…pay…for repairing any place of worship.” Excerpt from the Alabama Constitution, Article 1, Section 3.

Constitution of the United States, Article 1, Establishment Clause
The First Amendment's Establishment Clause prohibits the government from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” This clause not only forbids the government from establishing an official religion, but also prohibits government actions that unduly favor one religion over another. It also prohibits the government from unduly preferring religion over non-religion, or non-religion over religion. (ACLU position)

The Lemon Test (Supreme Court of the U.S. in Lemon vs Kurtzman)
Government action violates the Establishment Clause unless it:
1. Has a significant secular (i.e., non-religious) purpose,
2. Does not have the primary effect of advancing or inhibiting religion, and
3. Does not foster excessive entanglement between government and religion.
(Not all justices agree with every aspect of this test. However, it is the prevailing test of whether there is a violation of the Establishment Clause of the Constitution.)



Statement by the Director of the Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas Board  regarding the Alabama Attorney General's legal action listing the Scottsboro Water Sewer and Gas Board as Defendants, Case # CV900167.00 Filed Aug. 5, 2016 in the Jackson County Circuit Court for violation of the Water Pollution Control Act. “The State Attorney General's Office, along with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, has filed a complaint in civil court regarding certain violations of the Board's NPDES permit. These self-reported violations primarily occurred during heavy rainfall events that flooded our wastewater collection system. The Board will continue to work closely with ADEM, and our consulting engineers, to make improvements to our system and operate in full compliance of State and Federal regulations.”
Roy Light
Scottsboro WSG

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