Jump directly to the content

Churches' Interiors as Landmarks

Designation as a historical landmark may violate a church's rights.

• The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that the City of Boston could not declare a church's interior as a "landmark." Faced with an aging, oversized building, the leaders of a Catholic church adopted a plan to renovate the facility into office, counseling, and residential space. When work began, ten citizens promptly asked the city to designate the interior of the church as a landmark. The city approved the citizens' request, and prohibited permanent alteration of "the nave, chancel, vestibule and organ loft on the main floor—the volume, window glazing, architectural detail, finishes, painting, the organ, and organ case." Church leaders filed a lawsuit, claiming that their constitutional right to freely exercise their religion was violated by the city' action. The court agreed. It relied entirely on a provision in the state constitution specifying that "no subject shall ...

Log In For Full Access

Interested in becoming a member? Learn more.

Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

Related Topics:
Posted:
  • January 1, 1992

Related ResourcesVisit Store

50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
50-State Religious Freedom Laws Report
A review of state laws and court decisions affecting church leaders
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Pastor, Church & Law, Fifth Edition
Learn which local, state, and federal laws apply to religious organizations.