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Churches May Have Some Exemptions Without Violating Nonestablishment Clause

Rhode Island
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Key point 7-09. A nuisance is any use of property that results in significant annoyance or discomfort to neighboring landowners. Some church activities may constitute a nuisance. The courts will weigh the annoyance and discomfort to neighboring landowners with the church's constitutional right to exercise its religion. In some cases the courts may order a church to limit the activity causing the nuisance, or eliminate it entirely.

A federal district court in Rhode Island ruled that a city's sound ordinance that exempted church bells did not violate the nonestablishment of religion clause of the First Amendment. A homeowner (the "plaintiff") claimed that the excessive clapping, gonging, tolling, pealing, ringing, and chiming of the bells of two neighboring churches profoundly disturbed his right to the quiet enjoyment of his home, effectively forcing on him a "call to worship" that he does ...

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Posted:
  • April 21, 2016

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