For many people, listening to Christian music is an uplifting, relaxing, and overall positive experience. Unfortunately, some atheists in California don’t share this view. As a result, the Christian owners of a courthouse café, Café Justice, in Rancho Cucamonga, California may be evicted.
For the past 11 years, Carlo Magno and his spouse have provided attorneys, judges, plaintiffs, and defendants with steaming coffee and delicious muffins at the courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga, California. Besides decorating the walls of their café with Christian messages, the enterprising couple played a variety of contemporary Christian songs at their business. Sadly, this peace was not to last.
In October of 2017, local atheists claimed the Christian memorabilia and music at Café Justice triggered microaggressions. They filed a complaint with the café’s landlord, the San Bernardino County Department of Real Estate Services.
Mere weeks after the complaint was filed, the café’s owners learned their location was being put up for public bid status. During an interview with Todd Starnes, Mr. Magno said, “We were encouraged to include in our proposal for bid, that we would not play our religious music or have any religious decorations.”
In January of 2018, the Christian couple discovered their proposal had been rejected. A distraught Mr. Magno stated, “We have not broken any laws – federal or state – nor did we breach anything in our contract.”
The couple always paid their rent on time. Adored by court personnel, the business had an impeccable record. Mr. Magno shared with Starnes that he and his wife’s goal wasn’t to simply serve the best products they could. They also strove to encourage people who may be experiencing a difficult situation.
The couple has retained an attorney in order to fight their eviction. Several judges and lawyers have already signed a petition asking the café’s landlord to reconsider its edict. Mr. Magno said, “We have initiated litigation against the County of San Bernardino Real Estate Service to reveal the unlawful handling of the bidding process along with the religious discrimination against a Christian-owned business.”
Sadly, the ordeal the owners of Café Justice are going through isn’t an isolated incident. On February 6, 2018, Cambridge House, a condo building in Port Charlotte, Florida, issued a resolution “regarding religious observances on the common elements.”
An obtrusive sign was posted on an organ located in a commons section of the condo complex that read “ANY AND ALL CHRISTIAN MUSIC IS BANNED.” Those living in the condo were free to sing Elvis Presley’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog” or Katy Perry’s “Roar,” but they couldn’t sing “How Great Thou Art” or “Amazing Grace.”
According to a fair housing complaint First Liberty Institute, a law firm experienced in religious liberty cases, filed with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Residents of the condo building were also notified they were forbidden to hold weekly Bible studies in the commons area.
Cambridge House’s resolution stated, “Prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur at meetings of the Association (Owner meetings, member meetings, committee meetings, or, otherwise) and shall not occur in or upon any of the common elements.” First Liberty Institute equated the resolution to a religious cleansing of the condo building.
Those living in the condo removed Christian décor from their homes. Both an angel fountain and a statue of St. Francis of Assisi were confiscated from a courtyard. First Liberty Institute disclosed the statue had been erected by a resident in memory of a deceased loved one. The law firm filed its complaint on behalf of Cambridge House resident Donna Dunbar. Mrs. Dunbar is a lay minister in the Seventh Day Adventist Church. She held a weekly Bible study for women in the social room of Cambridge House. Besides Dunbar, other groups utilized the space for movie nights and card games.
Seemingly being singled out, the condo association’s treasurer demanded Dunbar obtain insurance in order to continue her Bible studies. The devout Christian complied.
On February 7, 2018, the day after Cambridge House issued its resolution, Dunbar and her husband received a missive that stated, “The result of this resolution prohibits Bible Study meetings in the Social Room effective February 16, 2018.” In the fair housing complaint, attorney Adam Foslid contented, “The Cambridge House Resolution, both in text and in application, is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act because it prohibits Mrs. Dunbar and other Christian residents from accessing common condominium areas for any religious activity, while allowing other residents to use those same facilities for similar non-secular purposes.”
Pray for the Magno’s, Dunbar, and all those being discriminated against in this country due to their Christian faith.
~ 1776 Christian