Intermountain Fair Housing Council v. Boise Rescue Mission Ministries (2009-current)
The Becket Fund successfully defended the Boise Rescue Mission Ministries at the 9th Circuit with a ruling offering valuable protection to religious shelters across the country.
The Boise Rescue Mission offers a variety of charitable programs in Boise, Idaho, including a homeless shelter for men, and a discipleship program for women recovering from substance abuse. However, the two ministries were slapped with lawsuits under the Fair Housing Act. Guests of the two ministries allege that the Rescue Mission engages in unlawful religious discrimination by holding chapel services at the homeless shelter and by requiring members of the discipleship program to participate in religious activities. This is despite the fact that the Rescue Mission does not receive any government funds, and participation in its ministries is completely voluntary and free of charge.
The Ninth Circuit unanimously rejected all claims, and protected the Consitution and civil rights laws protect the right of religious groups to minister to the poor and needy in accordance with their religious beliefs.
For more information, or to arrange an interview with one of the attorneys, please contact Emily Hardman, Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202.349.7224.
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Media Advisory for Oral Argument (July 2011)
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10-02-2011, San Francisco Court Protects Religious Freedoms of Christian Homeless Shelter, Gina E. Ryder, The Christian Post
10-01-2011, Court makes surprising decision in favor of religion, Charlie Butts, One News Now
09-23-2011, Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Mission over Religion, Rebecca Boon, North County Times