Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Township Officials Sued For Raiding Church and Threatening Prosecution of Rock Band

On Monday, the Thomas More Law Center (TMLC) filed a federal lawsuit against the Waterford (Michigan) Township supervisor, prosecutor and two Waterford police officials. The suit charges that defendants infringed the freedom of speech, association and free exercise of religion of Faith Baptist Church and of a Christian rock band playing there. A release by TMLC and a long article in WorldNet Daily discuss details of the case. Apparently after a neighbor complained of the loud music from the Church's worship band, Prosecuting Attorney Walter Bedell arranged for uniformed police officers to raid the Church and threaten band members with disorderly conduct charges. Another raid ensued the following Sunday and the prosecutor personally conducted surveillance on the church from his parked car. The suit alleges that Waterford Township authorities targeted the Church because of the type of religious music it uses in its services. Meanwhile today's Detroit News reports that a separate lawsuit has been filed by a neighbor of the Church asking an Oakland County Circuit Court to limit the volume levels of the Church's music.

UPDATE: Here is the full text of the complaint in Faith Baptist Church v. Waterford Township. [Thanks to Brian D. Wassom]