News & Politics

An Association in a Small Michigan Town Just Got Sued Over Banning Non-Christians from Living There

This is disturbing.

Photo Credit: Bay View Association

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is requiring a tiny Methodist-affiliated Michigan association to show documentation of their exemption from the federal Fair Housing Act after a nearby inclusiveness group sued them for barring non-Christians from living within their limits.

Hemant Mehta at Patheos’ The Friendly Atheist reported that the property once required all its residents to be both white and Christian, and although they dropped race from their charter in the 1950’s, they continue to only allow Christians to live there.

In 2017, Mehta wrote, the Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group sued the privately-owned Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church for alleged violations of the constitution’s religious freedom clause, the Fair Housing Act, Michigan’s state constitution and other civil rights laws.

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

“They argued that Bay View isn’t affiliated in any meaningful way with the UMC,” the report continued. “They operate independently from it and they’re owned by a for-profit company. They also pay taxes, an admission they’re not a church property. And they maintain and use ‘State-delegated police power.'”

Earlier this week, HUD announced the Bay View Association “has not met its burden to prove it is exempt from the federal Fair Housing Act.” In short, Mehta wrote, the federal housing authority doesn’t believe the community that boasted a population of 133 in the 2010 Census is actually a private religious organization.

Noor Al-Sibai is a writer and editor for Raw Story, whose work has appeared in Bustle, Everyday Feminism, and Rewire.