On September 11, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of religious freedom in the case of Catholic Healthcare International, Inc. v. Genoa Charter Township, Michigan, unanimously (3-0) granting CHI’s request for a preliminary injunction and thus permitting the return of CHI’s “religiously symbolic structures” (Stations of the Cross, Image of Our Lady of Grace, and altar) to its rural, 40-acre property located in the Township and further permitting CHI to hold “organized gatherings” (religious worship) on the property.
In September 2021, Township officials banned CHI from using the property for these religious purposes.
As a result of this court decision, religious worship has once again returned to the property!
In fact, the Sixth Circuit ordered the return of the religious displays by September 23, 2023, the Feast Day of St. Pio, CHI’s patron Saint. On this glorious day in Michigan, CHI held an outdoor Mass in honor of St. Pio and in thanksgiving for the return of CHI’s fundamental right to religious freedom.
Below are pictures taken this past Saturday (September 23) of the religious displays and worship that Township officials had previously and unlawfully banned on CHI’s property.
(Outdoor Mass on the CHI property)
(Praying the Stations of the Cross on the CHI property)
The Township has also banned the construction of a modest, 95-seat adoration chapel (the St. Pio Chapel) on CHI’s property. This fight continues. The Township feigned concern that the small chapel with its 39-space parking lot will cause traffic issues, even though the Township’s Planning Commission, the Livingston County Road Commission, and the Township’s own consultants approved the project prior to the Township Board’s rejection of it in May of 2021. Meanwhile, the Township has its own park about 3 miles from this property with over 200 parking spaces.
This litigation will continue unless Township officials are willing to acknowledge that religious freedom is in fact a fundamental right in this country and thus permit CHI to develop its complete prayer campus. Indeed, the Township’s overt attack on religion is shocking. And it is coming at great expense to its taxpayers as the Township will be liable for CHI’s attorneys’ fees and costs (in addition to the costs and fees its own attorneys are billing the Township) should CHI ultimately prevail (and based on the Sixth Circuit ruling, it is certainly looking that way). If the Township continues with its unlawful restriction of CHI’s fundamental right to religious freedom, it will be hit with a bill that could easily eclipse a million dollars.
It is time for this religious discrimination to end.