Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based nonprofit promoting a Christian view of America’s founding, has filed a federal lawsuit against Wake County after the Cameron Village public library denied it access to stage programming in one of its conference rooms. The lawsuit alleges that the library’s policy is unconstitutional and discriminatory, in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
The 25-page complaint, filed April 24 in the Eastern District of North Carolina, cites two occasions in which the library denied its applications to use the workshops to offer free programming to the public. The suit seeks a permanent injuction on the library’s policy denying workshops on religious grounds, along with nominal damages.
In 2013, Liberty applied to use one of the library’s workshops, acknowledging its intent to quote extensively from the Bible, the founding fathers’ religious views and sermons from the founding era. Liberty also disclosed their intention to open the program with a devotional.
A library administrator canceled Liberty’s application, informing the group that “religious instruction, services or ceremonies are not permitted.”
In the suit, Liberty claims that public libraries are a marketplace of ideas, and that governments cannot censor religion from the marketplace. It lists other nonprofit groups previously permitted to stage events in Wake’s libraries, including the Mat Yoga group, Money Smart: Save with Coupons, Craft It: Bold Button Jewelry, The Art of Screenwriting, the Local History Tea Party, and the Music to Celebrate America program, along with several local book clubs.
The suit seeks permanent injunctive relief and nominal damage relief under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
“Cameron Village Regional Library violates its own mission by denying the citizens of Wake County the pursuit of knowledge of American history, particularly our religious foundation,” Liberty founder Mat Staver said in a press release.