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N.J. Town Removes Devotional Shrine From Public Land

Saying he was motivated to defend the separation of church and state, a New Jersey mayor ordered the removal of a religious shrine from state-owned land.

Newly-elected Passaic Mayor Hector Lora called for the 14-year-old shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe to be dismantled because it was a religious display on public property. Mayordomia Guadalupe, the group caring for the shrine, was stringing electrical lines for security cameras on the site and collecting money for its upkeep, reported the Bergen County Record.

AU Urges New Jersey Supreme Court To Prevent Morris County Tax Dollars From Funding Houses Of Worship

Americans United this week urged the New Jersey Supreme Court to stop Morris County officials from awarding taxpayer-funded grants to houses of worship.

Since 2012, Morris County has distributed more than $4.5 million in tax revenue to a dozen active churches through an historical preservation program. These grants are in direct conflict with the Religious Aid Clause in New Jersey’s state constitution, which proclaims that no resident can be compelled to pay taxes for “building or repairing any church or churches, place or places of worship.”

N.J. Township Pays Fees In Mosque Case

A New Jersey town that rejected a plan by local Muslims to build a mosque by requiring it to have more parking spaces on its property than churches and synagogues is paying the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge $3.25 million in damages and legal fees after reaching a settlement.

Zoned Out

When Muslims in Bernards Township, N.J., sought to build a mosque, they found themselves subjected to a strange requirement that wasn’t imposed on other houses of worship: They’d have to build a “supersized” parking lot.

Officials in the township insisted that since Muslims gather for prayers on Friday afternoon, everyone who might come to the mosque should have a dedicated parking spot.

N.J. Can’t Subject Mosque To Higher Parking Requirements

A federal judge has ruled that a New Jersey town cannot require a mosque to have more parking spaces on its property than churches and synagogues, marking what activists hope is the end of a four-year legal battle. 

U.S. District Court Judge Michael Shipp’s Dec. 31 ruling gave the Islamic Society of Basking Ridge a win against Ber­nards Township, which, after 39 planning board meetings, rejected a plan by local Muslims to construct a mosque.

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