The Pastor’s Study
QUESTION: The church is building a new sanctuary and our city keeps rejecting our plans citing building codes. Isn’t this attempt at municipal regulation an infringement upon our ability to worship?
ANSWER: No. Building codes are enforceable against religious nonprofit organizations because courts generally find that there is a compelling state interest in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of the public in enforcing those codes. There may be exceptions to certain building code requirements for areas that are designed specifically for religious worship. Otherwise, ‘the enforcement of building codes is not generally seen as an infringement on the ability of people to worship or a requirement that they abandon their sincerely held religious beliefs.