Religious tensions are high in one Florida condominium complex.
A woman in Port Charlotte filed a federal complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development after her homeowner association adopted a resolution prohibiting her Bible study group and other religious activities in the building’s common space, Fox 4 reports.
Donna Dunbar said she had been holding weekly Bible study sessions for almost a year when she received notice on Feb. 6 that she would have to discontinue the meetings.
According to the HOA resolution, “prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.”
Dunbar argued that the move effectively ended her meetings, because her 919 sq. foot condo is too small to accommodate her nine-person group.
“Like I was being rejected,” she told Fox 4. “This is my home, this is my community.”
Dunbar claimed a sign was placed on the community organ that read “any and all Christian music is banned!”
“I rely on God for everything,” Dunbar said. “We study the Bible and sing some karaoke songs … it made me sad.”
Prior to having her faith-based activities banned, Dunbar had been required to by the HOA to get insurance in order to keep using the common room.
The tenant contacted the pro-religious liberty legal group First Liberty Institute, who filed the complaint with HUD on her behalf.
First Liberty’s Deputy General Counsel, Jeremy Dys, said there was “evidence of some kind of discrimination.”
“The federal Fair Housing Act doesn’t allow a condo association like this to allow people to meet on secular topics, but not to meet on religious topics,” he asserted.
For the moment, Dubar will wait for HUD to process her complaint.
“We want to be there for those in this building, as well as those on the outside. Just be there for them, support them. It’s like a support group,” she said.