RLUIPA (2000): No government shall impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that imposes a substantial burden on the religious exercise of a person, including a religious assembly or institution, unless the government demonstrates that imposition of the burden on that person, assembly, or institution, is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.”
Religious rights are enshrined in the Constitution. Why, then, did Congress pass the Religious Land Use and Institutionalised Persons Act (RLUIPA) in 2000? More than 10 years on, has the law achieved what lawmakers intended? What are the social and environmental consequences of a Statute which accuses communities of religious discrimination before it may be proved; ignores established zoning; and, in practice, undermines every planning and environmental law on the books? And, why hasn’t Congress delivered on its promise to RLUIPA’s opponents to review the law and reconsider it in light of the impact it’s had?
In the absence of a Congressional review of RLUIPA’s record in the land use process, AMERICA’S HOLY WAR, investigates. Under the microscope, one community where there is a cluster of RLUIPA lawsuits – The Town of Ramapo in Rockland County, New York to provide insight into how RLUIPA may be playing out in communities across the country.
Filmed in Ramapo between 2007 and 2011, the documentary examines some RLUIPA cases past and running. Appearing, a cross section of residents, politicians, clergy and Environmental Consultant and former Director of RIVERKEEPER, Alex Matthiessen. To explain the Statute and how it came to be passed, are leading National Constitutional and RLUIPA experts including Professor Patricia Salkin, Associate Dean of Albany Law School and author of the authoritative, LAW OF THE LAND Blog. Attorney Roman Storzer of the New York and Washington-based law firm, Storzer and Greene. And Professor Marci Hamilton, Cordozo Law School, Yeshiva University. Professor Hamilton presented evidence in Congressional hearings on RLUIPA and she is the author of “God vs The Gavel”.
Moondance Films of London is delighted to present the first and only film about RLUIPA and its consequences, Directed by Annie MacGregor.