The sound of Christian music returns to Florida housing community

The sound of Christian music returns to Florida housing community February 9, 2020

A WHILE back Cambridge House in Florida put into effect ‘a discriminatory’ policy stating, ‘prayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.’

To emphasise its rule it placed a ‘shocking’ sign on the the piano in community room, which greatly angered Donna Dunbar, inset, a lay preacher living in Cambridge House who was told she would no longer be allowed to hold Bible classes on the premises.

So she toddled off to an outfit that takes up cudgels on behalf of ‘persecuted’ Christians – First Liberty Institute headed by Kelly Shackelford.

Kelly Shackelford. Image via YouTube.

Well today, Sunday, First Liberty crowed:

We’re excited to announce that First Liberty reached a settlement on behalf of our client, Donna Dunbar, a retired senior citizen in Florida who’d been denied access to her apartment community’s social room for meetings based on their religious content.

The agreement is excellent news –mit states that Donna may continue to use the social room on a weekly basis to hold a Bible study without being subject to special rules or restrictions.

It added:

After First Liberty took action and filed a fair housing complaint, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development investigated this blatant religious liberty violation.

Now, Donna will be able to freely live out her faith and use the social room just like all the other residents.

Her victory is more proof that we are taking part in a historic turning point when people of faith are reclaiming religious freedom at an unprecedented rate.

And it concluded:

We are reclaiming the freedoms that were once stripped away from us and restoring our God-given rights in the spaces and places where we live out our faith every day.

Reports that Cambridge House will be giving residents free earplugs are yet to be confirmed.

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  • Jim Jones

    I look forward to the implementation of Islamic ceremonies on the appropriate day of the week. And assistance from First Liberty if needed.

  • Old Harry

    So, what is FFRF’s opinion?

    That sounded like a very ‘reactive’ cure for what a very specific issue, followed by a partial roll back based on the obvious fact that some activities not liable to really annoy other residents as much as blaring Christian Rock at ‘sl&#8203uts in ski&#8203mpy bik&#8203inis’ can.

    The initial issue probably involves all the pettiness associated with mindless religiosity, and the initial response has the hallmarks of a fed-up property manager.

  • laura1919

    To be fair, the sign shown in the first image seems designed to provoke this kind of response. They couldn’t simply say, “Please be considerate of your fellow residents and refrain from overt religious or political activity in the common areas”?

    Although, perhaps they’d tried that before and folks like Ms. Dunbar ignored it.

  • And fork the other tenants, eh?

  • Vanity Unfair

    [P]rayers and other religious services, observations, or meetings of any nature shall not occur … in or upon any of the common elements.
    is not the same as
    [A] lay preacher living in Cambridge House…was told she would no longer be allowed to hold Bible classes on the premises.
    is not the same as

    There seems not to have been any prohibition on private worship; the sort that the New Testament specifically recommends
    Matthew 6(6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

    Anyway, if one sort of liturgy is allowed then all must be and there is no mention of times of worship in the report. I know of some retired people who would regard that as a challenge.

  • Carstonio

    I doubt that Cambridge House was responsible for the sign. Most likely it was put there by Dunbar or a supporter.

  • barriejohn

    I’m suspicious, as well!

  • Person223

    If Islamic ceremonies had been held you can be certain there would not have been a rule made against them in the first place. It’s not far fetched to imagine outcry if they weren’t allowed to use their prayer mats in the common room. Entire streets have been blocked off in Paris for just this purpose. Imagine if Christians did anything like that.

  • Person223

    If that were the case the owner of the property would have simply said we never implemented such a rule. Case closed.

  • Hermes Brookover

    i have to imagine that the banning of old women screeching into the sky to appease their tyrannical gawd would be a good thing. it would be horrible to have a common area that is there for the use of an entire community having to wait for preachy lady to finish up her sermon before you can go in there and watch game of thrones.

  • Karen the rock whisperer

    I have a hard time buying the story without some background information. Most USians are Christians, especially elderly ones. I can believe that the apartment complex management might have overreacted–or reacted just stupidly–to over-the-top behavior of some residents in the public spaces. But the people in the US who want to deny religious people the opportunity to express themselves in public might be very loud on social media, but they aren’t very large in number.

  • Brian Shanahan

    Your post supposes a true separation of church and state, which you are working very hard to destroy.

    The irony is that while I know I’m toast in the kind of theocracy you want, you’d be shortly after me into the KZ, simply because you’re not a real true christian in the eyes of the theocrat. Tiny religious difference will get punished as much as the big ones.

  • Brian Shanahan

    Or she placed it there. People like her are no strangers to manufacturing outrage.

  • barriejohn

    The woman’s a “Seventh-Day Adventist”. My Christian friends would have had nothing to do with her!

  • abb3w

    It’s a retirement community, probably mostly over 65. Demographically, that’s maybe 10% religiously unaffiliated. The odds seem poor of any resident being a Satanist. However, it may just be a matter of time.

  • abb3w

    The “exceptional occasions” seems likely to make that notion that legally problematic.

  • Norman Parron

    Most likely true, but it was just a thought experiment. One could substitute most anything for CoS…there are not many of anything else there either.

  • Michael658

    I hate to break this to them, but ‘god-given rights’ don’t exist. Any and all rights are provided by the Constitution, nothing else.

  • Kaia Rose

    Or could have been put up by another ticked off resident sick of her music and bible studies.

  • Kaia Rose

    When I read that, I immediately thought that she already could freely live out her faith. She already could use the social room like the other residents. But it sounds like she was doing stuff above and beyond what the others were doing and didn’t like being told to do it somewhere more private. Hopefully she doesn’t disturb the other residents, but it sounds too late for that.

    What don’t these people get about praying in private being the ‘right,’ biblical way to pray? As a kid, I asked my mom why we prayed in church since that wasn’t private. I also asked how I should open my closet door once I closed it because it only opens from the outside. Apparently, I took it too literally. Too bad these people who like making a spectacle of themselves can’t remember this.