Religious rights are enshrined in the Constitution. Yes. But. According to some lawmakers those rights, that Constitution, weren't good enough to protect the interests of organised religion in America. So in 2000, Congress was persuaded to pass the Religious Land Use and Institutionalised Persons Act (RLUIPA)*. Despite promises made that RLUIPA would be reviewed in light of its impact three years on, no such review has taken place nor are there plans to do so more than 10 years later.
In the absence of the promised Congressional Review, AMERICA'S HOLY WAR, a one-hour documentary, investigates the experience of RLUIPA in Rockland County's Town of Ramapo. A semi-rural community only 20 miles north of New York City where there is a large religious community, a desperate need for housing, and a cluster of RLUIPA lawsuits. This community's story is not unique. It reflects what's happening in communities across the country.
AMERICA'S HOLY WAR considers: Was RLUIPA necessary? Has it achieved what lawmakers intended? What are the social and environmental consequences of a Statute which, in practice, subjugates all planning and environmental laws on the books? In the absence of and unclear definitions of key terms therein, what, exactly, did lawmakers mean by this?:
* RLUIPA: 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, assemly, or institution, is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest.
For more information about AMERICA'S HOLY WAR - contact: firstname.lastname@example.org