An elderly couple in Virginia sued the owners of a senior apartment complex, claiming they were kicked out for holding weekly Bible study classes.
The federal lawsuit, filed in Richmond, Virginia, alleges housing discrimination against Community Realty, which operates the Evergreens at Smith Run complex in Fredericksburg.
Kenneth Hauge, a retired Lutheran minister, and his wife, Liv, said they held their classes in the complex’s community hall and were threatened with eviction if they didn’t stop.
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âThe management company’s hostility to religious residents violates federal law and taints Virginia’s long history of religious freedom,â said Lea Patterson, associate attorney with the First Liberty Institute, who filed the lawsuit. “We are asking the court to hold the management company accountable for violating the Hauge’s right to exercise faith in their home and to ensure that no other resident has to endure what the Hauge have gone through. “
The couple, who had lived at the facility since 2017, say management discriminated against them by first prohibiting everyone from saying grace before their meal and then banning them from hosting the Bible study.
Community Realty cited complaints from other residents who alleged the couple, both in their 80s, harassed people and pressured them into joining the Bible study. The company did not immediately respond to Fox News phone calls for comment.
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Hauge, in an interview with WTTG, a Fox subsidiary in Washington, DC, said it was a big misunderstanding.
âIt was a mixed group. Protestants of all stripes and Roman Catholics and I don’t know who else. We didn’t insist on that. It was open to anyone who wanted to participate and was the welcome to do so, “he said. noted.
First Liberty said it asked the US Department of Housing and Urban Development to investigate whether Community Realty practiced religious discrimination.
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Hauge said his wife tried to work things out with the management company, but her efforts were unsuccessful.
âIt seems so obvious to me why people should be free to express their core beliefs, their core understanding of philosophy, theology and culture without any limitations,â said Kenneth Hauge. “I think this right is guaranteed to us by law and I think that is reason enough to defend our position.”