Florida condo residents file complaint after Bible study, Christian music ban

The residents of a private condominium in Florida filed a Fair Housing complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development after its board passed a resolution banning Bible studies and Christian music in its community.

(REUTERS/Brian Snyder)A residential condominium for seniors in Florida has banned Bible studies and Christian music.

A "religious cleansing" at the Cambridge House in Port Charlotte, Florida, soon followed the passing of the resolution and saw the removal of door crosses, a courtyard angel fountain and a St. Francis of Assisi statue, according to reports. A sign declaring the banning of Christian music was also placed on the organ found at the condo's common area for the information of its residents.

Resident Donna Dunbar, who works as a Seventh Day Adventist lay minister, received a letter from the condominium's management that prohibited her from holding Bible studies at the Cambridge House's social room effective Feb. 16. Dunbar had held the sessions once a week with a group of ladies from her church. The other residents use the social room for watching movies or card games several times a week on other nights.

The management had previously asked Dunbar to obtain insurance if she and her group wanted to continue using the room, which she immediately did. She, however, still received the cease and desist letter from Gateway Management.

The complaint concerning Dunbar's situation was filed with the housing authority, addressed to Sec. Ben Carson, with the help of the First Liberty Institute and Greenberg Traurig. The complainant asked the HUD to investigate Cambridge House and take action over its discrimination.

The complaint alleged, "The Cambridge House Resolution, both in text and in application, is discriminatory and violates the Fair Housing Act because it prohibits Mrs. Dunbar and other Christian residents from accessing common condominium areas for any religious activity, while allowing other residents to use those same facilities for similar non-secular purposes."

Since the ban, the minister has been holding her weekly sessions at her own unit, which was not big enough to meet a dozen attendees.