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4th Circuit upholds housing project combined with church

A federal appeals court has affirmed approval of a government-backed project where an Arlington church shares space with subsidized apartments in a single 10-story building.

In a Dec. 23 opinion, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the constitutional challenge of Arlington resident Peter Glassman who said the project violated the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Constitution and corresponding provisions of the Virginia constitution.

“We can find no factual allegations that support a claim that the County sought to advance the First Baptist Church’s faith, to spread the message of the First Baptist Church, or to become entangled in its religious affairs. Rather, the County’s only interest was to accomplish the secular end of having affordable housing constructed in a highly urban area of Arlington County,” wrote Judge Paul Niemeyer for the panel.

-By Peter Vieth

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