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CST: 20/05/2019 12:01:15   

Walthill Congregation Faces Dangerous Acts of Vandalism As Lawsuit Filed Against Nebraska Village Continues

26 Days ago

Decisions by Village Board to deny use of property for a local congregation led to federal lawsuit claiming religious discrimination

WALTHILL, Neb., April 23, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Members of Walthill, Nebraska church Light of the World Gospel Ministries have recently experienced violent acts endangering church members and damaging property. The violence may be related to a lawsuit filed by the congregation against the Village of Walthill in July 2018. The lawsuit, filed with the assistance of First Liberty Institute and Minneapolis Attorney Sam Diehl, challenges Walthill’s refusal to allow the church to construct a new building in the Village.

“Acts of vandalism against any church in any community must be condemned,” said Roger Byron, Senior Counsel for First Liberty Institute. “Unfortunately, some may see the Village’s opposition to Light of the World as permission for vandalism.  Regardless of the motivation, the violence must stop.”

“Members of Light of the World just want to live in peace, worship, and serve our community,” said Paul Malcomson, Light of the World’s Pastor. “With several attacks in recent weeks, hopefully law enforcement and the Village will help protect church members, and bring the perpetrators to justice.”

On Tuesday, April 16, bricks were thrown from a nearby building at congregants leaving a service and at their vehicles, damaging two vehicles. Two youths were taken into custody by local law enforcement and were turned over to tribal police. However, vandalism continued the next evening when a church youth group member’s windshield was smashed and the car scuffed and dented. The church’s attorney contacted the Village’s attorney to request assistance with the attacks and related issues. Despite acknowledging the correspondence, the Village did not offer any help.

The violence last week followed an earlier Sunday when congregants leaving a worship service found a member’s truck hood had been dented in during the service. Then, after an evening service, debris was thrown, apparently from a derelict building near the church, toward cars parked in front of the church. The next night, church members came out of a youth meeting and a widowed church member with 5 children found her car windshield smashed.

For more on this case, visit FirstLiberty.org/LOTW

About First Liberty Institute
First Liberty Institute is the largest legal organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to defending religious freedom for all Americans.

To arrange an interview, contact Lacey McNiel at media@firstliberty.org or by calling 972-941-4453.

Contact: Lacey McNiel, media@firstliberty.org
Direct: 972-941-4453

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/5a4c8b35-fae6-4ac1-8648-8e515c1740a6

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