FREDERICKSBURG, Va. — An aged abbot who had been administering Bible studies in the association allowance of an accommodation circuitous in Virginia has filed a complaint with the U.S. Administration of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as he has been ordered to cease captivation the offerings in the architecture beneath blackmail of eviction.
According to the complaint, Ken Hauge and his wife, who alive at The Evergreens at Smith Run in Fredericksburg, accustomed a “Notice to Cure Default or Quit” surrounding complaints in attention to the Bible studies, as able-bodied as the examination of account films in the club room.
“Landlord has accustomed a alternation of complaints over the aftermost several months apropos your conduct at the community,” it read. “Specifically, freeholder has abstruse that you accept hosted Bible abstraction classes in the club allowance and accept afresh opened up these Bible abstraction classes to non-residents of the community.”
“Landlord has accustomed complaints from added association that back they attack to use the club allowance while you are hosting a Bible abstraction class, they are actuality ‘harassed’ and pressured to accompany the Bible abstraction class, authoritative them feel so afflictive that they leave the club allowance to abstain confrontation,” the apprehension claimed.
It additionally declared that Hauge’s presentation of a “religious” blur anniversary Sunday night in the club room, followed by a accumulation altercation about the movie, has resulted in agnate complaints. Some association reportedly complained that Hauge was application the allowance for counseling sessions for both tenants and non-residents, and that it prevented them from application the breadth for activities that they had ahead scheduled.
“[M]ultiple association accept declared to freeholder that they feel afflictive application the club allowance due to the abundance of religious activities and the interactions with you and your guests (both association and non-residents) back the accusatory association attack to use the club room,” the apprehension outlined.
It acicular to assorted rules about the community, such as that “conducting any affectionate of business” in the architecture is prohibited, and that tenants cannot afflict the “comfort” or “convenience” of others. The apprehension added provided a account of contest that are adequate at the Evergreens, such as altogether parties, bells receptions, buffet dinners and amusing activities—none of which included Bible studies.
Under blackmail of eviction, the apprehension accepted that Hauge abide a appeal anatomy and drop in beforehand of any activity to acquiesce for time to actuate whether that accident is permissible, but additionally brash that Bible studies and “religious” cine screenings will not be allowed, classifying them as business operations.
“[C]ease administering any business operations in the accommodation and the association (including, afterwards limitation, the club room) added than especially acceptable beneath your lease. Bible abstraction class, religious cine screenings and counselings sessions are not acceptable ‘at home’ business operations, nor acceptable activities in the club room,” the apprehension read.
The Hauges abjure the allegations and accept retained representation from the First Liberty Institute, which afterwards autograph a letter to the owners of The Evergreens, filed a academic complaint with the federal Administration of Housing and Urban Development. The Hauges altercate that the Bible abstraction was alone for association and was never accessible to the public, and that any claims they pressured others to accompany are false.
They accompaniment that, conversely, they were the ones who endured aggravation from some agitated association who objected to the gathering.
“For example, this alone has confronted Hauge in the hallway and subjected him to abusive rants apropos the Bible study. Similarly, some association have attempted to agitate Bible abstraction affairs by causing babble in the association room,” the complaint reads.
“Other Bible study attendees accept accustomed calumniating comments apropos their religious behavior while encountering these individuals in the hallways. Bible Abstraction attendees acquainted abashed by this behavior, anxious that they ability analogously be confronted in the alley and subjected to profane rants and calumniating comments,” it states.
The Hauges additionally agenda that they did go through the able channels to administer for permission, but were again told to alarm the accident a “book review” and not a Bible study, and afterwards that amount was resolved, the alms was placed on the association agenda by staff.
The academic complaint additionally contends that the assorted films that are actuality beheld on Sunday evenings by a scattering of association cannot be advised religious, as they are accepted documentaries or travelogues, and any acknowledgment of adoration is incidental.
“[T]he apprehension mischaracterizes Hauge and added residents’ addiction of watching a documentary or travelogue in the association allowance as ‘religious cine screening,’ which it also considers a banned business activity. The scattering of association who accumulate to watch the programs on Sunday night do so informally, acquisitive artlessly to allotment a accidental activity with others in adjustment to fill an contrarily abandoned evening,” it states.
The Hauges added altercate that they accept never captivated any counseling sessions admitting the allegations in the notice. And while they accept held mid-week Bible studies for association and accept offered documentaries in the club allowance on Sunday nights, neither of those contest can be advised business activity.
“Primarily, the apprehension fabricates a charter abuse by mischaracterizing Hauge’s Bible abstraction and religious practice as a business activity banned in either the association allowance or the apartment. Hauge may be a abbot by profession, but he led the Bible study in his claimed accommodation and on his own time,” the complaint reads. “Such studies are a accepted convenance amid Christians, who generally accumulate alfresco of their churches to abstraction the Bible and advance friendships in their additional time.”
The filing argues that while the apprehension suggests that the Bible abstraction was unauthorized, The Evergreens “have been acquainted of the Bible abstraction for about a year and a half, alike acknowledging its association allowance use and listing it on the citizen agenda for a time.”
The Hauges accept that administration at The Evergreens is rather alert to adverse choir of complaint afterwards attractive into whether there is any authority to the claims, and are themselves unfairly targeting the convenance of adoration as its new association allowance activity bans any use for “religious casework or for added religious purposes.”
“For abhorrence of accident their home, the Hauges complied with the apprehension and activity by ceasing to authority Bible abstraction affairs awaiting resolution of this matter. We respectfully appeal that the administration investigate … and booty all adapted action,” the letter reads.
“It is both base and actionable to abuse aged association with boot artlessly for captivation a Bible study,” Lea Patterson, accessory admonition for First Liberty Institute, said in a columnist release. “Treating association unequally artlessly out of abhorrence to adoration violates federal law and taints Virginia’s continued history of religious freedom.”
The Association Realty Company, which owns The Evergreens, told reporters afterward the Hauge’s filing that the abbot and his wife accept not “been denied the appropriate to convenance their adoration in their apartment, nor accept any added of the residents.”
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