Wash. State Govt Denies Baptism Permit in Public Park; Church May Sue

By:  Raven Clabough
08/18/2011
       
Wash. State Govt Denies Baptism Permit in Public Park; Church May Sue

The Reality Church in Olympia, Washington is considering filing suit against the state government for denying its request to perform a baptism in a public park.

Over the weekend, the church had hoped to use Heritage Park, a public park near the state Capitol, for a baptism ceremony and a barbecue. So as not to use the park's 260-acre manmade lake to conduct the baptisms, they planned to use a portable baptistry; but their request was denied. The church is now examining its legal options to determine whether the state has violated its own constitution.

 

The Reality Church in Olympia, Washington is considering filing suit against the state government for denying its request to perform a baptism in a public park.

Over the weekend, the church had hoped to use Heritage Park (pictured), a public park near the state Capitol, for a baptism ceremony and a barbecue. So as not to use the park's 260-acre manmade lake to conduct the baptisms, they planned to use a portable baptistry; but their request was denied. The church is now examining its legal options to determine whether the state has violated its own constitution.

A spokesman for the Washington state government, Steve Valandra, explained the reason for the denial:

We approved their permit for the barbecue, but our state constitution does not allow public grounds or funds to be used for religious ceremonies so we got advice from our attorney general’s office and we denied their permit for the baptism.

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