According to an article in the Arizona Republic, Arizona lawmakers passed a law earlier this year "that prohibits cities and towns from using zoning codes and land-use rules to restrict where religious facilities such as churches, mosques or synagogues can locate." In other words, local governments in Arizona now have less control over where religious buildings can be placed. Given that part of the national debate raging over plans for an Islamic center to be built within blocks of the old World Trade Center site in New York City has focused on whether the government should have any sway on where religious buildings can be constructed on privately-owned land, do you think that any government — whether it's municipal, state or federal — should have the power to restrict the location of religious buildings?
Having property — a physical place to provide religious services — is essential to religious freedom. Congress passed legislation in 2000 protecting religious organizations, and pointing out how easily zoning laws can be subverted to discriminate against new, small or unfamiliar religious groups.