On July 30, 2004, the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) filed a federal civil rights lawsuit to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The case was made against the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors and several library officials.
The ADF brought the case against the California library systm for barring Christian ministries from reserving and using public meeting room for religious purposes.
Joshua Carden, counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund said, “The library flagrantly violated the ministry’s constitutional rights. It’s unbelievable that, after years of equal access litigation in this country, a library would exclude Christians from a public forum.”
The incident happened when a Christian outreach ministry based in Sacramento named Faith Center Church Evangelistic Ministries showed up to use the reserved public meeting room of a local library in Antioch. After the meeting, two staff members from the library told the leader of the group that religious groups were not allowed to use the room since library room are not allowed to be used for religious purposes.
Hopkins, the leader of the group, contacted the Christian Law Association (CLA), which subsequently wrote a letter to the library informing them of Faith Center’s rights. The case was transferred to the ADF after the library failed to respond to the situation.
“We are asking the court to declare the library’s policy unconstitutional and prevent the library from continuing to enforce it,” Carden said. “A place that exists as a public repository of ideas is strangely hypocritical, as well as acting outside the law, when it attempts to be the ‘thought police’ of its patrons.”