Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, Allege Violation of Religious Freedom Restoration Act
The Adorers of the Blood of Christ, U.S. Region, an order of Catholic sisters with regional offices in St. Louis, filed a complaint today, July 14, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, seeking an injunction to stop a pipeline from running through their property in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
The Adorers, whose religious practice includes protecting and preserving creation, which they believe is a revelation of God, allege that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and its Commissioner, Cheryl La Fleur, have violated a federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, by forcing the Adorers to use their land to accommodate a fossil fuel pipeline. Such use is antithetical to the Adorers’ deeply held religious beliefs.
The Adorers allege that FERC’s action places a substantial burden on their exercise of religion by taking their land, which they want to protect and preserve as part of their faith, and forces the Adorers to use their land in a manner and for a purpose they believe is harmful to the earth.
Today’s filing asks the court to issue an injunction stopping the pipeline from running through the Adorers’ property.
The Adorers practice their deeply held religious convictions in their day-to-day actions in a number of ways, including compassionate acts of service to others, educating and addressing issues of social and environmental justice, and honoring Earth as a gift of beauty and sustenance for future generations. The issues of social and environmental justice include current and future impacts on Earth, such as climate change, caused by use of fossil fuels.
Their religious beliefs about the environment are embedded in a Land Ethic they adopted in 2005, which proclaims the sacredness of all creation.
The Sisters remain opposed to construction of a natural gas pipeline underneath a strip of land they own in West Hempfield Township, Lancaster County, Penn.