Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, has written a few of his columns (here, here) on the thoughts, issues, and hopes surrounding the Powell Butte property acquired by the diocese for a retreat center. This land is zoned EFU, meaning Exclusive Farm Use. Under Oregon zoning law:
215.213. (1) In counties that have adopted marginal lands provisions under ORS 197.247 (1991 Edition), the following uses may be established in any area zoned for exclusive farm use:Thus, loosely, the state defers to the fact that the US constitution guarantees to religion the right to conduct it's business in the place and manner of choosing.
(b) Churches and cemeteries in conjunction with churches.
What is humorous in a sick way is that for all the verbiage we have heard spilled that "Church is more than/not just the building," here we have a case where pseudo-environmentalist lobbies are attempting to tell the Church that she is nothing but the building, simply because this alone is the word which appears in the code! If I see this correctly, the lawless who do not respect the letter of the law are insisting that the letter of the law does not mean what it means and that we must be held to their lawless interpretation, actual interpretation and precedent notwithstanding.
Please pray for Bp. Vasa's intention.