Group won’t appeal ruling on churches in Detroit cleanup

The American Atheists Inc. group said today it would not appeal a ruling against its attempt to bar Detroit from including churches in a general downtown cleanup program.

The New Jersey-based group had filed a suit in federal court after the city’s Downtown Development Authority created a façade improvement program to fix up downtown prior to Super Bowl XL in 2006. About 100 local property owners participated in the matching grant program, including three downtown churches.

The atheist organization lost most of its case on the local level, and two weeks ago, the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals threw out its appeal entirely. The court said the façade improvement grants were no different than extended fire protection or sewer lines to a church
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