Church Claims USA Interfered With Baptisms

     LAS VEGAS (CN) – A church sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, claiming it rerouted a stream that ran through church property, stripping it of its ability to perform baptisms in the creek.
     Ministerio Roca Solida (Solid Rock Ministry) sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Federal Court.
     Victor Fuentes founded the church after buying 40 acres of land in the Amargosa Valley near Pahrump in 2006.
     A desert stream ran through the private land, in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, which plaintiffs used as a “baptismal stream” and for recreation at the church camp.
     But in November 2010, the federal government “diverted said water completely around the borders of the plaintiff’s forty acre parcel,” depriving the church of its water rights and “interfer(ing) with its exercise of baptisms and religious prayer and meditation,” according to the complaint.
     The church claims the diversion was poorly done, and that on the first day of “measurable, post-diversion rainfall, the newly diverted water overflowed the … channels and flooded portions of the forty acre parcel as it made its way back to its historical path.”
     The church estimates it suffered $86,639 in damages to land, structures, animals and campgrounds.
     It wants the feds to reroute the stream to its historical path, and $86,639 for violation of property rights, negligence and unconstitutional taking of its property.
     The church is represented by Joseph Becker with the NPRI Center for Justice and Constitutional Litigation, of Reno.

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