DC Church Claims Bike Lanes Violate Religious Freedom


Citi Bike

As the number of bicycle commuters continues to skyrocket, major cities from Denver and Chicago to New York and Miami are embracing bike lanes as a safe, cost-effective way to reduce air pollution and improve the health and safety of their residents. The District of Columbia, our nation’s capitol, is very much the same … except for one local church that’s trying to ruin it for everybody by claiming a newly-proposed bike lane will violate its congregation’s religious freedoms.


Calling itself the “United House of Prayer”, the church is located in the 600 block of M Street NW. The “problem” is that three of the four possible bike lane routes would run along at least parts of Sixth Street NW between Florida and Constitution avenues NW, meaning that members of the United House of Prayer (UHP) congregation would have to park elsewhere and could, potentially, be forced to walk a few blocks to practice their faith. The takeaway here is that, while wandering for forty days in desert without food or water might be fine for someone like Jesus or Moses, it seems the people of the UHP are above such nonsense.


That seems to be what the church’s attorney is saying, anyway, citing that the proposed changes to the church’s parking situation “would place an extreme burden on the free exercise of religion by United House of Prayer congregants,” and that the changes were “unsupportable, unrealistic and particularly problematic for traffic and parking.”

It sounds to me like the only free exercise the UHP congregation is worried about is the kind that involves fresh air and sunshine- but that’s none of my business.

You can take a look at the four DC proposals for new bike lanes that have the United House of Prayer calling in the lawyers, below, then let us know what you think of the church’s take on the new bike lanes and its right to free exercise in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Have fun!


Proposed Washington DC Bike Lanes





Source | Images: DDOT, via Washington Post; Citibike.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

  • Marcel

    Religious people can’t ride bikes? Strange that the religious freedom argument is used so widely yet I think that it’s the opposite: religion is against our freedoms.

    • You think they’re well-intentioned?

      • Marcel

        I’m not sure… I just assumed religion is about being good to the rest of the world but the reality is quite different.

        • Sadly.

        • Phoghat

          Love your neighbor as you love yourself, unless of course he interferes with your convenience

  • smartacus

    i’d be claiming violation of religious freedom too if anything threatened the free flow of cash money to my pockets

    • Ouch.

      • Phoghat

        truth hurts sometimes

  • Sandra Ska Fandra

    oh my gosh!! I’m a Spanish religious and I have to say that it doesn’t make any sense for me!

    • Most Spaniards I know aren’t afraid to walk a few blocks, though. 🙂