A legal battle between government officials in upstate New York city and a local Presbyterian Church has created a new challenge to religious freedom.

The city of Auburn, N.Y., served pastor Eileen Winter with a zoning violation in July for hosting a youth glee camp inside a historic church-owned mansion adjacent to the First Presbyterian Church.

Case Mansion, home to the three-week musical theater camp, is located in a residential zoning district. Because campers must pay a minimal fee to attend the camp, city officials claim the church is conducting commercial business on its property.

Hiram Sasser, director of litigation for the Liberty Institute, has vowed to defend the church in the legal matter. Sasser and Winter appeared on Fox News’ “Huckabee” Saturday to discuss the situation and advise ministries nationwide of the potential implications if the city succeeds in closing the camp.

“City government should never be censoring out or somehow using their zoning laws to zone out community service,” said Sasser, adding that “we’re seeing too much of this throughout the country where city officials are using laws to somehow bully churches into submission.”

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