Located in the northwestern part of Michigan’s lower peninsula, the village of Bay View has a population of under 150 people. Founded in 1875, the unincorporated community restricted the right of property ownership and occupancy to white Christians until 1959. A 1942 resolution stated, “No person shall be accepted as a member of this association or be allowed to rent or lease property or a room, for longer than a period of one day, unless such person is of the white race and a Christian who must provide acceptable and good recommendations.”
While the racial restriction has long been lifted, the requirement of being a practicing Christian stands to this day. In 2013, residents voted on a proposal to lift the restriction, which was defeated, receiving only 51.9% rather than the required two-thirds vote.
Now this white Christian village, like so many places that remain white and Christian, is seeing its heritage under attack. Former and even current members of the community are taking the Bay View Homeowners’ Association to court for unconstitutional religious discrimination.
Bay View is in the right. Homogeneous Christian societies are the healthiest. The biblical restriction on foreigners owning property in Israel (see Leviticus 25:23-25) aided the maintenance of national religiosity and homogeneity – for the glory of God (Acts 17:26-27).