Prince George's County ordered to explain opposition to church

LAUREL, Md. (AP) - A federal judge is ordering the Prince George's County Council to explain its continued opposition to a proposed church in Laurel.

U.S. District Judge Roger Titus threatened on Friday to hold the council in contempt for rejecting a recent application from a Seventh-day Adventist congregation that's trying to build a new church. A federal jury had earlier ordered the county to pay damages to the church for religious discrimination.

An appeals court three years ago upheld a $3.7 million verdict.

Titus has ordered the council to respond by August 4, and has set a hearing for September 1. He says there's reason to think the county council is violating the court's November 2008 order.

Council spokeswoman Karen Campbell declined to comment to The Washington Post because the case is pending.