Christian Scientists Win Right To Demolish ‘Ugly’ Church

A Christian Science congregation has received the go-ahead from city officials to raze what some consider the “ugliest church” in Washington, D.C.

Officials of the Third Church of Christ, Scientist have wanted to tear down their bunker-like building, claiming it is impractical and too expensive to maintain. But the D.C. Historic Preservation Board granted the almost-windowless church landmark status and prevented its demolition.

Ending this long fight between the church and preservationists, Harriet Tregoning, director of the city’s office of planning and Mayor Adrian Fenty’s agent for historic preservation, ruled that forcing the congregation to maintain the building “would result in the inevitable demise of the Third Church as a downtown congregation” and would violate the spirit of the landmarking law.

She did not address the church’s First Amendment freedom of religion claims in making this decision.