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You Have to Be a Practicing Christian to Own a Home in This Idyllic Michigan Town

Bay View, a small upscale community in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, just outside of Petoskey, has been making headlines due to a lawsuit against its unusual ownership laws, which prohibit non-Christian from buying or even inheriting a home there.

What started out as a modest camping ground for Methodist families, over 140 years ago, has blossomed into one of the most beautiful resort communities in the United States. Bay View was named one of the 12 “Prettiest Painted Places” in the U.S., for its 444 Victorian-era cottages, fondly called ‘gingerbread houses’, and it is often referred to as a summer vacation paradise. However, it’s not a paradise open to all, at least not if you actually want to own property here, as according to a law dating back to the 1940s only practicing Christians are allowed to buy houses, or even inherit them.

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