SEP 22 1992 The Honorable Bob Dole United States Senator 444 S.E.

Quincy Topeka, Kansas 66683 Dear Senator Dole: This letter is in response to your inquiry on behalf of your constituent, Frank Buehler, Chairman of the Claflin United Methodist Church Administrative Council. Mr. Buehler asks about the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to the Church. The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to provide technical assistance to individuals and entities that are subject to the Act. Therefore, this letter provides informal guidance to assist you in responding to your constituent. However, this technical assistance does not constitute a legal interpretation by the Department and it is not binding on the Department. Section 307 of the ADA specifically provides that religious organizations and entities controlled by religious organizations are not subject to the provisions of the ADA. Thus, the Claflin United Methodist Church is not required to make improvements increasing accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Further, any improvements the Church voluntarily chooses to make would not need to comply with ADA standards. However, nonreligious entities may be subject to title III if they conduct activities in the Church facilities. Enclosed are the Department's Title III Technical Assistance Manual and the Department's implementing regulation for further guidance. A discussion of the religious exemption may be found on pages 4-5 of the Technical Assistance Manual and page 35,554 of the regulation. cc: Records Chrono Wodatch Magagna Foran McDowney FOIA Friedlander:udd:foran:dolecongressional

-2For information regarding voluntary measures by religious organizations to improve access for persons with disabilities, you may wish to direct Mr. Buehler's attention to a handbook published by the National Organization on Disability entitled "That All May Worship: An Interfaith Welcome to People with Disabilities." A copy of the handbook can be obtained by writing: National Organization on Disability, Religion and Disability Program, 910 16th Street, N.W. Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20006. I hope this information is helpful in responding to your constituent. Sincerely, James P. Turner Acting Assistant Attorney General Civil Rights Division Enclosures (2)

FRANK BUEHLER P.O. BOX 317 CLAFLIN, KANSAS 67525 JULY 25, 1992 Senator Bob Dole 141 Hart Senate Office Bldg. Washington, D. C. 20510 Dear Bob: The Claflin United Methodist Church anticipates making some improvements relative to accessibility for those who may have physical handicaps. One of the people who sell the equipment we are looking at tells us that we will at some point in time need to comply with Federal mandates pertaining to access for the handicapped. In order to help us reach a decision on what equipment to install, we would like to know if there is in fact some federal requirement, and if so, to what extent would it apply to a Church building that is used exclusively for worship purposes, as opposed to a facility that is rented or made available for public use. Could you ask one of your staff to research this problem and inform me of your determination? Since we are currently involved in. this consideration, a quick response would expedite our ability to proceed. Claire and I are both doing well and we look forward to seeing and working for you in the upcoming campaign. With Best Regards Frank Buehler, Chairman Claflin United Methodist Church Administrative Council