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Church Fights Cypress: Good Versus Evil?

June 09, 2002

Re "Faith Goes Undiminished in Quest for a New Church," June 3:

I have been fascinated by the situation in Cypress. The Cottonwood Christian Church wants to build a huge cathedral for thousands of worshippers, and the city desires a revenue-producing retail center. All I keep hearing from the pro-Cottonwood people is how this nation was founded on religious freedom, and that it is God's will for this cathedral to be built, even if most Cypress residents don't want it. The supporters continually tell me it's anti-Christian to be against the church.

What I wonder is if these Christians would feel the same way if it were going to be the Cottonwood Islamic Center and bring thousands of Muslims from all over Southern California to Cypress. Somehow I doubt their devotion to religious freedom would be as strong.

Darlene Lee

Los Alamitos


The biggest tragedy in the debate is that Cypress has prevented Cottonwood Christian Center from obtaining fair-market value for its land. Perhaps the city did advise the church it would not rezone the land for a religious facility, and perhaps church leaders did not listen. But offering $14.6 million for land that is surely worth more is grand larceny.

If this land is so valuable, as the City Council says, why is the city offering only $18.62 per square foot? The going rate for less-desirable vacant land in Cypress is $23 to $25 per square foot. Why would Costco or anyone else negotiate in good faith to buy the land if they know that the city will seize it for far less than market value?

Timothy Chia

Rancho Santa Margarita


As a Christian pastor, I understand the frustration that the congregation of Cottonwood Christian Center feels toward Cypress. But their frustration should at least in part be directed toward their church leadership. It is obvious that Cottonwood Christian Center did not do its homework. Cities have the right to develop themselves as they see fit.

If they were trying to tear down a church, that would be a different story, and I would defend that church's right to continue to stand. It is wrong to demonize the Cypress City Council, because this is not a good-versus-evil fight.

This just may be poor judgment on the part of church leaders who acted hastily.

Pastor Stephen De Ruse

My Father's House

Christian Center

La Mirada


I am aghast. Who gave Cottonwood the right to declare that this battle over a piece of parking lot is a matter of "good versus evil"? Satan has taken the form of the Cypress City Council? I thought this was a Christian church, but the words and actions of the church haven't been in keeping with the Christian faith. Neither has their smear campaign, their knocking on doors and preaching to the public and the City Council.

Cypress residents are tired of being harassed and bad-mouthed by this mega-church that is trying to bully its way into Cypress. This issue really is black and white. The city, in order to keep services the way they are--and the way citizens expect them to be--needs tax revenue. To get that tax revenue, one of two things needs to happen: Cottonwood agrees to pay taxes, or a big-box retailer is built.

Kenna Jung



I am not a Cypress resident or a member of the Cottonwood Christian Center, but I am a U.S. citizen who cherishes all that our country stands for. On that basis I find the behavior of the Cypress City Council reprehensible. We ought to be models of good government for the young people who will one day be leaders. I suggest that the city leaders take time out to consider their decisions. Their image would improve if they did what was correct rather than what is deemed expedient.

Costco, meanwhile, is guilty by its silence. Let's show some courage.

Casey Miller



The Cypress City Council justifies its decision to seize land from the Cottonwood Christian Center by saying "the city depends on sales-tax revenue." That isn't much different from a bank robber who pleads innocent because he needed the money.

We who value liberty will speak by refusing to do business in Cypress and with Costco. I do hope Costco realizes why I did not renew my membership last month.

Rick Root


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