A civil rights complaint has been filed against a Grand Rapids woman who posted an advertisement at her church last July seeking a Christian roommate.

"The statement "expresses an illegal preference for a Christian roommate, thus excluding people of other faiths," according to the complaint filed by the Fair Housing  Center of West Michigan.


"It's a violation to make, print or publish a discriminatory statement," Executive Director Nancy Haynes told Fox News. "There are no exemptions to that."

Haynes said the unnamed 31-year-old woman's alleged violation was turned over to the Michigan Department of  Civil Rights. Depending on the outcome of her case, the Christian woman could face several hundreds of dollars in fines and "fair housing training so it doesn't happen again."

"This is outrageous," said attorney Joel Oster, with the Alliance Defense Fund. His organization is representing the woman free of charge. "Clearly this woman as a right to pick and choose who she wants to live with."

Oster said he's sent a letter to the state asking them to dismiss the case as groundless.

Christians shouldn't live in fear of being punished by the government for being Christians," he said. "It is completely absurd to try to penalize a single Christian woman for privately seeking a Christian roommate at church--an obviously legal and constitutionally protected activity,"

But Haynes said they plan on pursuing the matter.

"We want to make sure it doesn't happen again," she said.

The person who filed the initial complaint apparently saw the ad on the church bulletin board.

It included the words, "Christian roommate wanted" along with her contact information. Had the ad not included the word "Christian,' she said it would not have been illegal.

"If you read it and you were not Christian, would you not feel welcome to rent there?" Haynes asked.

But isn't that the point?

And that, said Haynes, is discrimination.

Oster said he hopes the case will eventually be dropped.

"The First Amendment guarantees us Freedom of Religion," he said. "And we have the right to live with someone of the same faith. The Michigan Department of Civil  Rights is denying her rights by pursuing this complaint."

Todd Starnes is a Fox News Radio reporter. His culture war stories are featured regularly on Fox Nation and Fox News Channel. Be sure to get your advance copy of his book on the culture war, "Dispatches From Bitter America."