One of the few exceptions made in the Fair Housing Act was that of religious organizations and private clubs and non-profit organizations associated with religious organizations. The federal government allows these groups to limit the sale, rental or occupancy of dwellings they own for anything other than commercial purposes. This allows these groups to give preference to members of the same religion over other applicants. The only way this right can be taken away is if the club or religion limits its membership on account of race, color or national origin. Private clubs that aren't open to the public but which are not associated with a religious organization are given the same privilege. For more information about religious or private club exemptions, contact a real estate lawyer in your area.