AZ ChristianFined & Sentenced To 60 Days In Jail

What do city codes, building codes, zoning regulations and memebers of the Phoenix Fire Department have in common with Bible studies? What an interesting question. The answer is a mans home, raided by city officials, for having a Bible study in his living room.

This is the not the first time this has happened. Other reports of zoning regulations have stopped Bible studies within persons homes in other states as well.

Should have the private citizen just got the approval to have the Bible study or is this a violation of freedom of religion?

City officials claim that he’s running an operation that is reminiscent of a home church but without the required permits. And according to Fox’s Todd Starnes, Phoenix court documents show that he violated 67 codes. Unless the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants an emergency injunction, he will be jailed as early as next week.

Naturally, Salman believes the court’s findings amount to a crackdown on faith and religion. The city maintains that the penalties are legitimate based on the zoning laws he and his family have violated. However, Starnes was apparently unable to reach the Phoenix prosecutor’s office, the mayor’s office or code enforcement to obtain further comment.

“They’re cracking down on religious activities and religious use. They’re attacking what I, as a Christian, do in the privacy of my home,” he said in an interview with Starnes. “If I had people coming to my home on a regular basis for poker night or Monday Night Football, it would be permitted. But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes, that is when you have discrimination.”

The question remains, is this a case of religious discrimination or simply a man not following city zoning regulations? What are your thoughts?



  1. William Arwin says

    As to your questions, “freedom of religion” is not defined by the Constitution. The First Amendment actually says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof….” That is very clear legal prose while the phrase “freedom of religion” is NOT clear. Here, there is implicit evidence of persecution of a specific religion by using tertiary laws to inflict the persecution. It is subtle, it is twisted, and it is flat out wrong. Even if it is legal to punish this person under zoning laws, the motivation is clearly illegal even if there isn’t a written law for it. There are certain things you just don’t do and this is one of those things. The courts and our legal system are generally out of control – this is why we need to collectively stop voting idiots into positions of power. If you want to see real change, then vote for real people, not the corporate clone bobbleheads running right now.

    Now we don’t have the full story, so it might be justified punishment but given that the Christian religion is under direct attack around the world, it probably isn’t. More Christians have died in the last century than the previous 1900 years. Should it get special status? No. That would be illegal too. The protections afforded by the United States Constitution are very clear but it is limited protection – which is a very good thing.

    If the owner was bothering their neighbors with loud music, then it would be their responsibility to turn down the noise or install sound proofing materials in the home. This is the same principle that farmers use – if a farmer brings something onto their property (e.g. cattle) that could harm their neighboring farmer’s property (e.g. crops), it is the responsibility of the farmer to set up whatever is necessary (e.g. a fence) to keep it out of their neighbor’s property. There aren’t usually laws regarding this principle, it is just accepted behavior for farmers. This same principle, of course, applies everywhere else and we call this principle “common sense”, which, in turn, forms a stable society. Up until the last 20 years, we’ve been able to operate on “common sense” and not have to spell every law out in ridiculous detail.

    If the event took place in the home regularly and 50 people showed up every week, that would mean the street would be clogged with cars. I can see that as a problem as well. But the neighborly thing to do would be to go get a dedicated space for the event or have everyone carpool. That pesky thing called “common sense” says the neighbors should have had good, peaceful discussions to cover options before getting the courts involved. Again, lack of information on how big this event was. But let’s say only 10 people showed up. That’s fairly reasonable but 30 is pushing it. You can have 30 people over maybe once every six months and most neighbors will let it slide because it is rare. But do that every week and it gets to be a big hassle/nuisance even for those attending the study.

    The point is that this appears, at least on the surface, to be a violation of what is “right and good” possibly induced by a hateful, spiteful neighbor next door who decided to do something evil. We assume this to be the case because of similar sorts of things happening elsewhere in the country. But we, again, don’t have enough information to say for sure. Maybe instead of having just a Bible study, invite the neighbors over for a barbeque afterwards. Sort of a bribery and appeasement thing. I don’t know of anyone who can say “no” to free barbeque and free food.

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