Saturday, June 6, 2009

NEWSFLASH - Christians Complain About Having to Obey the Law!

From the wonderful NoGodBlog:

May 28th, 2009

SAN DIEGO — A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold Bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

That’s right, a house can’t be used as a church. It’s against zoning laws.

Broyles said, “The county asked, ‘Do you have a regular meeting in your home?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say amen?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you pray?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say praise the Lord?’ ‘Yes.’”

Does anyone actually believe this conversation happened? I’m thinking it’s at least a partial lie. When was the last time a nonChristian said “Do you praise the Lord”?

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed “unlawful use of land” and told them to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit” — a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Right. That’s the law. Same as everyone else.

Broyles said his clients have asked to stay anonymous until they give the county a demand letter that states by enforcing this regulation the county is violating their First Amendment right to freely exercise their religion.

Broyles also said this case has broader implications.

“If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?” Broyles asked.

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10-15 cars parked on my street every Sunday morning affects neighbors a lot more than a 1-time tupperware party. Come on. The law is the law, and this couple is simply trying to use religion to shield themselves from breaking it. They want to avoid paying their fees. They want, essentially, a free ride at the expense of their neighbors because they are Christian.

But business is business, and this pastor needs a permit just like everyone else. THIS IS THE REASON THERE ARE ZONING LAWS! Businesses in residential townships hurt property values and create burden for the neighbors by increasing noise and traffic. Somehow, this is not addressed in the article.

This isn’t a “they won’t let me pray” thing, it’s a “they won’t let me treat my residence like it’s zoned for commercial use” thing. This whole persecution thing is so old. Just obey the damn laws.


G said...

I read about this incident several days ago. I believe the city has already apologized.

I hope you aren't siding with the city on this one. I can't imagine any reasonable person doing so.

Lou said...

They did apologize and rightly so. Too bad some would be so excited to see some religious folks get hassled.


10 to 15 people can fit into four or five cars which shouldn't wreak havoc in most neighborhoods if done with empathy towards the rest of the neighborhood. Nothing in the article made note of complaints by the neighbors which leads me to ask how the government got involved. It is possible it was by chance they were discovered?

I wonder how the same county government would react to a large extended family having weekend get-togethers on a regular basis?

I also have concern with equating churches or religious gatherings to business entities.

I'll have to side with individual freedom on this one unless there is evidence presented of other's individual rights being infringed.

This is also a case where even if other neighbors were having problems with these gatherings, negotiations between the parties should have been the first option and involving the government the last option.

G said...

I prefer to just stick with the "free exercise" and "freedom of assembly" clauses of the first amendment. A city has no authority to take away those constitutionally protected rights.


Unless they are infringing on another citizen's rights, no?

G said...

If you can find a way that a Bible study group in a private home can infringe on someone else's Constitutional rights, I'm all ears.


Hey, g. I am on your side on this one, but if some uppity Christians park in my fucking driveway, I am gonna be pissed. Granted, parking in my driveway isn't a Constitutional question, but it is an infringement on my pursuit to happiness.

G said...

It's also trespassing. Feel free to have their car towed. But if you're simply annoyed that they legally parked on the street in front of your home, you're out of luck.


Again, g, I am on your side this time.

verification word: preen

G said...

I know you are. As I said in the first post, I can't imagine any reasonable person being on the side of the city.