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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.