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Couple Must Stop Home Bible Study

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by JBond, May 28, 2009.

  1. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Couple Must Stop Home Bible Study

    Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit

    Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a bible study — unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.

    "On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

    "We told them this is not really a religious assembly — this is just a bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

    A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.

    But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.

    For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.

    "The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple bible study in their own home."

    "The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it settled for the future."

    The couple is planning to dispute the county's order this week.

    If San Diego County refuses to allow the pastor and his wife to continue gathering without acquiring a permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court.

    Click here to watch the full FOX News interview.
    Click here to read the full 10News report.
  2. zrinkill

    zrinkill Diamond surrounded by trash

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    Hopefully this is just a huge mistake.
  3. CowboyWay

    CowboyWay If Coach would have put me in, we'd a won State

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    I have to believe there is more to this story than just the above.
  4. CanadianCowboysFan

    CanadianCowboysFan Lightning Rod

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    I agree, it cannot be as cut and dry as the story makes out. They were probably passing around the offering plate, making donations etc
  5. trickblue

    trickblue Old Testament... Zone Supporter

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    My guess is that neighbors complained of people parking in the street and this is how they are approaching it...
  6. CanadianCowboysFan

    CanadianCowboysFan Lightning Rod

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    Mmm could be. I hate neighbours who snitch. Hell, I hate snitches period.
  7. JBond

    JBond Well-Known Member

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    Couple: County Trying To Stop Home Bible Studies

    http://www.10news.com/news/19562217/detail.html


    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.

    Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.

    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.

    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.

    "For churches and religious assemblies there's big parking concerns, there's environmental impact concerns when you have hundreds or thousands of people gathering. But this is a different situation, and we believe that the application of the religious assembly principles to this bible study is certainly misplaced," said Broyles.

    News of the case has rapidly spread across Internet blogs and has spurred various reactions.

    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?" said Broyles.

    Broyles and his clients plant to give the county their demand letter this week.

    If the county refuses to release the pastor and his wife from obtaining the permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court.
  8. CowboyFan74

    CowboyFan74 RAWR

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    So it's a parking issue it seems. Nice angle, libs...:laugh2:
  9. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    I look for San Diego County to get smoked in court and lose easily on this one
  10. Rogah

    Rogah Well-Known Member

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    This reminds me of a local incident where a couple was ordered to stop having alternative-lifestyle parties at their home (which is a nice way of saying they were hosting orgies). They gave the whole "what we do behind closed doors is our business and nobody else's" routine. Except what they were doing was having these "parties" every other Friday night, advertising on the internet, and charging admission. There would regularly be 20+ cars parked in the neighborhood. I was very disappointed when the town made me stop. (joke, people, joke :D).

    However, we have zoning laws in this country for a reason. Before I can give my opinion I would need to know 2 things: How many people and how often (I know they said 10-15 in the article so I would be interested in knowing if the other side agreed with those figures). There comes a point where you're no longer a private citizen having a few friends over but rather your hosting public assemblies in your house which ya just can't do in a residential neighborhood.
  11. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    I think parking in general is part of it. They are asking for parking permits, environmental study, and more totalling >10k. The main issue is formal assembly of more than 15 ( I think) people on a regular basis of any sort is supposedly illegal there. This is way out fo boands and I'm sure there is another agenda involved, but legally the courts may be right. Sux.
  12. ScipioCowboy

    ScipioCowboy More than meets the eye. Zone Supporter

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    If parking is the sole issue, would the assemblies be legal if the attendees started car pooling?

    I understand how neighbors might be inconvenienced if there were 15 to 20 cars parked outside one house once a week.

    However, the county was asking questions that seemingly had little to do with parking.
  13. Hostile

    Hostile Peace Zone Supporter

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    I sensed sarcasm.
  14. sbark

    sbark Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    well predicted in "some old book" somewhere........persecuted to the ends of the earth........
  15. DIAF

    DIAF DivaLover159

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    I seriously doubt this has anything to do with stamping on the religious liberties of this couple, and more to do with what kind of "annoyance" they are. We had something similar going on in college in an apartment across from one of mine in the late 90s...there was this one apt full of girls that every week held worship meetings where they'd whip out a guitar and sing for an hour or so, and a lot of people would show up for, taking up a bunch of parking spots in front of the buildings intended for residents. Being college, nobody really cared because that place was party central during the weekends anyways so we were used to it. But I can see how more, uh, "uptight" neighbors might get angry if they come back in the evening from a long day of work or something and there's a bunch of noisy people taking up all the parking in front of your apartment. One of the neighbors probably ratted the couple out and turns out that there's some sort of ordinance(s) they are violating. Either that, or the county is really hard-up for money and is looking to hit anyone they can with fines.

    About the apartment in my example, found out from a girl we knew that worked in the clubhouse that the apartment was actually rented out by some non-denominational religious organization on campus that none of us had ever heard of, and the girls that lived there seemed to rotate every semester. Definitely odd.
  16. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    well there is a fine line between the two. : )
  17. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Parking is only one of many of the issues. It does seem like somebody is out to get these guys...and this is agenda driven. It also looks like if you go by the letter of the law, they may, sadly, have a case due to unlawful assembly.
    My guess is that if the group were smaller or the meeeting dates were more random, they (the city) couldn't pin them down for permits and the rest of this garbage.
  18. Rogah

    Rogah Well-Known Member

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    Well that's kind of the whole point...

    Small groups on an irregular basis = not a public assembly.
    Large groups on a regular basis = public assembly.

    Like I said in my original post, I would need to know how many and how often in order to make a personal judgement on this particular case. Something tells me that this pastor puts the call out at his church that "all are welcome" to attend his home bible studies, which puts them in the realm of public assembly. I just don't buy the implication that it is agenda driven targeting a religious group.
  19. iceberg

    iceberg detoxed Zone Supporter

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    well california does need a lot of money these days.
  20. DFWJC

    DFWJC Well-Known Member Zone Supporter

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    Agreed, and that's why I said what I said.

    As for the how many, and how often, the answer is about 15 people gather to talk, eat, and pray every Tuesday night. I'd say 15 is a small group.

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