| City With Religious Roots Fines Home Bible Study|
Check this out.
A city in Southern California is demanding that a small home Bible study group stop meeting unless they obtain a cost-prohibitive permit.
The homeowners, Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, were fined $300 for holding the Bible study. Mr. Fromm appealed the ruling to the City of San Juan Capistrano, which was founded as a mission in the late 1700s and is home to Californias oldest building still in use, a chapel where Father Junipero Serra celebrated mass. Fromm was told by a hearing officer that regular gatherings of more than three people require a conditional use permit. Officials also stated that further religious gatherings in the home would be subject to a $500 fine per meeting. The City eventually rejected the appeal and Pacific Justice Institute has taken the next step by appealing the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County.
The Bible study group, which met on Sunday mornings, until the City threatened further fines, was perfectly suited for his home, said Chuck Fromm. There was no noise beyond normal conversation and quiet music on the home stereo system. They met inside their family room and patio area. Many neighbors have written letters of support, denying they were disturbed by the presence of the Bible study. The group is not affiliated with any particular church, nor is it seeking to establish a church in the home.
The City of San Juan Capistrano is insisting the home Bible study is not allowed because it is a church, and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas. Pacific Justice Institute represents the Bible study participants and will fight the citys decision. In other cases, PJI has represented larger churches that have been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of the CUP process, such as engineering and traffic studies, architectural designs and seismic retrofits. CUPs require public hearings and can be denied outright or granted with numerous limitations.
Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous, said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. In a city so rich with religious history and tradition, this is particularly egregious. An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this groups religious freedom.
The Pacific Justice Institute is a non-profit 501(c)(3) legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties.
P.O. Box 276600 Sacramento, CA 95827-6600
Phone: (916) 857-6900 Fax: (916) 857-6902 Internet: www.pacificjustice.org
| 2011/9/17 20:00||Profile|
| Re: City With Religious Roots Fines Home Bible Study|
Looking on other sites about this I understand that they were having more than 50 people in their home at one time. Their law states that they shouldn't have anymore than 50 people, doing so constitutes a public gathering or in this case a Church.
What they should do is hold smaller bible studies and stay within the limits of the law, else they need a license and safety features have to be in place for that amount of people being in one home.
For example, larger bathrooms and sufficient toiletries, wheel chair ramp, exit signs, fire preventive measures, wider doors for both front and back.
"The City of San Juan Capistrano is insisting the home Bible study is not allowed because it is a church, and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas".
If it was a one time event of that amount of people it would go unnoticed and no one would bat an eye. Now that they have public attention the group will no doubt be larger and they will now have to start a Church. If that be the case, a lot of good will come out of this.
| 2011/9/17 20:59|
| Re: |
I think it is ridiculous. Let them have their Bible study. If it was a mary kay, avon, home interior, tupperware party or whatever those enthusiasts have on a regular basis, no one would bat an eye. Church? No, we can't do that. No siree...unconstitutional...call the aclu and sue the homeowners. Yes, you need a wheelchair ramp, 10 waterfountains (real low ones especially for the six footers + to hurt their backs bending over), 10 more handicapped spots, water sprinklers systems, multiple fire extinguishers, regular interrogations from the city council gestoppos, (a cut from the offering, which they may not collect, to pay for hush money to keep the council quiet)etc...... Let them have their Bible study....maybe they might help rescue lost souls, help empty some taverns, see lives transformed, or help a child to be spared the heart ache many adults go through because they never heard the wonderful story of Christ.
Well, enough rambling. "The gates of hell shall not prevail".
| 2011/9/17 22:30||Profile|
| Re: |
Hard to comment without knowing the specifics of the case. But I do agree with Approved that the home group might break into smaller groups to stay within the law and stay under the radar.
In Mat.18 Jesus gave a quarum of 2 or 3 people who come together in his name. By his definition this constituted a church. In restricted nations pastors will often break their larger churches into cell groups of 3 people to keep their group under the radar. This also leads to more intimate fellowship and disciplrship.
What is disturbing about this case is that it is reflecting a trend in America. The trend is a hostility toward the things of Christ. Already we are hearing of street preachers being arrested. Now home Bible studies being fined. The U S is starting to become one of the countries we pray for on the persecution eatch.
| 2011/9/18 0:07|
| Re: |
After reading these responses I wonder why they do not ask the ACLU to fight for them? After all, they love to fight gov regulations....
| 2011/9/20 9:55||Profile|
| Re: |
They may have had 50 people, but their law there states 3 or more.
What do they do when a family of 4 sit down to dinner each evening? Isnt that "regular meetings of 3 or more"?
Wow... Glad I do not live in California.
| 2011/9/20 12:28|
| Re: |
Krispy, You have a cave staked out in your NC mountains? You may need it...
| 2011/9/21 0:18||Profile|