Hard to believe but a man in Phoenix, Arizona is facing 60 days in jail for refusing to stop a Bible Study in his home. About 50 people come every week, and the neighbors complained about the cars on the street. The city claims he is running a church service and must follow local zoning regulations. The article below spells it out. What do you think? Can a town ban a Bible Study because its popular?
A Phoenix homeowner who held weekly Bible studies in his backyard must serve jail time for failing to comply with building, zoning, fire, and safety codes applicable to churches, ruled a federal district court in Arizona last week.
In 2008, the City of Phoenix ordered Michael Salman to comply with code requirements for a church after neighbors complained about his weekly Bible studies, which often drew 50 people to a gazebo in his backyard. Salman refused, claiming the order violated his free exercise rights, and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, fined $12,000, and given three year's probation--during which he could not host more than 12 people in his home, reports Religion Clause.
On Friday, the federal district court dismissed Salman's attempt to halt this judgment because a lower federal court had already heard his complaint and dismissed it for failing to first exhaust legal options at the state level.