Monday, June 1, 2009

Couple Threatened with Fines for Holding Bible Study in Home

In San Diego, California, a Pastor and his wife had been holding Bible studies in their home regularly. But on Good Friday an official from their County came to their home and told them they were breaking the law because they were holding a religious assembly. If they wished to continue they would have to pay thousands of dollars to obtain a permit. Later they received a written warning telling them to stop the meetings.

Since, as I have shown many times in this venue, the Founding Fathers who wrote our Constitution were seriously concerned with protecting "freedom of religion," a phrase often used in their discussions.

But the County stated it in such a way as to make it sound like the reason the meetings are illegal is that they are religious in nature. So what about a weekly quilting meeting, or scrapbooking meeting? How about a handful of kids who regularly meet to play video games? We assume those activities would not be cited, and we might also assume that the County is singling out religion.

Read more on the story from Foxnews

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LexAequitas said...

I'd like to see the county's response, but on the face of it this looks like a baldly unconstitutional move on the county's part.

The only thing I might imagine is an argument over the numbers of people involved. While there is a right of assembly, the state can regulate large groups -- though not for content. If their Bible study is a hundred people, I could see an argument.

edit: Looking at the News10 report, it seems the groups average 15 people. While this is slightly larger than a group of gamers or quilters, it still doesn't seem like it should trip any large-gathering laws in a private home. People hold parties bigger than that all the time in relatively small venues.

History Matters said...


Thanks for the comments. I agree that 15 people is starting to get noticeable, but it seems clear that this particular group is deemed a problem because of its religious nature. If this particular government had a statute that prohibited any public gather of that size, then I probably wouldn't have a complaint.