The Four Pillars

June 5, 2012

California City Imposes Fines on in-home Bible Studies

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Written by: Joe Christian
A Picture of City Sign for San Juan Capistrano, California confirms that the California City of San Juan Capistrano is not only demanding that its citizens obtain permits to hold in-home Bible studies, but has already fined Chuck and Stephanie Stromm $300 and is intending to impose an additional $500 fine for holding a Bible study with fellow Christians in their home.

The city ordinance, citing city code section 9-3.301, which demands that, “churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations,” is now being used to prohibit the private, in-home worship of Christians and other religious groups unless they are willing to pay stiff fees to do so. World Net Daily has reported similar instances in the cities of Rancho Cucomonga, California and Gilbert, Arizona.

Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute who represents the Fromms was quick to point out that, “the city was founded as a Christian mission in the 1700s and is home to California’s oldest building still in use, a chapel where Father Junipero Serra celebrated mass.”

An initial appeal to the city has been outright denied, and now counsel for the Fromms is taking the matter to the California Superior Court in Orange County.

Pacific Justice has also stated that it’s represented larger churches in the past that have been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of the permit process on such items as engineering and traffic studies, and architectural designs. The process includes public hearings and ultimately can result in a rejection by the city.

A report issued from the city’s Dispatch newspaper said that Fromm (publisher of Worship Leader Magazine) wanted to hold Bible studies on Wednesdays that drew some 20 people, while their Sunday study sessions attracted some 50 people to their home.

In recent years a similar case in San Diego County ended with a formal apology from the city after a city code enforcement officer tried to shut down a Bible study.

Ladies and gentlemen, when government officials think they can come into your home and tell you that you can’t read your Bible with a group of invited friends, you are no longer living in a free country. And it begs the question: Does this separation of church and state thing work both ways?

And yes, in case you were wondering, that IS a MISSIONARY on the San Juan Capistrano city seal.

In Pursuit of Civil Liberties,

Christopher Kusiak

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About the Author

Joe Christian
Joe Christian is a student of God's Word. He has no formal education, but has spent the better part of 20 years studying The Bible by following subject and object, and studying the original languages of the Scriptures. You can too.



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