Thursday, May 28, 2009

Home Bible Study Requires A Government Permit In San Diego County?

Apparently, if you intend to invite, say, about fifteen people over to your domicile for a Bible study in San Diego County, California, you might want to make sure you have tens of thousands of dollars lying around to pop for a "major use" permit.

That is exactly what a local pastor and his wife are being told by county government bureaucrats that they must do if they wish to continue to host Bible studies in their own home, which are usually attended by fifteen people or so.

Of course, this is ridiculous on its face, and obviously a case of a government-schooled, over-zealous bureaucrat who is more than a little ignorant of the concept of private property rights. Then again, this could be something more, based on the questions posed to the homeowner by the government bureaucrats (bolds are mine):

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.'"

First of all, I find the inquisitorial nature of these questions to be well out of bounds, and not a little disturbing, particularly because they are being asked by a government employee. It almost seems as if the government was zeroing in on them because they happened to be Christian.

What business is it of the government's what is said by those attending a gathering in a private home? Do they ask similar questions to other residents who regularly have people over for a BBQ? A football game?

More to the point, would the government be this nosy if this were a Muslim gathering?

Somehow I doubt it.

The couple has sent a letter to the county demanding they back off, as this is a clear violation of their 1st Amendment rights as they relate to religious freedom.

If you ask me, that is just for starters, as there are property rights and other freedom-related issues in play here, as well. The couple has said that if the county continues to pursue this course of action, they will consider a federal lawsuit.

Good for them.

You can read the entire story here.


jen said...

This and the other story about the flag in TX are really creepy. This stuff is getting out of control. Add to those stories our potential new (in)justice on the Supreme Court, and you have a clear cut case that our freedoms are being trampled in this country at a frightening rate.

The Doktor said...

IF the people at the San Diego County office asked questions about prayer then they were totally out of bounds. I've read the article and the resultant comments and there seems to have been a complaint to the county about cars and parking (on a dead-end street). If that was the case then that issue should have been questioned, not what was said in their meetings.

I think that there may be a bit more to this and I'm willing to wait and find out what is actually going on. The lawyers aren't talking until they receive a formal notice from the county and then they may sue the county. Maybe all of the pertinent facts will come out into the open when the lawsuits start to fly.

When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson