FROM TORONTO SUN:
A Phoenix, Ariz., man is in jail for hosting a Bible study group in his home.
Pastor Michael Salman starting serving 60 days on Monday after city officials said his weekly meetings were akin to church services, which violated several building codes.
“Bible studies are not allowed to be conducted in your residence or the barn on your property as these structures do not comply with the construction code for this use,” a letter from the city says. FOR MORE CLICK HERE
On the surface, this bothers me a lot. If this is carried through this could be a big blow to the small group / house church movement. I only know what I’ve shared here about this story, if you have any follow up info, please share it here.
Here are two videos I found from the pastor and his wife:
UPDATE: After asking for some follow-up info, it seems that this story is a bit more complecated than its been made out to be. This is not an issue of hosting a small group bible study but about acquiring permits and possibly bending rules. Here are some other articles that make the case that this issue is NOT ABOUT A BASIC BIBLE STUDY.
Phoenix Man Arrested For Holding Bible Study Begins Jail Sentence
This article states:
The controversy erupted in 2009 when nearly a dozen police officers raided the Salman’s home and a 2,000 square foot building in their backyard. The family had moved their Bible study into the building after the group outgrew their living room.
The charges that sent Salman to jail were a result of that raid – ranging from not posting exit lights above their doors – to not having handicap ramps or handicap parking.
Salman told Fox News Radio the attacks on his family were nothing more than a crackdown on religious liberty.
But city officials said it was a matter of zoning and proper permitting – not religious freedom. They said he was given a permit to convert a garage into a game room – not a church.