Ordinance Making Meetings In Your Own Home Illegal Used To Shut Down Bible Study

The California city of San Juan is using a city ordinance which makes it illegal to hold regular meetings in your own home to shutdown a weekly bible study.

Our beloved government shows once again a blatant disregard for the United States Constitution and the rights of citizens by using a local city ordinance to shutdown a home bible study.

Specifically, this infringes on the First Amendment Freedom to Worship, The First Amendment Freedom To Assemble. The action of the government also  violates the reasonable expectation of privacy. Furthermore,  I can not see how there is not a violation of 4th amendment protection against illegal search and seizure, as the government had no grounds for probable cause to issue the summons in the first place.

Kurt Nimmo reports:

California City Closes Down Bible Study in Private Home

Kurt Nimmo
September 21, 2011

In Orange County, California, it is illegal to hold a religious meeting in your home.

This is what Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, discovered when they were fined $300 earlier this month for holding a Bible study class on their property.

Officialdom in the county said the couple were singled out because it is considered illegal to hold “a regular gathering of more than three people” on private property. Officials stated that the Fromms require a license to hold meetings in their home.

San Juan Capistrano authorities claim home Bible study is not allowed because it is a “church,” and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas.

The Fromms face additional fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to the Pacific Justice Institute.

The city’s action is a brazen violation of the First Amendment, which guarantees free worship without government intervention.

PJI and the Fromms plan to appeal a decision made by the city to uphold the fine and restriction to the California Superior Court in Orange County, according to KCOY 12 News, a Fox affiliate.

Ironically, the city of San Juan Capistrano was founded as a mission in the late 1700s by Catholic priest Junipero Serra. A local chapel established by Serra is the oldest standing building in California.

Local Fox News KCOY channel 12 reports:

SoCal Couple Threatened With $500-Per-Meeting Fines For Home Bible Study

MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what one city official called “a regular gathering of more than three people” that requires a conditional use permit, according to Pacific Justice Institute, the couple’s legal representation.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI).
“We don’t like lawsuits, but we have to stand up for what’s right. It’s not just a personal issue,” Stephanie Fromm told The Capistrano Dispatch. “Can you imagine anybody in any neighborhood, that one person can call and make it a living hell for someone else? That’s wrong … and it’s just sad.”

[…]

Source: KCOY 12 News

The Pacific Justice Institute reports:

City With Religious Roots Fines Home Bible Study

A city in Southern California is demanding that a small home Bible study group stop meeting unless they obtain a cost-prohibitive permit.The homeowners, Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, were fined $300 for holding the Bible study. Mr. Fromm appealed the ruling to the City of San Juan Capistrano, which was founded as a mission in the late 1700’s and is home to California’s oldest building still in use, a chapel where Father Junipero Serra celebrated mass. Fromm was told by a hearing officer that regular gatherings of more than three people require a conditional use permit. Officials also stated that further religious gatherings in the home would be subject to a $500 fine per meeting. The City eventually rejected the appeal and Pacific Justice Institute has taken the next step by appealing the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County.

The Bible study group, which met on Sunday mornings, until the City threatened further fines, was perfectly suited for his home, said Chuck Fromm. There was no noise beyond normal conversation and quiet music on the home stereo system. They met inside their family room and patio area. Many neighbors have written letters of support, denying they were disturbed by the presence of the Bible study. The group is not affiliated with any particular church, nor is it seeking to establish a church in the home.

The City of San Juan Capistrano is insisting the home Bible study is not allowed because it is a “church,” and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas. Pacific Justice Institute represents the Bible study participants and will fight the city’s decision. In other cases, PJI has represented larger churches that have been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of the CUP process, such as engineering and traffic studies, architectural designs and seismic retrofits. CUP’s require public hearings and can be denied outright or granted with numerous limitations.

[…]

Source: Pacific Justice Institute

Categories: US NEWS

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