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San Diego tries to ban Christianity

 
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:06 am
Fox News:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,522637,00.html

Quote:
Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study " unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.

"On Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house, and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told FOX News.

"We told them this is not really a religious assembly " this is just a Bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.

A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.

But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.

For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.

"The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple Bible study in their own home."

"The implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a precedent here " before it goes any further " and that we have it settled for the future."

The couple is planning to dispute the county's order this week.

If San Diego County refuses to allow the pastor and his wife to continue gathering without acquiring a permit, they will consider a lawsuit in federal court....
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:12 am
For a host of obvious reasons, San Diego County's ordinance does not go nearly far enough . . .
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BillRM
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:22 am
@gungasnake,
I wonder if those few friends mean a block or two full up with parks cars in front of people homes?

Someone would had needed to complain and I would bet the couple few friends are more then that to say the least.

Even an evil atheist such as myself would not care if a neighbor was having a few friends over for whatever reason but a block full of cars park all over the place would be annoying.
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djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:33 am
go san diego, let's make it a world wide ordinance
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boomerang
 
  5  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:36 am
It isn't about the Bible study, it's about traffic.

The same land use fight raged in my neighborhood for years when the college bought a neighborhood house to hold functions. They finally resolved the issue by offering valet parking and a shuttle service from off-site parking.

These people are trying to make it about religion when it isn't about religion at all.
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:43 am
well, i'm against parking too
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BillRM
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:47 am
@boomerang,
Yes taking all the parking spaces in the neighborhood on a holiday where others would like to have friends over also is not a good Christian thing to do now is it gunasnake?

A few friends over would not have generated a complain for the city to had taken action on and others even their fellow Christians might wish to enjoy their homes and families in peace and have a right to do so.
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gungasnake
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 07:41 am
Quote:
A few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited "unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.


The order was to 'stop religious assembly'; that implies that if the same number of people had gotten together to watch football repeats on television the city would not have acted.
MontereyJack
 
  0  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 07:49 am
No, it identifies what the thing they were cited for was. There's no implication about other kinds of activities at all.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 08:00 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:

The order was to 'stop religious assembly'; that implies that if the same number of people had gotten together to watch football repeats on television the city would not have acted.


Quote:
...Pastor David Jones has been hosting weekly Bible studies at his Bonita home during the past five years. About 15 people attend the meetings, he told 10News.
Jones said a visitor to a neighbor's house called the County after a Bible study member hit the visitor’s car while leaving. Shortly after, a county code enforcement officer gave him a citation that said he needed a permit to host the weekly Bible study meetings, he said.
...
A County spokeswoman says the County is concerned with parking and its impact on the neighborhood.
The two sides met Wednesday but resolved nothing.
Jones said they're scheduled to meet again on June 9.

http://www.10news.com/news/19585458/detail.html
0 Replies
 
MontereyJack
 
  0  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 08:13 am
The guy is a "pastor". What is he pastor of? Does he have a church building somewhere, or is his church his living room, and he's trying to do an end run aroun d building use rules and land use rules? When he says "15 people" it likely means 25 people in reality, overwhelming the neighborhood. And it's been going on at least weekly--and maybe more often?--for five years. Not surprising if the enighbors are getting ticked off. An occasional party, sure. Half a dozen friends in to watch a football game, sure. A couple couples in every once in awhile to read the Bible, no problem. That many people, at least, every week--that's legitimate public accommodation concern. Time to rent a storefront, "pastor".
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MontereyJack
 
  0  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 08:20 am
Typical gunga extreme counter-factual over-reaction too.
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Joe Nation
 
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Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 08:48 am
Quote:
The order was to 'stop religious assembly'; that implies that if the same number of people had gotten together to watch football repeats on television the city would not have acted.


Cities regulate all sorts of regular activities in neighborhoods of private homes and apartments.

Hold a garage sale? Sure? Need a permit? Nah.

But...hold a garage sale every weekend for weeks on end and you are sure to attract the attention of the traffic division, the sales tax division and so on up through the local government's arms of code enforcement.
Their mistake was making the regularity visible by annoying their neighbors.

My suggestion to the pastor is that he or she rotate the Bible Study through eight to ten households (assuming some of the participants are couples) thereby only interacting with any one neighborhood every two months or so. (Of course, it might be a little difficult to collect tithes at a household not your own, but maybe they weren't asking for any donation. Maybe.) Otherwise, as others have said here, hold the meeting, the study, whatever, at the Pastor's Church.

BTW: if someone was inviting fifteen people over to watch football every weekend for the entire season, they probably would be subject to scrutiny too. It's called "Creating a Public Nuisance" and has been part of American law since before 1620 when the Dutch of New Amsterdam began fining people for having raunchous parties in their homes.

Joe(The man and his two female householders were fined and further enjoined never to invite any sailors or passing craftsmen to their domicile.)Nation

farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:19 am
All "nuisance" ordinances aside (And we really do need to read what the ordinances do say before we project), the rights of religious assembly and the "Free expression" clauses are being ,technically , disemboweled with a thousand surface cuts if this goes unchallenged.

Those of us who are particlular about the fineness of point in the "establishment clause" need to make sure that we see the equal measure of sanity that must prevail in this one.
Bifurcating the "nuisance" issue from the religious one is what should be done, in other words, the entire case should be built only on the parking load. NOW, howvere, I think that San Diego has spilt its beans on this and turned it into a constitutional case.


Will the fun ever cease in the good ole US of A?
farmerman
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:21 am
@farmerman,
Also, just because the guy is a "pastor" doesnt mean that he ceases to be a citizen protected by the same rights as anyone else.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:29 am
@farmerman,
There is no right of religious assembly. There is a clause in the first amendment, succeeding the no establishment and free expression clauses, which grants "the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." That clearly does not apply in this instance. Local governments have a compelling interest in managing traffic and parking, and in land use. Do you think zoning laws are an unwarranted burden on people?

It is by no means certain that San Diego County has "spilt its beans." It is clear from what Walter has posted that the local authority sees this as a land use and parking issue, and as has been pointed out, referring to the religious assembly is only descriptive of the activity which violated the land use ordinance, and lead to the parking issue.

I am appalled to think that you would be taken in by the distortions of Gunga hysteria.
Foofie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:33 am
I wonder if this ordinance would apply to the Passover Seder?
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JPB
 
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Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:37 am
@Setanta,
I was having this same discussion elsewhere yesterday.

The CA Constitution reads as follows:

CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE 1 DECLARATION OF RIGHTS


SEC. 4. Free exercise and enjoyment of religion without discrimination or preference are guaranteed. This liberty of conscience does not excuse acts that are licentious or inconsistent with the peace or safety of the State. The Legislature shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.

Also, local zoning ordinances everywhere determine proper land use. If an area is zoned residential then it generally cannot be used for regular religious assembly - that's what churches are for and they are zoned accordingly.

I think the Pastor's statement that this isn't a religious assembly is ludicrous, "We told them this is not really a religious assembly " this is just a bible study with friends. We have a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said." Of course it's a religious assembly. But he and his attorney need to get on the same page. The attorney is fighting a freedom of religious expression fight and his client is saying it's just a simple gathering of friends.

0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
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Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:40 am
@Setanta,
I had stated that it is the FREE EXPRESSION CLAUSE.
The way that San Diego is seeing it is to conflate that clause with their nuisance ordinance. Dont worry, this WILL go to court mostly for dumb wording of the charges.


I get involved in writing ordinances a lot. The last things we do after writes and reviews is to have the ordinances CODFIED which is the procedure to assure that they are fully severable and are NOT unconstitutional. Weve had many ordinances bounced back under Pennsylvanias Township Code whenever they are found to conflict with several levels of existing law including the constitution.

You can attempt to make the decision on A2k but this WILL go to court, theres too much left hanging and the "Free expression clause " is being molested here.

PS I never had any mention of assembly since free expression has no mention of any means of worship (or in this case Bible study).
By us being particular on how the Cosntitution cuts in the matter of Creationist crap in science class (Even with the attempts at some circum-scientific title as Intelligent Design), we have to recognize that the other sides valid argument for protection of their free expression rights may become the heart of this case (Im saying that the way the information on the charges was presented is where the city fucked up)
djjd62
 
  2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 09:47 am
@gungasnake,
gungasnake wrote:
The order was to 'stop religious assembly'; that implies that if the same number of people had gotten together to watch football repeats on television the city would not have acted.


i'm against football repeats too
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