Pastor to be jailed for holding church services on his private property

Talk about big government run amuck, this is totally out of control. It’d be one thing if the services were open to the public but it appears this is a gathering by invite only – in other words just a private gathering of friends. I’ve seen some who classify this is a Bible study but to be honest, I don’t care because I know people who meet in homes for church every Sunday. So call it whatever you want because when it’s a private gathering it’s private and the federal, state, and local governments need to keep their big freaking nose out of our private affairs!

Watch below:

(via Todd Starnes)

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99 thoughts on “Pastor to be jailed for holding church services on his private property

  1. What are the building codes for the community? What is a public church? Was the city wrong on all 67 counts? I don’t know the details of how this was operating. Long ago I attended a home church and there were well over 50 people attending this gathering on Sunday. When they outgrew the room they were in they all pitched in and added onto the house. Most of the people that attended purposefully moved into the community to create a sort of insulated neighborhood and most walked to the church gathering on Sundays and other days of the week. It is most definitely known as a homechurch in the area but noone has ever complained but that might be because the neighborhoods surrounding the home meeting place ARE the church members!

  2. This just proves my point. Never let government start any new program or policy because they ALWAYS go too far. CUT the size and scope of Fedzilla before it’s too late! A Government program / Regulation is a bad Government program / Regulation plus we can’t afford it. We are broke! $16 Trillion in the hole and they are still digging our childrens financial graves even deeper! Impeach Obama NOW!

  3. 30-40 people at least once a week in a residential neighborhood.

    I guess all these people are walking there…

    Even with that, imagine Super-bowl or Thanksgiving gatherings at least once a week, probably twice a day if it’s anything like my church.

    Now imagine it next to your house.

    I get nervous driving past Holy Family church when services are over (on my way to donuts!) and it’s zoned for the traffic.

    The Lord has a plan for everyone. He can do some good preaching to the prison population.

    1. Another report said up to 15 people. You might as well jail much of America because these home groups have been going on for years all across America.

      1. Now there is an idea: the smaller the group would prove the offense.

        A couple of families meeting as a ‘house church.’ Fine. Three cars in the driveway. Don’t need anything more than a living room couch and a floor.

        If they are _still_ persecuted, color me convinced it is church/state conflict.

  4. I wonder how terrible it would have been for this guy just to get the permits and call it a small church? Unless there was a zoning issue which prevented him from running a church in that neighborhood, then he should have gotten the permits to run a church. Superbowl Parties, birthday parties, etc., are all unique events and don’t happen every Sunday. Also, nobody really mentioned how many people this guy has over every week or every day for that matter. If I lived next door to this guy, I don’t know if I would like having 30 or 50 people parking next to me on a regular basis to go to this guy’s house. Or, to put it another way, if this man was running a mosque in his house preaching who knows what, would everybody in the neighborhood be OK with that? I don’t know, but I think this guy is basically wrong. If he wants to run a church, let him set up a church. After all, he’d get all the tax deductions if he did that, so what’s not to love?

    1. First of all, churches have been corporatized. This is not a good thing. Churches are often run like businesses, and many pastors and staff have really good salaries and benefits. This goes against what Paul the Apostle taught concerning the church leaders. All of the churches I have been to had “board members” to make decisions. The bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is to be the one who guides these decisions, and it is to be verified through prayer and with multiple people in leadership.

      Buildings are erected by debt spending in the church. This is also wrong, but government makes it really hard not to.

      The churches have been manipulated by government, and with purpose and intent. The 501C3 status explicitly prevents church leadership from speaking to a congregation about any particular political candidate. In other words, a pastor cannot say that Obama is an abomination before God, and represents the anti-Christ and his agenda.

      Government does not give an exemption without a price.

  5. This case is a real can of worms. Each one of those worms is a different issue and each probably equally valid and important. Seems like George Orwell’s 1984 is alive and well.

    So, I’m just going to focus on the freedom of religion issue and not get into public safety and other things, which are each their own issues.

    This is scary to the perspective of the government essentially telling you that you can’t pray in your own home, on your own property. What comes after that? Well, if you can’t pray in your own home, why would you need to have any prayer books in your home? Whats to prevent the government from telling you that you can’t keep any prayer books or even any religious books in your own home? And like the death panels from obamacare, there will be the book police raiding your home to be sure you don’t have any unapproved books. Who knows just what the criminal penalties for possessing these illegal religious books might be? Drug dealing could even be considered a lesser crime.

    In the Jewish religion, when a person dies, the family sits “shiva” for a week in the decedent’s home and the prayers and congregants come morning and evening to the residence. I’ve been to many of these “shiva” services over the years. While I didn’t take attendance and don’t have exact figures, its reasonable for me to say there could be 35-45 people easily at some of these “shiva” prayer services. Using the rationale of this case, the Jewish mourning period known as “shiva” could be declared illegal.

  6. So why don’t he get the building up to code? What does he need other than exit signs,
    smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, etc.? He can ask for a few dollars from the parishioners to do it all. Are there noise and parking issues? Not enough detail in the report for me to formulate an opinion.

    1. he has to have government in his business, hire people he doesn’t want to, pay them more than they’re worth, be sued for not giving people who don’t want to be there anyway their “fair” treatment… it never ends.

          1. When you become a non-profit, you give up your right to free speech. That is why I don’t think that churches should do it. They should just pay the taxes to have the right to free speech.

            It just kills me that I actually said that last line.

              1. I recently had the USDA at my house, and now I made a comment that could bring on the IRS, and the DHS.

  7. In the first century A.D. the church met in peoples homes in secret because of persecution of believers in Christ. It is dispicable to think that here in America we are no better than the Romans in 100 A.D., it makes me wonder which society is in decline, no I have to take that back I don’t have to wonder at all.

  8. Thanks for this TRS.

    My reaction is not governmetn run amuck. It is our elected government meeting its goals and objectives. We put these people in office. We pay the leftist bureaucrats’ salaries. This one lies squarely in our laps.

    Anyone go to their town council meeting lately? Marxists know how to build a farm system.

    Check out this video from San Mateo Town Council meeting. The conservative lays out the clear case that their ICLEI participation is direct involvement in subversive UN globalization at the local level. The council votes to re-fund it anyway.

    1. I’ve been watching our county for anything having to do with Agenda 21 or ICLEI. So far, so good, but that could change. I’ve kept posting about it on facebook trying to get people aware of it!!

  9. After a search, I found this article which goes into a little more detail of what happened. This is a pull quote from the article which was missing from this story:

    “The long-running feud between Salman and the City of Phoenix culminated in the summer of 2009 when nearly a dozen police along with city inspectors raided their home. Armed with a search warrant, police confined the Salman family to the living room as they combed the property looking for violations.”

    What caused this breach of law into this mans house in the first place? This could be the smoking gun on religious persecution in this story, it doesn’t change the fact that Salmon did things to push the city but it could mean that the city started the problem in the first place.

      1. I couldn’t agree with you more, that is the other end of the spectrum.

        But hey, we should bend over backwards to have homicidal maniacs in our neighborhoods shouldn’t we?

      2. Maybe we’ll get lucky and they’ll violate so many codes that the structure will collapse before it’s even got a certificate of occupancy.

    1. This is the same tactic that they are using on small farms and food co-ops. I watched several cases spelled out in a documentary called farmageddon this weekend. It is on youtube. The documentary gives too many excuses for government. They keep saying that it is just a matter of government going overboard, and that the regulations need to be adjusted for small verses big farms. They are wrong about that. When they send out 45 armed agents to a tiny farm with a woman and five kids milking goats, then take all of their equipment and animals and destroy them without any proof of violations or any charges being brought, it is tyranny plain and simple, and it is purposeful.

  10. I seem to be alone on this one but here goes…

    It appears to be more of a church than simply a home Bible study class. From what I’ve read on this story though, it seems as though this man is pushing the city to act against him. The story says that there were 15 people attending in 2007, 20 in 2008 and now he has a 2000 sf building with 30-40 people attending now. He has put up a marquee and a cross in front of his house in a residential neighborhood. When he did that he opened it to the public.

    The story says he got the building permits under the guise of building a game room.

    He could very well be undermining the entire religious freedom issue. If he takes it to higher court under these circumstances and loses home Bible study could become illegal, If he wins, poker parties would also become legal. Can you imagine your neighbor having a 30-40 people and growing poker night every Wednesday, especially if they served alcohol? That would be a bar, with the same rights as the church

    If he wins he will create precedence that anyone can do anything on their property, and those things are likely to be more offensive to others and will undoubtably create a lot more problems for their neighborhood.

    The guy can if he wants, rent a storefront, start a church, look for other options than trying to be a problem for his neighbors and city, there is nothing in the story that he tried any of that.

    When we fight for the Lord, we need to fight for His glory and with His word, we must not create the circumstances for ourselves, and proudly expect to be arrested and thrown in jail. I can’t say for sure because the media distorts the news but this fellas own glory is what he seems to be seeking in the Lords name.

    1. I agree that he was pushing the limits in order to “protect” religious freedom but he doesn’t get the fact that winning can have a devastating impact on society. There will come a time in this country, especially if Obama spends 4 more years in the White House, when the freedom to worship is infringed to the point that we will have to gather secretly in people’s basements and game rooms to worship. Until that day, let’s celebrate the freedom we have to worship but do it in accordance with the laws of our free society.

      1. I believe that time is coming as well and then it will be true persecution. I’m not so sure that obama is the only one we need to fear regarding persecution. The ball is rolling and I’m not sure obama’s replacement is going to be able or willing to stop it.

    2. Pushing the limits. The thought of 30 to 40 people in a private residence without proper fire safe guards in place, extinguishers, marked exits etc., is a tragedy waiting to happen.

    3. what’s wrong with poker parties, and why is that any more the government’s business than a bible study?

      1. Change of subject; “Idahoser”….I miss my Idaho! Lived in Boise and Meridian for 9 years.

    4. I agree Toon. Once he put up the marquee especially. We would find the same concerns for neighbors and safety if the guy was a muslim with a mosque in his backyard, and while this isn’t nearly as bad as I’ve seen of that happening, it still is kind of an “in your face” attitude which Christians should not have.
      I can understand all the comments about government intrusion- boy can I! But I don’t think this is the way to go about things. I agree, he ought to either rent a storefront, or find the proper channels and get his permits. These kinds of cases will most likely have ramifications for genuine home bible study groups.

      1. What you say is reasonable, and so is toon’s post. The bigger concern to me is that privacy and property rights should come first. The law should always favor liberty, rather than tyranny. When we give an inch, they will take a mile. A sign out front, and on his property, is his right of speech and private property use. If someone does’t like being in a neighborhood with a bunch of signs in people’s front yards, they can always move. I have had signs in front of my property, just not ones with church type messages. It is the message on the sign that is the problem, not the sign itself. If the sign were vulgar, and offensive to parent’s of children, then the city should step in after asking the person nicely to remove it.

        This corporate state of existence is going to far.

        1. I agree too librtifirst. This is a sticky situation. I agree completely that people own their property and should have every right to do whatever they want on it or with it as long as it doesn’t inflict physical harm on anyone- but I worry for genuine bible study home groups later on down the road.
          If this fella is serious and it seems as if he must have a message folks want to hear or he’d not have so many coming, he needs to re consider and move his “church group” to another location which can handle expansion. This case really does seem a bit much, and the town and surrounding governments might see it as a chance later to go after smaller groups. That’s what I worry about.

          1. What he needs to do is contact his local Ron Paul liberty group and pick out some people to run for local office, then support them. Being timid, and hoping that they don’t come down on us more, just doesn’t seem like a winning tactic.

            Whether we know it or not, we are under attack. The people didn’t start this war, but they need to start fighting it like one.

            When I see injustice from these “servants”, I go right down to the local government office and make it known. When they give me the brush off, I go above their head. They really don’t like that, and seem to want to resolve it first when they find out. This includes the chief of police.

            I don’t have a problem with putting up signs exposing their tyranny. I will use their names.

            My daughter just informed me of a cop who was harassing her. He gave her a ticket for sitting in her car in a parking lot without her seat belt. She told me this as she was telling me that she is moving to Montana, and partially because of it. She was leaving the next day, so I was a little preoccupied with the news. She left Saturday, and told me about it Friday.

            I will be getting his name, and showing up at the cop shop. The chief will be speaking with me. If nothing is done, I will walk the streets with signs telling about the city police tyranny.

        2. We are well beyond favoring liberty over tyranny in this country…but that being said I don’t know if you can just put a marqee in your front yard…that seems like a business and each neighborhood has its own rules and covenants to follow. Maybe he wasn’t following his neighborhood’s covenants. The court got him on 67 counts not 1 but 67!!! People gathering at my home for a wedding or bridal shower or a football game is one thing, but every week or several times a week appears to be more than just an informal gathering. Most of the time when private meetings grow they move on to public buildings. I don’t think we have all the info here on this situation.

          1. I suppose that people should check out the city rules before they buy a home there, as well. Some cities are insane. These kinds of things should be covered under our bill of rights, and cities need to be held to account as well. If the liberals want to choke people out, then conservatives need to get in there and fight them for office to change it. At least we still have that ability. It would just be nice for it to be known that government doesn’t have the right to regulate private property use, unless it harms another.

    5. Thanks for looking into it further. There’s always five sides to every coin (heads, tails, the edge, the inside, and the outside).

    6. This kind of reminds me of what goes on in China. Many people meet at their homes, and the state is controlling permits for people to meet at all.

      If there is a distrubance being created that is bothering the neighbors, then I would say that he should back off or find another place. This would just be a Christian thing to do. If he is not creating any problems for the neighbors, then he should be able to have the services.

      Plugging up the streets with cars would be a problem. Excessive noise would be a problem, but most neigborhoods are allowed a certain amount of noise during day time hours.

      If he just has neigbors that don’t like Christians, and who are complaining, I don’t see using building and fire codes as a legitimate tactic. The codes exist, but they should not for residents and anyone who wants to visit one.

      I resent the idea that I cannot build whatever I want on my property without government permission. Government says “it is for the good of people who might buy it”. That isn’t their business. People need to be a bit smarter, and know what they are buying. If government were not involved, then people would use legitimate private rating agencies when they build a building to protect their resale value.

      Liberty should come first. (libertifirst)

      1. I didn’t address the building on private property or safety issues intentionally. My only concern was whether his motives were in line with Biblical principles.

  11. This is why cleaning out the regulators has to start at the local level. Education, ‘green’ tax scams, fees for this, fees for that, you name it. The libs and media have conditioned people to think that ‘experts’ are smarter than the rest of us because they have a degree in something or other. Not so. Often just the opposite. (Look at academia where those degrees are conferred.) If something sounds stupid, trust your judgement, it probably is. How many times have the experts been wrong – especially about foods that are supposed to be bad for you, good for you, hell, who knows any more?

    Crap like this can be the beginning of the end of all free association, regardless of why people gather. Not intending to sound too alarmist, but with a commie in the WH one can tend to think in this way. Control is the name of the game, and little Hitlers at the local level is where it starts. Send them all to perdition – vote them out!

    In this case, why are 40 people not smart enough to know whether the building they’re in is safe, or not? What makes the local ‘authority’ smarter than them?

    1. I hear you. Gosh, I wonder how I survived riding a bike and roller skating with no protective gear. We learned real quick… if you make a bad move, you don’t do it again. It’s called lessons in life. If you took the risk you paid the price and got no sympathy if it was a wrong decision. But what a wonderful life it was!

  12. So where is the ACLU now.. Out protecting the rights of Communists and Nazis’ I guess..

    This is where we the people must take a stand, for if not here, then where.. As the US Constitution and the 1st Amendment Rights of Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion must be our first priority, along with the 2nd Amendment of our Rights to bear arms, or it will surely be gone right in front of our eyes.

  13. Too big a government, sorry, grew up in the midwest, for just sunday dinner, immediate family was 43. When it got to holidays we were at about 60. So I see nothing wrong with having that many people in a house.

  14. Oh, man…I don’t know about this. On the surface it seems like he’s getting screwed, but when I heard he had up to 40 people in there a week (I assume at one time) that kinda changes things. They do have fire safety codes and such limiting how many people can be in any given building…and that’s a necessary code that must be met. How many times have we seen overcrowded buildings having a band play and they set the place on fire…and the safety codes were violated and dozens of people die because they can’t get out?

    40 people in a house at one time could be potentially dangerous. They didn’t so much have an issue with having the meetings there it didn’t sound like. It was meeting the safety codes.

    1. So maybe we should mandate everyone wear safety helmets, or other protective gear in case they trip on a rock on the way in or a dust storm pops up. C’mon Kong, I know you are smarter than that. People gather at their own free will. It’s not a rock concert, it’s Bible study for goodness sake.

      1. Wow, I appreciate the condescending attitude.

        It doesn’t matter. If the the city has safety codes for gatherings over a certain amount of people they are obligated to enforce the laws. It does seem rather silly, but your comment about the helmets was an unnecessary comment. Really? Wow, maybe we should get them pads and condoms, too. I was referring to fire safety, and we don’t know what codes he was violating and why it was important for him to follow them.

        Chill out.

        1. Sorry Kong, I didn’t mean to be over the top or condescending with my comment. I grew up in AZ and folks with acreage were pretty free. You could have a huge BBQ or hold a big sporting event viewing or bible study group in the neighborhood and no one was offended or worried. If a situation didn’t look safe, we didn’t go there. We didn’t rely on the government to direct us. Hope you understand.

          1. Lol, twice I thought I was being dogged on and it wasn’t meant to be that way. Must be a bad night for me. Apology is mine.

            I understand. I will say that government is too big and has overbearing codes, regulations and laws. I understand them in certain situations, like the example I gave of people being burned to death at small concerts in elbow room only buildings. But there are usually hundreds of people in those situations…completely different than this.

            I’ve never had 40 people in my house so I wasn’t sure. No one else thinks it’s very many people so I must be thinking “big” when it’s not.

            1. I know you have a good heart, my fellow Scooper. Thank you for your kind reply.

              We are all frustrated with the taking of our rights by our cities, counties and national government regulations. We need to take our freedom back and have citizens be responsible for their lives, not the government.

    2. Right, because nobody should be able to determine for themselves what situation they might want to put themselves in. Especially those stupid Christians. We must hand over our rights so that government can protect us from our own ignorance, because they know much better than we do what is safe, and what is not, and we have no right to free association in our own homes. We have no right to freedom of religion, or freedom of speech. We have no right to a freeking trial if they decide to say that we are suspected terrorists. Lets give these brain dead government servants, ( I mean “officials” the power to shut down every activity and every choice that we have had previously in this society.

      Government really needs to set up a call line so that I can call them and ask them where and when it is safe to do anything that I might decide I want to do. They really do need to just come out to my house and clean out everything that might be a hazard. They need to outlaw glass windows, because I might get cut. We need plastic toilets, because the porcelain might break under my big fat a**, that I got from eating their GMO food and fluoridated water. They really just need to shut off the power to our homes, because electricity can kill. We all need governors on our cars that won’t let us go over five miles per hour, because cars kill at ten miles per hour.

      We need cameras in our showers so that the government can determine if we are in risk of slipping on the freaking soap. We might not handle the soap properly and have an accident. We need to quit eating steak, because it might require a sharp knife to cut it, and we don’t all have steak knife use permits.

      If this persists, then these Christians need to all be open carrying when they meet. When the tyrants come to shut down their prayer, they all need to just step outside and have a forty to one conversation about their rights.

      1. That was immediately very condescending. You know, I like talking to you but I’m not going to read a comment that talks to me like I’m stupid all the way through it.

        1. That wasn’t focused on you. It was a hysterical rant that came from a build up of emotion.


          1. Ah, man…that sucks. Your post railed about a lot of things I never claimed so I didn’t like it, but you told me you didn’t mean it that way. Being so, I came back to read it…and it’s gone. Sorry, I guess I’m a little sensitive tonight, lol. Maybe I need to go take a few steroids before I go to bed.

            1. I didn’t feel right about leaving it there. Maybe as an original post, but I don’t think that I could replicate it now. I need to chill, and go to bed.

              1. Don’t worry about repeating it. I understand why you removed it…..because I misunderstood your intent. Sleep good.

      1. Yeah, I already conceded that 40 people isn’t that many. My original point isn’t valid.

  15. If they held their Bible studies on Monday night, they could invite everyone for Monday night football …. no problem. Or golf, or cooking channel, home improvement, etc. Find a channel, any channel and tell the city to stick it in their ear (I’m being nice.)

    Good grief, they have like 4 acres it’s not like he’s doing any damage to the neighborhood.

    1. But isn’t forty people in a regular house with no safety steps taken a lot of people? Other than that I don’t see a problem with it.

      1. Think of it this way. What if Mitt Romney’s family got together every week? They must have at least 40 people in their family. Would that be too much?

        1. Lol, considering that he has a mansion that would be about one person to every three rooms.

          I get your point. I’ve never had 40 people in my house so I’m really not sure. I’ve been to parties where there were over 100, but most were outside.

          Ok, maybe 40 people isn’t as bad as I thought.

      2. The gatherings are no longer in their home, but in the “recreation” room they built on their property. People should be able to make their own choices whether or not it is safe. Frankly, I think it’s none of the city governments business what they do with their property unless they are breaking criminal law, not city stupid regs.

        I say they should put in a big screen TV tuned into the cooking channel and call it BAM night.

        1. I can understand that. Maybe the city codes are excessive and not necessary. However, you know that if you violate city code you will be fined or jailed. That’s just the way it is no matter how dumb the codes are.

      3. I wonder who made the complaint and why – or was it initiated by govt critters on their own.

        1. That’s a good point. The reporter said the neighbors don’t like what he’s doing, so evidently it could have been anyone. I don’t know why the neighbors would complain if he wasn’t bothering them…..I wouldn’t.

          A lot of times there’s a lot more to the story than what we are being told.

    2. Depending on the neighborhood, parking 20 cars around on a regular basis could be a problem. It certainly would be in my cul-de-sac of small lots and McMansions.

      1. Well, I guess if you own 4 acres rather than being restricted to a cul-de-sac that would change the narrative, right? Please get you facts straight before posting a comment.

          1. Sorry but I’m not going to spoon feed you the facts on this one. Usually I would post links, but this time I’m not going to do it. Do your own research, and check back in with us. While you’re at it you might want to take a course or 2 at Hillsdale College.

  16. Building codes and safety? Like he said, if they’d been gathering every week to play bridge would he have needed to follow the building codes?

    If they were gathering to yodle to allah, there’d be no problem.

    1. Just start calling the house a mosque and you won’t see a government official go near the place.

      1. Yeah, the officials would be falling all over themselves to protect him if he were muslim.

        1. Someone else posed the question of who it was that complained, and it made me realize that the reporter did say the neighbors didn’t like what he was doing. I wonder if the neighbors may have been complaining because the traffic was a nuisance? The city might have gotten tired of dealing with angry neighbors, possibly?

    1. Or Amish. The Amish always hold services in homes of different members; never in a church. But since it is a 3 hour service and spoken in German, maybe they get a pass.

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