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-Florida Couple Face Fines for Hosting Bible Study

by Dr. D ~ September 18th, 2012

1344899837

From Todd Starnes, Fox news:

A Florida family is facing fines for hosting a weekly Bible study in their home – an act that city officials argue violates zoning codes.

Shane and Marlen Roessiger, of Venice, Fla. are facing a $250 per day fine for hosting Friday night prayer and Bible study gatherings that are attended by as many as 10 people.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This is becoming an issue all across the country because several major municipal associations have suggested using zoning codes to limit the amount of worship groups and churches that do not contribute to the tax base.

Most city governments are looking to increase their tax base in the midst of this recession and religious groups are becoming targets on many different fronts since they contribute very little to the city coffers. Zoning laws are becoming the tool of choice in the process. Some churches in America are finding that they can no longer get permission to build or expand on their on property.

Now even home Bible studies are becoming an issue and a target. Religious groups have been meeting in homes for the entire history of our nation without interference but in the last several years small home groups are also beginning to be challenged. 

In this case it is a home Bible study group that averages only 10 people. Fortunately in this case Brad Dacus and Pacific Justice Institute is representing the couple. I expect it to be resolved in the favor of the couple and their Bible study. I have personally met Brad a couple of years ago when he visited VCC and gave us an introduction to his more than able legal group. Since then they have successfully handled a number of similar cases around this area in Southern California.

This is an issue that is obviously not going to away very soon. There are literally 10’s of thousands of similar groups meeting in homes in any giving week across America. Not to mention Cub Scout and girl scout groups and church youth functions meeting in homes.

My sense of it is that only a few that are challenged ever reach public awareness and probably many just find new places to meet rather than face finds and government harassment. It is past time for Christians to stand up and be counted on this issue or the four walls of an ‘official’ church or Synagogue will end up being the only places that one will be able to freely practice ones religion in spite of a Constitution that guarantees far more than that.  It is still day but just barely. The sleeping giant that is the American church must awaken soon before it is too late.           *Top

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