Pastor David Jones and his wife, Mary, host a weekly Bible study in their home, usually attended by 15 or so folks. A San Diego County code enforcement officer Visited and served the couple with a citation notifying them that they were in violation of county regulations. Stipulating that they must immediately stop “religious assembly” in their home until they applied for and actually received a “major use” permit to continue the gatherings — a process that could end up costing them several thousands dollars if permitted at all.
Dean Broyles, the couples lawyer said in an interview that their rights have been violated:
“The government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion. And I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in their graves if they saw that here in the year 2009 that a pastor and his wife are being told that they can’t have a simple Bible study in their own home.”
There is now an online petition drive sponsored by the The American Family Association asking the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to stop interfering with the rights of folks to have a Bible study in their own home.
Response: It is really hard to understand what these government bureaucrats are thinking—free exercise of religion is guaranteed in this country.
Besides, there are 100’s and probably 1,000’s of Bible studies, home fellowships, and prayer meetings held in private homes all over San Diego County every week. Not to mention Tupperware parties, Amway meetings, Cub Scouts, Girls Scouts, social clubs, and etc.—all held in homes—are these going to be regulated also? If not than this is religious harassment and tantamount to persecution.
To single out Christian meetings and try to regulate what one does in one’s own home is the type of thing that you would expect in tolatarian countries like China. But even in China the church has grown exponentially from 1 million to 100 million or so through home fellowships and the communists have not been able to regulate or stop the Christians from meeting—neither will the ‘tin- horn’ bureaucrats in San Diego.