The Prophetic Land
The Daily Jot
Daily reporting and analysis of current events from a biblical and prophetic perspective.
Monday, September 26, 2011
Isn't it just like satan?
The city of San Juan Capistrano, California was founded as a mission by Catholic priest Father Junipero Serra in 1776. According to the city's website: "The first chapel was built, completed, and is still in use today. It is believed to be the oldest church in California, and since it is one of only two still standing where Father Serra is known to have said Mass it is called "Father Serra's Church." But today, the city is embroiled in a fight over religious freedom, as it has fined Charles and Stephanie Fromm $300 for holding regular Bible study groups in their home. The Fromms' face additional $500 fines for each time they hold Bible studies in their home without a city permit.
The LA Times tried to interview city spokeswoman Cathy Salcedo, but she declined. The Times reports that she sent instead a brief email, emphatically denying that the city prohibits home Bible studies. She wrote the Times, "The Fromm case further involves regular meetings on Sunday mornings and Thursday afternoons with up to 50 persons, with impacts on the residential neighborhood on street access and parking." She claims that the fines are about when a residential area becomes a place where people regularly assemble, it is in violation of city ordinances. In order to continue holding the Bible studies, the Fromms' must have a conditional use permit because their meetings constitute a church.
The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) has taken the case on behalf of the Fromms'. PJI says that "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." Chuck Fromm maintains that "the Bible study group, which met on Sunday mornings, until the City threatened further fines, was perfectly suited for his home."
PJI says on its website, "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." PJI says that a conditional use permit could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. There are several Constitutional issues, including the right of religious freedom, the right to peacefully assemble, and the right of privacy. Jude 1:3 instructs us to "earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." And so we should.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!