Monday, June 1, 2009

So Much For Separation of Church & State

A San Diego, California couple have found themselves on the wrong side of the law. For conducting Bible study. According to this story, Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been warned to stop the informal weekly gatherings of about 15 in their home unless they fork over thousands for a permit. Their attorney, Dean Broyles said “For churches and religious assemblies there's big parking concerns, there's environmental impact concerns when you have hundreds or thousands of people gathering. But this is a different situation, and we believe that the application of the religious assembly principles to this Bible study is certainly misplaced."

This case, of course, has frightening implications. Millions of people across the country meet in private homes weekly across the country for religious gatherings. Bible studies, small groups and fellowship groups- these meetings have been and are quite common place. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons go door to door to conduct such studies as part of their faith. Why the intrusion now? I’m not sure, but even the official’s biased questions to the couple are discriminatory: “The county asked, 'Do you have a regular meeting in your home?' She said, 'Yes.' 'Do you say amen?' 'Yes.' 'Do you pray?' 'Yes.' 'Do you say praise the Lord?' 'Yes.’” But without such intrusive questions, there would’ve been no threats of fines, since people get together all the time for plenty of non-religious fare such as Tupperware parties, game nights and to watch sports. Is this the future of the U.S.? I pray not, but I’m not too hopeful.

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