Jump to content



Photo

Arizona homeowner in jail for hosting Bible study

building code and ordinances phoenix

  • Please log in to reply
18 replies to this topic

#1 Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • 62,092 posts
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 10 July 2012 - 22:24

A Phoenix man who violated city zoning laws by hosting a Bible study in the privacy of his home has started serving a 60-day jail sentence for his crimes.

Michael Salman was found guilty in the City of Phoenix Court of 67 code violations. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail along with three years of probation and a $12,180 fine. A spokesperson for the city attorney confirmed that Salman reported to a county jail Monday afternoon.

Members of Salman’s Bible study group posted video of their teacher as he self-reported to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office. It was an emotional scene.

“We believe that people should not be prohibiting other people from having Bible studies in their homes,” Salman said outside the jail. “We believe what they are doing is wrong. It’s private property. It’s our home.”

Salman embraced some of his Bible study members before offering final remarks.

“At the very end, after all is said and done, God will ultimately have glory in this,” he said. “We do this for the glory of the Lord.”

Someone off camera could be heard remarking, “I love you, pastor.”

Salman’s incarceration is the result of a long-running feud between the ordained pastor and the city of Phoenix over weekly Bible studies that Salman and his wife hosted in their home. City officials determined that the weekly gatherings constituted a church – and therefore violated a number of code regulations.

The controversy erupted in 2009 when nearly a dozen police officers raided the Salman’s home and a 2,000 square foot building in their backyard. The family had moved their Bible study into the building after the group outgrew their living room.

The charges that sent Salman to jail were a result of that raid – ranging from not posting exit lights above their doors – to not having handicap ramps or handicap parking.

Salman told Fox News Radio the attacks on his family were nothing more than a crackdown on religious liberty.

“They’re attacking what I – as a Christian – do in the privacy of my home,” he said. “At what point does the government have the right to state that you cannot have family and friends over at your home three times a week?”

But city officials said it was a matter of zoning and proper permitting – not religious freedom. They said he was given a permit to convert a garage into a game room – not a church.

“Any other occupancy or use – business, commercial, assembly, church, etc. is expressly prohibited pursuant to the city of Phoenix building code and ordinances,” said Vicki Hill, the chief assistant city prosecutor.

full story


#2 Growled

Growled

    Neowinian Senior

  • 41,508 posts
  • Joined: 17-December 08
  • Location: USA

Posted 11 July 2012 - 00:40

That's the silliest thing I've ever seen. A man should be able to do what he wants in the freedom of his home, as long as he is harming no one else.

#3 OP Hum

Hum

    totally wAcKed

  • 62,092 posts
  • Joined: 05-October 03
  • Location: Odder Space
  • OS: Windows XP, 7

Posted 11 July 2012 - 00:42

^ Well, I guess there is a limit to the number of people you can have in there at once, like restaurants.

There needs to be so many 'exits', fire detectors.

There are also possible problems with noise and street traffic, parking.

#4 Growled

Growled

    Neowinian Senior

  • 41,508 posts
  • Joined: 17-December 08
  • Location: USA

Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:36

That's just too much government regulation for me.

#5 Javik

Javik

    Beware the tyrrany of those that wield power

  • 5,886 posts
  • Joined: 21-May 12

Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:40

I'm sure it won't be long before the usual suspects come out saying they're being persecuted just for being Christians, but it seems to me they simply seem to be part of the growing trend of people that think religious faith should grant people dispensation to break the law. If you want to host religious gatherings file the paperwork and do it legally.

#6 Guest_nicconics_*

Guest_nicconics_*
  • Joined: --

Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:41

That's just too much government regulation for me.

And if something were to happen, and a ******** of people got killed, their relatives would want to sue the sate saying it "Should have done something". So they did.
If he wants to do what he is doing, all he has to do is build a church. He could have used the 2000 sq foot building for it.

#7 COKid

COKid

    Neowinian Senior

  • 2,916 posts
  • Joined: 07-April 10
  • Location: Loveland, CO

Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:45

67 code violations? Sounds like he thought he could just do whatever the hell he wanted, regardless of the laws in place. Then he goes to Fox News and complains about religious liberty. Sorry, the codes are there for a reason. Don't like it? Change them.

#8 Javik

Javik

    Beware the tyrrany of those that wield power

  • 5,886 posts
  • Joined: 21-May 12

Posted 11 July 2012 - 01:55

Why am I not surprised that Fox News picked this story up.

#9 *RedBull*

*RedBull*

    skippy de do da

  • 4,640 posts
  • Joined: 30-March 06
  • Location: Everywhere and No where
  • OS: Windows 8 professional
  • Phone: Android

Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:45

Well based on the statement of gameroom not a church I would think the man has a good law suit. Otherwise the title of the article was not correct. Nothing wrong with Fox picking up the story. Can't expect the Libro Homophilic CNN ta do it now eh? Anyway, I agree that it's not right for a city to say how many people he could have in his garage, or what they would be doing in said garage, and definately not restrict his freedom of religion. Hope he gets a good lawyer.

#10 Richteralan

Richteralan

    Neowinian Senior

  • 2,354 posts
  • Joined: 03-February 03
  • Location: Madison, Wisconsin
  • OS: Windows 7 Pro
  • Phone: Nexus 4 E960

Posted 11 July 2012 - 02:48

Let's hope this won't turn into another religion vs. atheists thread.

You cheer for the city's law? Probably you won't be when one day you find out you have to apply for permit just for party with more than 5 person.

#11 rfirth

rfirth

    Software Engineer

  • 4,135 posts
  • Joined: 11-September 09
  • Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • OS: Windows 8
  • Phone: Nokia Lumia 620

Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:00

You cheer for the city's law? Probably you won't be when one day you find out you have to apply for permit just for party with more than 5 person.


He holds services three times per week... in a building permitted only for residential use. This is an issue of safety and 67 code violations.

If he wants a church, get the permits and build a church. If a pastor is holding service in a 2000 square foot building because he can't fit the people in his living room... that's a church.

If there was a fire and people died, people could have sued the city for knowingly allowing this to continue.

#12 soniqstylz

soniqstylz

    Neowin Trophy Slore

  • 8,647 posts
  • Joined: 30-September 06
  • Location: In your panty drawer

Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:08

I'm sure it won't be long before the usual suspects come out saying they're being persecuted just for being Christians, but it seems to me they simply seem to be part of the growing trend of people that think religious faith should grant people dispensation to break the law. If you want to host religious gatherings file the paperwork and do it legally.


It's not even that, it's a dispute between him and another pastor. It's not secularists or athiests attacking, it's another Christian.

EDIT: no wait, I read that wrong, it's the city being asses. I dunno anymore.

Although I agree with Growled that there's no reason he can't do this in the privacy of his own home (imho). ****, just call it a book club, using the same book over and over.

#13 Ryoken

Ryoken

    The Other Other White Meat

  • 2,417 posts
  • Joined: 10-September 09
  • Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
  • OS: Windows 7 x64, MacOS
  • Phone: iPhone 4S, Nexus 7, iPad Mini

Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:15

So the man isn't going to jail for hosting Bible Study..

He's going to jail after being repeatedly warned, and having previous arrests.

And it's not really a study when you build another building to have it in.. I agree with the courts, it's a Church at that point.. Bible study, or any other, is a dozen or so people in a living room..

#14 nvllsvm

nvllsvm

    Neowinian Senior

  • 1,575 posts
  • Joined: 27-July 05
  • OS: Arch Linux
  • Phone: Nexus 5

Posted 11 July 2012 - 03:47

He holds services three times per week... in a building permitted only for residential use. This is an issue of safety and 67 code violations.

If he wants a church, get the permits and build a church. If a pastor is holding service in a 2000 square foot building because he can't fit the people in his living room... that's a church.

If there was a fire and people died, people could have sued the city for knowingly allowing this to continue.


I think the even bigger issue is the sheer disrespect for private property rights and a lack of personal responsibility. If he is the proprietor of the building, there should be no limitations as to what he can do with it so long as no one is being harmed without consent. Secondly, an unrelated third party should not be at fault for failing to violate someone's private property based on a what-if.

#15 Ryoken

Ryoken

    The Other Other White Meat

  • 2,417 posts
  • Joined: 10-September 09
  • Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
  • OS: Windows 7 x64, MacOS
  • Phone: iPhone 4S, Nexus 7, iPad Mini

Posted 11 July 2012 - 04:16

I think the even bigger issue is the sheer disrespect for private property rights and a lack of personal responsibility. If he is the proprietor of the building, there should be no limitations as to what he can do with it so long as no one is being harmed without consent. Secondly, an unrelated third party should not be at fault for failing to violate someone's private property based on a what-if.

If that's the case, then I'm gonna put up some skyscraprs right beside your cottage..

There are legal limitations to what you can and can't do on property.. Where you can have rentals, businesses, industrial space, churches, etc. That ship sailed long ago.. Don't want to abide by the rules, sell the property and move somewhere without them.

Another thing, I'm betting at least one person had a problem with it.. After all cops don't go around finding out who has study groups and such. Someone must have brought it to their attention.