Friday, May 29, 2009

Bureaucrats Crack Down on Home Bible Study

America is rapidly becoming a nation where petty bureaucrats take our money and, quite literally, rule our lives. Amy Davis alerted me to this case in point.

"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.'"

The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.

Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed "unlawful use of land" and told them to "stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit" -- a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars...

"If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?" Broyles [Dean Broyles, attorney with The Western Center For Law & Policy] asked.

The story was broken by a television station in San Diego and on this 10 News web page you can also watch a video clip ("County Responds To Bible Study Controversy" on the right sidebar) with more details. Be sure to note that the bureaucrat never apologizes for the County Code Enforcement Officer's intrusive questions. She completely sidesteps both that matter and the citation leveled at the pastor.

Furthermore, despite her contention that people are free to do whatever they want in their own homes, it's clear from the county's action that that isn't the case at all. For instance, the bureaucrat insists that the government (through the county's niggling County Land Use and Environment Group) has the right to determine "land use" and then regulate it as they seem fit. Yes, she says that a Bible study is "probably in a very gray area" but that didn't stop her agency from its offensive behavior, its heavy-handed tactics and its outrageous order to the pastor to "stop religious assembly" at his house.

That sidebar video story suggests that the county "may be" backing up a bit. But the only evidence for that assumption is that the county is "allowing" (how beneficent of them!) the Bible studies to continue until the matter is settled.


The matter should be settled by an immediate withdrawal of the charges, a direct apology from county officials, and the changing of both the law (as well as the itching urge of bureaucrats to meddle) so that such unconstitutional absurdities do not occur in San Diego County again.