Tag Archives: religion

Rutherford Institute Files Habeas Corpus Petition in Federal District Court for Phoenix Man Jailed for Home Bible Studies

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona in the case of a Phoenix man who is serving a 60-day jail sentence and was fined more than $12,000 for using his private residential property to host a weekly Bible study, allegedly in violation of the city’s building codes. Institute attorneys are challenging the legality of Michael Salman’s imprisonment as a violation of his First Amendment and statutory rights to religious freedom and assembly, in addition to challenging the City’s assertion that if a person holds Bible studies or other forms of religious worship at his residence, he is required to comply with all local laws relating to an actual church that is open to the public. This latest filing comes after Institute attorneys petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for habeas corpus relief, to no avail. Upon his eventual release from Lower Buckeye Jail, Salman will additionally be subjected to home arrest and random home inspections for allegedly violating his probation by continuing to hold Bible studies on his private property after being ordered not to have more than 12 people gathered on his property at any one time.

“While Michael Salman should never have been charged with a crime for simply exercising his religious beliefs on his own property, to keep him in prison while the question of his basic rights is being considered is the ultimate injustice,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The continued imprisonment of Michael Salman for simply worshipping God with his family and friends on his own property demonstrates the lengths to which government bureaucrats will go in service of imposing dubious regulations on average citizens.”

Since 2005, Michael Salman and his wife Suzanne have hosted Bible studies for family and friends. However, after some neighbors allegedly complained about the gatherings, city officials got involved. In 2007, city officials ordered the Salmans to stop holding the Bible studies in their home, insisting that they were in violation of the zoning ordinance and construction code. The Salmans subsequently erected a 2,000-square-foot building in their backyard, large enough to hold approximately 40 people, which they proceeded to use for their weekly Bible studies. Attendees parked their vehicles on the Salmans’ 1.5 acre property. In June 2009, nearly a dozen police officers, accompanied by city inspectors, raided the Salmans’ property, searching for violations. Having determined that Salman’s weekly Bible studies constituted a church, city officials subsequently charged Salman with being in violation of various code regulations that apply to commercial and public buildings, including having no emergency exit signs over the doors, no handicap parking spaces or handicap ramps. Salman was later found guilty of 67 code violations. In coming to Salman’s defense, The Rutherford Institute is challenging the city’s assertion that “Bible studies are not allowed to be conducted in your residence or the barn on your property as these structures do not comply with the construction code for this use.” The Institute argues that Salman’s religious gatherings should have been treated as accessory uses under the regulations governing residential property. However, city officials claim that they can treat the Bible studies differently than family reunions, football parties or Boy Scouts solely because they are “religious worship.”

Sleep, Religion and Politics

Kelly Bulkeley is a scholar who specializes in dream research. Some of his books include Dreaming in the Classroom, American Dreaming, and Dreaming in the World’s Religions. From his research, Bulkeley has discovered the following:

1. Conservatives are more likely to sleep well and report fewer dreams, and liberals are more likely to sleep worse and report more dreams.

2. The most religiously observant Americans (attend a worship service more than once a week) report better sleep and fewer dreams than the least religious Americans (never attend a worship service).

3. A surprisingly frequent type of dream among both conservatives and liberals is a nightmare about work.

It must be stated here that school students would do well not to dream in the classroom. They will get better grades and therefore parents will sleep better. As for religion and politics, I wonder if liberals give their conservative neighbors nightmares or cause them other forms sleep disturbances. Of course, if both regard each other as fascist or Nazis, it is likely that nightmares and sleep deprivations are mutual experiences.

Kelly Bulkeley’s website is http://kellybulkeley.com.

Minister Threatened for Promoting Religious Liberty

After announcing the “Rally for Religious Free Speech” an event to challenge the recent Hate Crime Bill signed by President Obama, Rev. Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, a sponsor of the event, received a threatening e-mail saying, “I’ll be in Washington on the 16th and I know what you look like.”

“Because of the recent domestic terrorism at Ft Hood and the documented escalation of threats of violence by homosexual activists against Christians, we are taking all threats very seriously and reporting all such threats to the FBI,” said Dr. Gary Cass.

In the fallout after Maine’s voters recently rejected homosexual marriage, Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality has documented the increasing violent threats against Christians.

“We will not let the homosexual activists intimidate us,” said Dr. Cass. “It just makes us that much more determined to stand for biblical truth and to pray for God to grant them repentance and find forgiveness in Jesus Christ.”

The Rally for Religious Free Speech will occur on Monday, November 16th at 1:30 in front of the Department of Justice in Washington DC. Ministers from various denominations will be preaching the biblical truth about homosexual sin.

The rally is intended to assert the right to preach in the public square the truth about homosexuality because the hate crime bill has had a very chilling effect on religious free speech. Under the bill ministers can be investigated and convicted by the Federal Government for incitement to hate crimes simply by preaching the Bible.

The event will start with a press conference and a letter will be presented to AG Holder to express the multiple constitutional concerns the hate bill raises. Matt Staver of Liberty Council will be representing the group. After the event in front of the DOJ a prayer vigil will be held outside of the Human Rights Commission.

Source: Christian Newswire, November 11, 2009