Last Updated:October 1 @ 07:56 am

Build a church... go to jail?

By Bobby Eberle

Here's a story that's bound to get your attention. A man in Phoenix has been arrested, convicted, and is now starting his jail sentence. What did he do to warrant incarceration? He built a building on his property where he holds a weekly Bible study. The city of Phoenix said the structure violates numerous codes, and thus he had to stop. He did not, and now he's paying the price.

Before we dive into this, I just want everyone to know that I'm going to use terms that I think are appropriate. I always try to describe an issue in the most straightforward way possible and avoid blatantly slanted rhetoric. I mention this, because it's important for this story.

Here's some background from Fox Radio:

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."

If you don't recognize Salman's name, you may remember his story. This is not the first time, his Bible study group has run into trouble with city officials. As reported by the Daily Mail:

Officials said the city has become aware of the meetings after some of Salman's neighbors complained about traffic congestion near his home, although the pastor insists that his guests would always park on his property.

In 2007, the Salmans received a letter from the city prohibiting them from carrying on with the Bible studies in their living room because it was in violation of the construction code.

After two years of relative calm, the feud between the City of Phoenix and the Salmans escalated when they erected a 2,000 square foot building in their backyard. Mr Salman said he applied for and was granted all the appropriate permits and the building has passed a city inspection.

So... it's unfair and unjust, right? I think so, but let's make sure we are dealing with all the facts as uncovered by the news reports.

First, what may have started out as a small Bible study in his home is no longer the case. The meetings are not in his home. They are in a 2,000 square foot building that has a cross, chairs, and a pulpit in it. If it walks like a church and quacks like a church... it's a church.

The permits Salman obtained were for a personal construction such as a game room... not a public gathering facility. As noted in the Daily Mail report, "A January 4, 2010, ruling made it clear that the Salmans are not prohibited from running a church or hosting worship services on their property, but if they do so, they must be in compliance with fire and zoning codes."

The building on their property is not in compliance with those codes.

Here are some reference links to get more of the story:

The City's Side --- Salman's Side

And here's a local news report:

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told Fox Radio that "any time religious freedom or the freedom of speech is infringed upon, Americans should be concerned. We are seeing jurisdictions using zoning ordinances to crack down the exercise of religious freedom."

So there you have it. Is this an attack on religious freedom or is it a case of zoning violations? What do you think?

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121 Comments

  1. BrokerbobComment by Brokerbob
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    He Got a Permit for a GAME ROOM. He put a Commercial Sign and Cross on the Street. He did NOT have a Permit for a Church. They found 67 Code Violations that he refused to correct. I am a Christian. He belongs in Jail. Being a Christian does NOT give you an excuse to disregard the laws.
    This whole story has been twisted

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    • dman63Comment by dman63
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

      Go after the illegals, go after Farrakhan, leave people of prayer alone. So what if he put up signs. 60 days in jail is outrageous and anyone who thinks that is fair probably voted for nobama. He is at war with the church. Pray for this country the Good Lord is not happy with us killing our children in the womb.

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    • Oregon JeffComment by Oregon Jeff
      July 12, 2012 @ 5:16 pm

      dman63, you make no sense.

      The “illegals” are already being gone after.

      Why go after Farrakhan if he hasn’t committed any crimes?

      The “people of prayer” can be left alone when they obey the law. Why should this gentleman be above the law?

      If he’s in violation of the law, shouldn’t he do the time for the crime he’s committed? Perhaps 60 days is “outrageous”, but so was his behavior and choices that landed him in jail to begin with.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

      Brokertbob, you’re correct. As Christians we’re called to obey the laws of the land as long as they don’t violate God’s laws. It would be wrong to knuckle under to state authority if he were merely holding a normal home Bible study. But he was holding church services without meeting proper zoning and safety criteria.

      Some super Christians go out and intentionally violate the law to say they’re being persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. In reality it amounts to fleshly works trying to curry the favor of God. They may be saved but they’re harming the cause of the Gospel.

      dman63 sets up his straw man yet misses. There’re many instances of government interference with churches and their missions including proper public prayer. Over the years there’ve been attempts to force religious organizations such as hospitals to perform abortions, to teach medical students how to perform abortions, and to purchase birth control for employees. Some cities have misused zoning, building code, and public services laws. More of this will come.

      But for dman63 to make the claim that those of us who believe in the rule of law are those who voted for Obama is crass and dishonest. His trying to equate this incident with abortion is also dishonest although we should pray against abortion on demand for any reason at any time. By the way, Farakhan is a man of prayer, but what god he prays to is in doubt.

      A constitutional conservative fundamentalist Christian

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      July 12, 2012 @ 8:39 pm

      When I read stuff like this I think of Jesus’ admonition to “render unto God the things that are God’s and unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”.

      In my long life, I have seen numerous houses, vacant businesses, etc, turned into a “family church”, and this creates certain tax exemptions and benefits. Sometimes these grow into full-time churches but frequently they do not.

      However, that is not the question. Just from the picture I can see at least 3 zone violations” No permit for an exterior sign, insufficient congregational parking OFF the street, and an installation that might be a traffic blind spot or dangerous distraction (cross).

      I am more bothered by his non-Christian attempt of deception. Getting a permit to build a gameroon and building a church instead is nothing more than lying. Perhaps he did it to circumvent zoning restrictions for his area. Look at it this way. If he had been allowed to do this, his next door neighbor may have gotten a similar permit and turned it into a bar and dance hall. Actually, a bar/dance hall might really be closer to a “game room” than a church is.

      Anyway, I, too, consider myself to be a Christian. ANY act of deception – by a “church” or any religious group is condemned in the Bible and reeks of cultism. Can anyone spell Jim Jones?

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    • mcrankComment by mcrank
      July 12, 2012 @ 8:40 pm

      I think this is an instance of how those in the church can give church a bad name. Granted, he got permits for something—though I doubt he was granted a permit to build a church building in a zoned residential area. When stupid things like this are done under the guise of “religious freedom”, it does more damage to the cause than good.

      Zoning restrictions are nothing new—all localities have them for obvious reasons. My impression is that he is not being jailed for his practice of going to church and Bible study, but rather for erecting the wrong type of building in an area where it is not permitted.

      Somebody looking for publicity—bad taste.

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    • commonsenseneededComment by commonsenseneeded
      July 12, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

      But, he built the separate building because the city said he couldn’t hold Bible studies in his livingroom. Don’t you think that’s a bit odd? How does government have a right to say whether you can have a Bible Study in your own home? Houses aren’t rated by capacity, and if they were, there’d be a lot fewer over populated houses filled with illegals.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

      It IS zoned for churches. The city said it had to be bigger. The Church is a go if he get’s construction completed. Money now is the problem. He also needs parking, 1 stall for every church goer. That’ll be a hard one.

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    • Richard KoryComment by Richard Kory
      July 13, 2012 @ 1:02 am

      You’re NOT a true Christian, nor a Patriot. If you were either, you would know that the Constitution guarantees us the Freedom to practice our Christian beliefs as we see fit. ANY law or ordinance which goes against this Constitutional Right is to be deemed null and void. In this new Anti-Christ America, we have spit in the face of God with our LEGALIZED Baby-Slaughter (55 MILLION babies murdered by their Mother and her doctor – and counting since Roe v. Wade in 1973), rampant and encouraged homosexuality (+LEGALIZED sodomy) taught BY LAW in our children’s schools, evolution vs. Biblical Creation, etc., etc. You and most “Christians” in America have a big surprise awaiting you on that soon-coming Judgement Day. Get Ready!

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  2. tnewtonComment by tnewton
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

    Why is it important to focus on the city’s behavior in these stories? In terms of this man, he picked a loosing battle and lost, but what churches should take note is their vulnerability if they encourage their members to have home groups in a city with such regulations. One element that most of these stories (Phoenix, AZ; Gilbert, AZ, Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Bonita, CA, San Juan Capistrano, CA) share is that a neighbor complained to the city about the home group and then the city took action. During one of my discussions on the San Juan Capistrano (SJC) issue, a comment was made that the author was gravely concerned about home groups and believed they posed a physical threat of harm to children due to the traffic that would incur as people arrived to and departed from the group. The comments suggested that such groups should be prevented from meeting and that a city or neighborhood should prevent such meetings. If this perspective continues (and, one would think, expand) so that it becomes mainstream, permits, regulations, and restrictions on home groups will become the norm, not the exception. Churches must recognize the looming prospect and decide if they oppose it or concur with it.

    A city/community targeting home Bible Study groups composed of one to two dozen members (a common size), is more of my concern and not whether this man had or did not have building code violations. My interest in this story concerns the city’s actions between 2007 and 2009 before the building was erected and the trend that is emerging. Once these stories came to light, many of the cities backed down, and in the case of San Juan Capistrano (SJC), rewrote their city code to conform to state code exempting groups less than 50 persons from the permit process (originally, less than 3). The SJC case illustrates the implication of the permit process for a home group/Bible study: it was revealed that once the permit was required, the group would need to provide handicap access and parking, appropriate bathroom facilities, food inspections and preparation/handling licenses (if food is served), etc. (discussed in various articles in the local paper and CBS news).

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    • Comment by AcadGrad81
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      Let’s have some opposition research done on the neighbors who complained in the multiple examples that you cited above in addition to this new one. Were they employed by a taxing authority such as a town or county council? Were they a member of an atheistic group? Can they prove that their “rights” were violated? Did they have ulterior motives?

      If the municipality can prove that it enforced the code or law consistently and fairly without prejudice, then this guy doesn’t seem to have a case. He might have done others a favor by focusing attention on religious and personal liberties and the need to do one’s homework and be wary of overzealous busy-body neighbors. If the number of regular attendees or primary facility usage is the tipping point into a different set of zoning and safety codes and this fellow violated them with eyes fully open, then jail is apparently his deserved outcome. I agree with a previous poster that he should have rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

      If a person wants to build a pole barn or other outbuilding on private property initially declaring a purpose such as personal storage or a garage and then decide later to host a common interest group for regular gatherings such as an amateur radio club, a slot car racing club, a book reading club- does it really matter, or are churches typically set in a different category because of the number of attendees? What if a proposed “church” site turned out to be some other sort of religious group not quite in the mainstream and their studies involved New Age, Satanism or some cult or fringe philosophy? Like it or not, we’d probably have to accommodate them if they played by the local rules and the sideshow with concerned neighbors would be worth paying to see.

      I can understand that zoning laws are in place to manage land usage and growth of an area and to protect property values. How much push-back do we as citizens have available to prevent erosion of our freedoms?

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  3. Ronald Eugene BaderComment by Ronald Eugene Bader
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:38 pm
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  4. Ronald Eugene BaderComment by Ronald Eugene Bader
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

    My question deals with a situation that I have with a neighbor. He has friends over every weekend and they have a good time playing games outside and enjoying being together as friends. They park on the street and no one complains about the parking or the fun they are having. Yet when Christians gather there is a hue and cry about all of the problems that people think could come up and the concerns about traffic blocking the street and being a safety issue. I am fairly sure that none of the Christians go home after drinking a few beers-or more- yet again no one complains about parties other than noise. It is a double standard and yet I have to agree with the city and the building code violations. We have to protect ourselves and our families when we gather. He probably wouldn’t have had problems afterwards if he had complied with the zoning problems.

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  5. Kenneth P. JacobusComment by Kenneth P. Jacobus
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:49 pm

    Small personal Bible study groups in homes should be encouraged. Save the large meetings for the churches in areas that are correctly zoned.

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  6. Rusty BirdComment by Rusty Bird
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    He misrepresented himself. He deserves eveything he got since he asked for it. I agree with brokerbob “Being a Christian does NOT give you an excuse to disregard the laws.”

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    • Antiquityart.comComment by Antiquityart.com
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

      Yes, one must question his thought process; we are called to obey the laws of God and Man when mans laws are not in violations of Gods law or our own informed conscience. I think Phoenix is reasonable in definitions delineating between ‘home-bible-study’ and church. More than 50 people twice a week, every week, probably should conform to building code established for churches.
      That said; one must wonder about the pecking order of cases selected to prosecute or not, and the penalties levied.

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  7. WaltComment by Walt
    July 12, 2012 @ 2:59 pm

    What is happening to our Nation a neighbor is more concern about a group that came together to Bible Study, that they may be a fret to his children, when I wonder what he says about the neighbor that has a party of people drinking and having a good old time, more that likely there are drugs at the party also.

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    • Oregon JeffComment by Oregon Jeff
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

      Something tells me the complaints were simply about the number of people regularly gathering and had *zero* to do with the nature of the gathering. In other words, it didn’t matter that they were meeting for bible studies. They could have been meeting to play poker, watch a game on TV, play D&D, etc. The purpose of them meeting is immaterial.

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    • SFret (Jim)Comment by SFret (Jim)
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

      In Phoenix, almost every neighborhood has rules you agree to when you move in. You have 3 days to reject them and pull your contract for a home without penalty.

      Let’s say you wanted to live in a senior neighborhood (your 65) and you want the appearance of the neighborhood to be maintained to standards. THEN, Joe six pack moves in. Garage is open and full of junk. Yard has weeds. Cactus are dying….

      It’s a contract. There are no tricks in Arizona. We had some Zealots in the NT. Usually, they got their head (or attitude) put in their own hands.

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  8. liesmaComment by liesma
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

    Unfortunately, the infractions are clear. Whether non-profit or for profit the building is not residential but commercial in a residentially zoned area. If he spent that much building it, could he not have found what it might have taken to build it in a proper spot? Even if it took longer? It seems as though by claiming it as residential he was also trying to avoid business taxes. Don’t get me wrong. I love churches nearby or next to residential neighborhoods. I think it shows stability and neighbors caring about each other. He just should have made more of an effort to do it correctly, as it sounds as though people in the area would welcome a church–when properly built.

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  9. dcvietvet6975Comment by dcvietvet6975
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

    This is religous persecution, pure and simple. I don’t see a problem with him holding a bible study in his living room, any more than I do with women, or men having bridge, or chess clubs, in their homes!

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

      Actually, this is not religious persecution. If you read the story, it is clear that he was dishonest in his dealings with the city. He has over 1,000 neighbors in that area who all follow the law. And his actions have caused their property value to go down considerably. And do you know what his response was to those neighbors at an HOA meeting? “You all should make sacrifices for God.” He had his chance to comply and now cries foul. Bet he rakes in quite a stash of money from “donations” now that he’s made himself a martyr.

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    • thedoveComment by thedove
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

      >> I don’t see a problem with him holding a bible study in his living room, <<

      Neither does anyone else; but that's not what he's doing. Or do you consider the 2,000 square foot building in his back yard a detached living room?

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

      He was building that building in the back in accordance with the city (being guided by the city) and he was barred from using the Church only until construction was completed. He wasn’t using it, he was using his house.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

      genesal, he falsified the reason for the building. Different uses have different safety requirements.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

      Read the whole story, he falsified nothing

      http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/

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  10. SFret (Jim)Comment by SFret (Jim)
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:13 pm

    This guy cannot be IGNORANT. When you buy into a phoenix area community, the law says you must have 3 days to review the COVENENTS of the community.

    Now, he may be ignorant of the difference between a personal use and a public use. Still, he’s the one who filled out the permit application. He should have stated that he was having a gathering of approximately XX people for a bible study.

    IGNORANCE people. But, how about common courtesy? Just because they have parties next door, do you do PAYBACKS? The NT is clear about that.

    Everything we do should be done carefully as not to offend the unsaved. Paul would not eat meat….

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  11. dman63Comment by dman63
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    Shut down planned parenthood that murders babies. Long term and short term babies are hacked to death and they are worried by a small group of believers. Get ready, the church and it people will be under siege if nobama gets in again. Pray hard and sacrifice.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

      dman63, who on this forum is advocating abortions by Planned Parenthood? Do you know what this specific forum is about?

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    • dman63Comment by dman63
      July 14, 2012 @ 9:58 am

      Recce1. You missed the point planned parenthood has violated numerous laws committs atrocious such as underage and late term abortions and no one in the city or state goes after them but a guy praying in his house with others is offensive. It like the bald eagle and baby elephants are endangered in this country babies are not.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 15, 2012 @ 4:09 am

      dman63, with all due respect I don’t believe I missed the point at all. I completely agree with you about the holocaust Planned Parenthood is part of. It’s worse than what the Nazis did. I also agree that our politicians and authorities have their priorities sorely misplaced or flat out wrong. You’re certainly right in implying one could get in far more trouble with the law for destroying a Bald Eagle’s egg, even accidently, than for unlawfully aborting a baby or even punching a pregnant woman and causing a miscarriage in many states.

      Yet I see many on this forum bringing up extraneous matters as if to justify Christians lying and breaking the law. One of the worst is genesal who has become aggressively insolent and dishonest, so much so as to cause me to doubt his claim to faith and patriotism. Another is Richard Kory. This is a conservative forum with many people of faith posting on it. So it’s imperative that on particular forums we focus on the matter at hand. Being prosecuted for disobeying a moral and constitutional law isn’t persecution.

      This particular forum isn’t about abortion, sexual perversions, or other nations that suppress Christianity. It’s about a Christian who falsified a building permit application, lied, and disregarded moral and constitutional zoning laws and building and safety codes. Am I wrong that this is what this forum is about?

      Are we saying because others steal, rape, and murder it’s ok for Christians to lie and disregard building codes? That’s my whole point which unfortunately you have seemed to miss.

      Regards
      Bob

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 15, 2012 @ 9:11 am

      dman63
      don’t worry about recce she has to go to her professor or quote books and letters. college kid you know. the Supreme Court has broke the law, the White House has broke the law, Congress has broke and not upholding the laws. there is no ‘rule of law’ any more and she’s worried about one man and his atrocious ‘building code violation’. And I don’t blame her in fact the assistant DA wants to put him in prison for 2 1/2 years. Dang for no exit sign and no handicap sign. Break out the stocks and the tar and feathers. (sarcasm off)

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      July 15, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

      recce1 – I sincerely appreciate your posts. You keep trying to bring dman63 et al BACK to the topic at hand.

      As an English major (BSEdn MSEdn MA) it really aggravates me when poster ignore the subject under discussion and try to turn the topic into another direction. I consider this the same as the (ignorant, uneducated, ego-centeed) person who keeps rudely interrupting with non-subject questions (or ANY questions) while another person is speaking. The message that person is sending is, “I am not interested in what 1you are saying. My opinion is the only one that counts.”

      Having said that, the Bible (Christ) condemns lack of truthfulness, deception, and falsehood. Many of these posts IGNORE the original com0plaint was NOT that he was conducting Bible study and prayer in his private home. Even the article writer erred by emphasizing this. The original complaint was traffic congestion. Although the article does not say, he evidently corrected that problem – at least enough to comply with state requirement – UNTIL he decided to build a church.

      He applied for a permit, justifying it by claiming to build a “gameroom” for his and his fammily’s personal used. It was approved on that basis. BUT – that was a LIE and a DECEPTION! Something no Christian should ever do.

      Additionally, although some off-street parking was provided, it was insufficient and again the traffic congestion progrom was multiplied. Worst of all, he installed a cross and a permanent sign in a position that caused a hazard (blocking view of other drivers). Then, when confronted with these programs, he refused to comply. It does NOT matter what kind of facility (some suggested a honky tonk), these hazards cannot be permitted.

      I am a “practicing” Christian, and it perturbs me when ANYONE claims persecution as a Christian for doing illegal things or practices that is or can be harmful to others. That is NOT a Christian attitude.

      Can anyone spell Jim Jones?

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 17, 2012 @ 11:18 am

      Genesal, all you prove in mocking me by falsely implying I’m a woman when I’ve indicated otherwise is that you have a thing about men and that you’re indeed puerile. You’re quite unable to hold a cogent discussion.

      However, you’re right about my using academic sources. I don’t spew “facts” and accusations from an unstable imagination. Maybe that explains why you’re unable to debate civilly or intelligently or to understand simple facts.

      I do refer to professors, judges (like Judge Story), patriots (like those who wrote the Federalist Papers), books (like the Bible), laws and codes (like Appellate Court rulings), and US documents (like the Constitution), particularly since I’m a graduate student in political science. I believe I know a might more about the subject than you do.

      Nor do I knock higher education like you do. I find it really sad that you’re an aggressive puerile aliterate ignoramus. I’ve met those who aggressively assert that ignorance is preferable to learning. That way they don’t have to get confused by facts.

      Please tell me when I wrote that Salman had committed an “atrocious ‘building code violation’” You can’t because you made it up out of thin air, proving that you’re a liar bearing false witness. You again try to justify Salman’s violation of the law by pointing to other violations. I guess you mother never taught you that two wrongs don’t make a right. Again you show you’re not a Christian.

      Oh, by the way, since you believe everyone has broken the law, does that not equally apply to you? When you were in the Army as an MP did you abuse women prisoners or children? Be honest.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 17, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

      rebecca you’re funny girl!

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  12. 19lrae33Comment by 19lrae33
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:34 pm

    Seems like an extreme penalty for violating a building code. I am guessing spoken words offended someone with power (local government) and I or we will show him was the result.

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    • SFret (Jim)Comment by SFret (Jim)
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

      He wouldn’t comply with the rules everybody else had to. Court? Spit in the face and you better be able to back up the fight.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 4:56 pm

      19Irae33, perhaps the monetary fine is harsh, but he has a history of run-ins with the law. First he got a permit to build a garage. He didn’t build it. Then he got a permit for a game room which specifically prohibited other uses. In addition, he had over 90 safety and fire code violations considering what he was using the 2000 sq. ft. “game” room for, a church meeting hall.

      By the way, Salman is a former gang member who was convicted for a drive-by shooting and impersonating a police officer. It’s great that he’s found Jesus and repented. But that still doesn’t give him the right to disregard reasonable zoning and building codes or God’s command to obey the civil laws when they aren’t in violation of His laws.

      Nothing else is germane to this forum despite a number of “super” Christians trying to obfuscate the issue and some like Richard Kory bearing false witness against Christians and patriots.

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  13. Waitsel SmithComment by Waitsel Smith
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:38 pm

    Back in the 1970s, when I was in college at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, I lived in an off-campus house known as the Way Home. It was a two-story house. Behind the house, and connected to it by a breezeway, was a building known as the Biblical Research Center. There we held meetings, worship services, etc. We needed no permits. That just goes to show how much things have changed. People weren’t trying to restrict people from exercising their freedoms back then – not like they do now. We have so many codes, ordinances, rules and regulations that nothing is fun anymore. People today don’t realize just how restricted they are because they’ve never lived in a world without restrictions. But I can tell you, we’re living in 1984 (George Orwell’s classic novel about out-of-control government restrictions). I believe a person ought to be able to build pretty much anything they like on their own property – otherwise, it’s not really their property. Is it?

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

      Yeah… things have changed for sure. I’ve been going to home fellowships for 20 years, but when they got so big we were hanging out the windows, someone else would rise up and coordinate another fellowship in their home. As I read this article, I found it interesting that this man knowingly deceived the city in the purpose for his building. Some codes are for protection. If there were ever an emergency at the church and EMT’s could not get through 15-20 cars, we would all be saying, “where were the inspectors… how could this happen?” We just can’t have it both ways. I do not question this pastor’s motivation, but I do believe he lacked wisdom. Just sayin’.

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    • Antiquityart.comComment by Antiquityart.com
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:05 pm

      I am afraid I am inclined to agree with much of your point. But surely you wouldn’t stop building codes or zoning restrictions? We have a 6.0 earth quake and a few cans of tomatoes fall from a shelf. 6.0 in the third world means walls and buildings fall killing people both outside and inside. How bout no porn shops next to elementary schools? Industrial pollutants into water and air..Etc. From there we reason out what makes sense and what doesn’t. A single family residential home, in a sub division of similar homes, a 2000 square feet building in the backyard, 80 people twice a week, every week, tithing, permanent marque…That’s a church and should conform to building codes and zoning for churches. It’s reasonable.

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    • SFret (Jim)Comment by SFret (Jim)
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

      Orwell? YES.

      I lived in 1960′s California, 1960′s/70′s Georgia and Finished in Dallas (growing up). Even then, California made great neighborhoods. Pools… When we got to GA, it took a long time to get the neighbors to add a pool. And ALL kids loved it.

      Point. In 1970′s GA, Blacks were still treated as inferior and only came in the neighborhood on a bus to be your maid (even middle class).

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  14. n2soonersComment by n2sooners
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:40 pm

    This is right up there with shutting down lemonade stands because of improper permits. Actually, it’s even worse. The constitution clearly states that there should be no laws restricting the free exercise of religion. If cities and states can pass laws to restrict the exercise of religion, then they can also pass laws establishing religion. Either the constitution applies to city and state governments or it doesn’t.

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  15. Richard MoneyComment by Richard Money
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    Unfortunately I have to straddle the fence on this one. The laws existed and this man knew what they were, yet it appears he deliberately misrepresented the purpose of the structure in violation of those laws. As a Christian, we don’t have the right to ignore civilian law unless it directly contradicts God’s law, which these zoning laws did not. My problem with the laws themselves is that I believe people should have a fairly wide latitude on what they do with their own property. My concern with these “zoning laws” is that it is too easy to make the laws so restrictive that an average person cannot meet them, effectively shutting out home bible study. The point of the previous poster regarding traffic safety and such is well-taken…it’s a crock. Tell me this. If you had young children on the block, which situation do you think would be better from a safety standpoint? A whole group of people leaving a home sober and aware, or a whole group of people leaving the home in various states of enebriation? The answer is obvious; the “safety” aspect of the gathering is simply a covering to hide their real agenda, which is wiping out the home study in the first place. The Christians in these cities need to take to the polls and get involved in the process, and let the politicians know we won’t be pushed around by them when it comes to religious exercise.
    In summary, I do believe this man acted somewhat in bad faith, and as a Christian that is wrong. However, I also believe that any laws that restrict religious observance on private property are in violation of the 1st amendment to the Constitution, and as such they need to be challenged and struck down.

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    • davnkatzComment by davnkatz
      July 12, 2012 @ 9:21 pm

      I went back to re-read the article a couple of times. The ORIGINAL complaint was NOT bible study in a private home (although the article writer deceptively attempts to make it look that way). The complaint concerned “traffic congestion”.

      If the original situation was drinking and sex parties in a private home, and neighbors complained about “traffic congestion”, would we even be having this conversation? I think not.

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  16. Joseph SlabaughComment by Joseph Slabaugh
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

    I read the report on the Daily Mail, and it had a lot of “its religious persecution” type comments, and I shared the link on fb, and got that type of comments there too, but my personal feeling is more like the person on this article, where I believe it was more about zoning, and I personally would hate to live in a town like that, but he could have fixed the code violations, and continued the meetings.

    As for the talk about parking on the street, it made it clear that in this case, the guy had off-street parking, so it was not a problem parse, but at least if he had the proper permits, the city could have put up signs to warn motorists that there was a meeting place there in the area.

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  17. snowflakeComment by snowflake
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    I cannot let this one pass…I must comment. I believe that the 2000 square foot building was constructed and met codes for a rec room, etc. Why cannot a rec room be used to host a Bible study as well? And, if I chose to construct a rec room on my property, why on earth should I not be allowed to host a Bible study there, if I so choose. If I constructed that addition to meet codes as a church, costs would be prohibitive!…(Handicap his and her bathrooms, ramps, water sprinkler systems for fire, probably striped parking lots, too.) And it is not a church; it is a home with a multi-purpose or rec room that is also used for meetings. There is no reason whatsoever that this family should not be able to construct a building, a multi-purpose building, and also use it for Bible studies. If he were to sell his property, it would be sold with the additional room, as that is what it is…additional space; not a house with a church on the property.

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    • Antiquityart.comComment by Antiquityart.com
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

      You leave out a lot of facts in your rational…a marque out front, tithing, 80 people twice a week, every week…but I agree with some of your point; his and hers handicapped equiped
      restrooms etc do seem excessive.

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  18. calneffComment by calneff
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

    Christ Himself said, “Render unto Caesar what is his. Render unto God what is his.” A statement so patently simple as to be so commonly misunderstood. The City has a lawful responsibility to
    protect the safety of the public. This includes assurance that all
    buildings are indeed suitable for their intended use. Private, not open to the public, building have far different construction codes
    and regulations than do open to the public buildings. For public
    buildings things like handicap access and parking, a tougher electrical, plumbing, Fire Marshall, and HVAC codes are just a few.
    A home game room is a far cry from anything Mr. Salman really intended. Bluntly, he lied. When put the sign announcing the Bible Study his “family game room” became a public building and
    subject to the zoning and building codes at that location.
    Mr. Salman, serve your time, pay your fines and any other stipulations in your sentence and repent. In repentance you will also gain the forgiveness of Jesus as well as the city.
    Remember that Christians are well advised to be straight forward,
    honorable and also wise as serpents. Christianity is not a license to be stupid.
    Please heed this good advice. Make the proper amends to the City
    and to your “Congregation”. Get things right because we need all
    of the Bibles Studies we can get in keeping America on the straight and narrow path.

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    • bulldogComment by bulldog
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

      I understand your point, but the constitution clearly states that there should be no laws restricting the free exercise of religion.

      As such, all laws restricting free exercise of religion, including building codes, need to be struck down as a violation of the 1st Amendment of the constitution.

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    • Antiquityart.comComment by Antiquityart.com
      July 12, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

      Calneff has best expressed my thoughts. I rated that opinion 5 stars. And one more very important point: The city of Phoenix would have said nothing if the group had remained 50 or less, which is a very reasonable number to arrive at.

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    • skepticaleyeComment by skepticaleye
      July 12, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

      bulldog, your comments are inanely simplistic. You are using the Constitution as though there is no need for any other law but the Constitution. If that were true, why are there so many other Federal, State, County and City laws?

      (deep breath) … because the Constitution is the foundation and does not provide the specificity, the detail to govern every day life. Stop waving this red herring of an argument.

      But this goes further: If you want to wave your 1st Amendment argument, get ready for that Muslim who wants to start a mosque with 200 members next door to you. What, that’s uncomfortable to you as a Christian? Too bad. It’s likely that some people in the neighborhood had some anti-religious feeling and that plays into this. There is far too much stupid anti-religiousness these days. But I’ve been just as much upset by a loud, huge, wild party next door with too many people.

      Developers and city planners have changed over the decades. Houses are now built very close together; city populations are in the hundreds of thousands and even millions. Driveways are short, curb space is close, streets are narrow. Cars make it easy for any to drive 25 miles to anywhere. So neighborhoods are created with strict CCRs and tough building codes. EVERYONE is concerned about property values. And there are so many planners these days who exclude property for churches in their plan. It doesn’t pay property tax! It doesn’t bring in the revenue!

      I’m trying to think about this from the average neighbor’s perspective. I live 10 houses away, and EVERY Sunday 80 cars park in the neighborhood. I have to go to the store for 10 minutes on a Sunday morning for cereal, come back and find the space I park in in front of my house is GONE for 2-4 hours because of this study, 10 houses away. I have to park 10 houses away from my own house!

      Mr. Salman was not clever as a serpent. If a group with 80 cars wants to meet together, they can tithe their offerings together for awhile and eventually come up with enough money to find a building to rent in an area zoned for it.

      This is a poorly written story by Ms. Eberle, as though there is an equal possibility of it falling to either side.

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    • bulldogComment by bulldog
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

      @skepticaleye

      I stand by what I said, and yes that would apply to Muslims as well. I would not like that, but would have to live by it, since that is the constitution.

      You may say I over simplify, but in my opinion many of these laws are unconstitutional, and as such should be struck down.

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    • Richard KoryComment by Richard Kory
      July 13, 2012 @ 1:32 am

      bulldog – YOU ARE 1 of only a few here who has GOT IT RIGHT! SOOOOO many ignorant “Americans” who claim to be “Christian” but don’t know the Bible or the Constitution. This once-Christian-nation is in for some more serious JUDGEMENT by our horribly offended and Holy Creator-God. We are soooo far away from the founding Biblical principles that our Founding Fathers established for us, I believe it’s going to take some real persecution to turn America Back to God. Get ready America! And even more important, you phony in-name-only “Christians”, you’d better seriously turn your sinful heart and life over completely to Jesus Christ and live for Him, or you’re in for a big surprise on that soon-coming Judgement Day. Please. He Loves You!

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  19. Bruce A. FrankComment by Bruce A.
    July 12, 2012 @ 3:49 pm

    This article comes nowhere close to the facts that put him in jail! Here are the facts from the Phoenix News Times:

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/2/

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  20. brierebearComment by brierebear
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:08 pm

    Snowflake, you could have a small Bible study in your living room, even build a rec room … which for most families is no more than an extra room, maybe 400 square feet. A 2,000-square-foot rec room in the back yard? How many houses are than size?

    Waitsel, are you saying you should have the right, if you had the space, to construct a multi-story apartment building on your property, neighbors be damned?

    This guy didn’t violate 1 or 10 codes … 67 codes. That’s called willful ignorance of the law.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

      brierebear, it wasn’t willful ignorance of the law, it was willful disregard for the law.

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  21. lizzietookanaxeComment by lizzietookanaxe
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    Be careful what you ask for people. There is no way I would want my neighbors to build a 2000 square foot mosque on their property and you know if this man was allowed to do this the muslims would demand the same.

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  22. dc3533Comment by dc3533
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:13 pm

    My next door neighbor has regular, huge, Saturday night gatherings. They park on our little narrow street. They drink beer and play music. The people spill out to the front yard, driveway and sidewalk.
    No one is forcing them to put up exit signs, provide parking for handicapped,provide men’s and women’s restrooms with facilities for handicapped. They don’t have to have a liquor license and signage, “minors not allowed”. They don’t have to have a fire sprinkler system, emergency lighting, restaurant and food service permits and equipment.
    This problem in Phoenix was caused by Agenda 21 (sustainable development, smart growth, green growth). It is in all of our cities & towns. Obama keeps writing executive orders,which force and fund more of these regulations on us.
    One of the major goals of Agenda 21 is the elimination of private property.
    In the last few months, the environmental police have come into our yards, in my neighborhood, looking for “infractions”. The “partying” neighbor had to rebuild a perfectly good shed, because the new regulations said it had to be an additional 12 inches away from his back fence. But, no restrictions were put on him, or his property, for his regular, weekly, large parties.

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  23. Florence GrantComment by Florence Grant
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:44 pm

    I agree with Mark Harden who posted on FB. I’m afraid it’s another seemingly innocuous small but ever-widening crack in the wall (freedom of worship).

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 10:59 pm

      What wall? Where is the term wall of separation of church and state in the Constitution, or any other American document for that matter? If a city said churches, synagogues, temples, or mosques couldn’t be build in a city that would be impermissible. If they required more onerous conditions to be met for like structures and uses that would be impermissible.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 11:05 pm

      He didn’t say or mean Wall of Separation. He was referring to a crack as in a crack in the Liberty Bell, a crack in our Religious freedoms.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

      Genesal, Florence Grant wrote, “I agree with Mark Harden who posted on FB. I’m afraid it’s another seemingly innocuous small but ever-widening CRACK in the WALL (freedom of worship).” (my emphasis)

      I’ve never heard of a BELL of separation but I have heard of a WALL of separation, something that’s not in the Constitution or any other American document.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 12:43 am

      But he didn’t say I agree with you on the Wall of Separation he said “wall (freedom of worship).

      I never heard of a bell of separation either but a LIBERTY BELL with a crack. Sheeeesh.

      There is NO wall of Separation in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence etc. because there isn’t one..,.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 4:12 am

      Genesal, I specifically wrote, “but I have heard of a WALL of separation, something that’s NOT in the Constitution or any other American document.” (emphasis mine) Do you deny I wrote that? The phrase came from a letter Jefferson wrote to a Danbury, Ct Baptist church which opposed state tax supported denominations, not any American document. You are aware of American history aren’t you?

      It was you who tried to say the “crack in the wall” meant “crack in the Liberty Bell.” Why do you and others aggressively try to reword what others write? Never has any historian or constitutional scholar ever referred to a crack in the wall as meaning the crack in the Liberty Bell, never.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:21 am

      First of all ‘letters’ mean nothing, are not official and Jefferson also called for REVOLUTION every 20 years, so does that we are forced somehow to Revolt and have a Revolution? Hell no.
      and while we’re at it Jefferson also said:
      The policy of the American government is to leave their citizens free, neither restraining nor aiding them in their pursuits.

      or

      The majority, oppressing an individual, is guilty of a crime, abuses its strength, and by acting on the law of the strongest breaks up the foundations of society.

      No it was me who said that the poster was talking about a crack in liberty, “ever-widening crack in the wall (freedom of worship)” Get a grip!

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

      Genesal, nothing I wrote implied that Jefferson’s letters were any type of US document. Are you not able to see that? But it was in those letters where we get the phrase “wall of separation between church and state.” I was showing your support of the egregious misuse of the term “crack in the wall.”

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      So this cut and paste from your post The phrase came from a letter Jefferson wrote was said by you. BS.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 14, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

      Genesal, please look up about the letter written by Jefferson to the Danbury CT Baptist Church. Jefferson was agreeing with the members that the state shouldn’t be using taxes to support state approved denominations. I think you’ve implied that our government indirectly does that with regard to Islam. If so, you’d be correct.

      Unfortunately, many equate the phrase ” a wall of separation between church and state” as something in the Constitution and therefore a basis for claiming that those of faith mustn’t interfere or voice their concerns in state matters when it effects religion. Nothing could be further from the truth.

      The fact is we Christians are commanded to be the salt of the earth and therefore have an obligation to be engaged in the public square. That said, we can’t disobey moral and constitutional laws, but we sure can work to have unfair laws changed. I’m sure you agree many laws, including codes, are unfair.

      By the way, the only cut and paste I do is to refer to previous quotes by me or others when people misinterpret or misapply words. My familiarity with Jefferson’s letter and its implications come from my undergraduate minor in history, political science and economic and by graduate work in political science. I’m a conservative constitutionalist who believes in an exegesis interpretation of the Constitution, and the Bible as well.

      What are your credentials with regards to US history or the Constitution? Do you believe in exegesis interpretation of the Constitution and the Bible? It means not taking words or phrases out of context or changing the meaning of words by “modernizing” them as many liberal/progressive/socialists do. I suspect you agree with taking the Constitution and the Bible at face value, not reinterpreting them to fit some progressive need or agenda, but you need to learn more about both. Hillsdale College has some excellent free courses on the Constitution.

      So Genesal, have I misunderstood your basic contention and view?

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 14, 2012 @ 10:50 pm

      Jefferson wrote a letter, I wrote a letter SO WHAT? Means nothing ya know. Jefferson also wrote to have a Revolution every 20 years, that would be illegal also, wouldn’t you think?
      And of course, yet again you’re wrong. Even in the Military you don’t have to obey that which is unlawful or wrong. In fact you don’t even have to fight, in the Military, just declare CO.
      I don’t think I heard Jesus chastise any body for rebelling against the Romans.
      Do you actually know how many Christians actually broke how many laws in the process of making this country come to fruition? Take it one step further without our Founding Fathers breaking the law there would only be Colonies, still.
      My credentials, deary, are that I voluntarily fought for the Principles about which you speak, enabling you to live free. The Principles that many, including you are too cowardly to do anything but talk about. But my schooling resulted in a a degree in Administration of Justice, they may even teach it at your Liberal Arts school.

      exegesis you mean like were supposed to think that because Jefferson wrote a letter it means anything, as far as the law of the land or the Constitution? Your minor must be in comedy. As far as my view on exegesis, for the Bible I go with Revelation but for the Constitution, plain interpretation will suffice.

      Liberal Arts school, now it all makes sense! Now I understand you. How exegesis (illuminating)!

      By the way there are two types of exegesis concerning the Bible which is your choice?

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 15, 2012 @ 3:23 am

      Genesal, Sadly I must assume I haven’t misunderstood your basic contentions or views. Your arrogant, predisposed, and aggressive obtuseness along with your ad hominem attacks lead me to believe you’re not in complete control of your faculties, that or you’re a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You’re completely unable and unwilling to understand what I wrote, refute one fact or statement, or to look up what I referred to, proving not only your aliteracy but also your semi-illiteracy and intransigency. Sadly you overcompensate with canards, innuendoes, prevarications, and puerile ad hominem attacks. It’s almost like you were an atheist progressive agent provocateur trying to make true conservatives and Christians look like uneducated hillbillies hitting those who dare to disagree with them over the head with twenty pound Bibles.

      You’re wrong about the UCMJ and what it requires. Read (UCMJ) 809 Art. 90 (2)(a)(i), 809.ART.90 (20), 891.Art.91 (2), 892.Art.92 (1), and 892.Art.92 (2). Also, you haven’t a clue as to what the word “exegesis” means, particularly as it applies to the Constitution or the Bible. Otherwise you’d believe in both. Likely you take an eisegetic approach. You don’t even understand the term “aliterate” and are seemingly too timorous to look up its meaning. You completely ignore the SCOTUS 1926 Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365 Decision implying it’s as understandable as a brick wall only further proving your nescience.

      I doubt you’ve ever served in the military, at least not honorably. You completely and intentionally misunderstand what I wrote about Jefferson and its implication about interpreting the Constitution even though what I wrote about it actually supported some of your positions. But hubris will prevent you from admitting that. Sadly, you’re too inerudite by choice to comprehend. You even seem unable or unwilling to comprehend the difference between American documents and what the Founders and Farmers wrote in justifying them. I doubt you even know about what the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers are, let alone have read any of them. I doubt you even know that Jefferson helped Madison write the Constitution or why and when it was written. As for the Bill of Rights in particular, it might as well be Greek to you. Regarding your claim to any type of college degree, or even college education for that matter, particularly in the field of justice, I highly doubt it.

      You intentionally and instinctively bear false witness about others belying your professed belief in the Scriptures. You impute that others are trolls yet it’s you who spews intentionally inflammatory statements and brings up extraneous concerns. So I’ll apologize for a statement I made to another poster about you as obviously I was sadly mistaken. I now firmly believe that you’re neither a Christian nor a patriot, just a benighted prevaricating caitiff undeserving of respect, although deserving of Christian concern.

      So go your way. I recommend that you find Jesus and ask for His forgiveness and also ask for wisdom as in James 1:5. I’ll in pray for you as my “enemy” in accordance to Matthew 5:44. I truly wish that wasn’t the case. Not does it mean, and I beseech you not to insinuate, that I don’t have Christian love for you. Though I doubt you’ll understand, I took an oath that hasn’t gone away despite my injuries in service to this country to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies both foreign and domestic. Sadly, you’re one of the latter.

      Just so you know, unlike the likely false braggart you are, I’m a retired disabled veteran who actually did serve and fight in the military and paid for it. So don’t pretend your courageous, it’s so unseemly. Furthermore, the college and universities I went to were conservative and also specifically Christian, except the excellent secular University of Alaska. Also, my major and minors in college weren’t in Liberal Arts, not that a good liberal arts education is bad, but specifically in mathematics, chemistry, biology, history, economics, and political science, including constitutional exegesis.

      It’s my sincere prayer that you find Jesus and his loving mercy. It’s been of great comfort and strength to me through many blessings and trials.

      Bob

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 15, 2012 @ 9:50 am

      becca
      Are you sure you aren’t a secret liberal? Because you’re using their technique. Can’t win an argument then attack the opponent and you do it so well. Your professors will be so proud of you.

      Here’s a definition as you were apparently unable to answer my question about ‘exegesis’ so at least you will be able to use it correctly the next time you get a chance to show off such as you are trying to do now, using your copious, bloviating, contumacious in a discommodious fashion.

      But all I hear is I know big words bla bla bla bla and now I finally get to use them bla bla bla bla. Now I know what Freud was talking about. Good luck with the Electra Complex. You’ll make a fine Liberal Democrat some day.

      At least two different forms or types of Biblical exegesis exist. They are called Revealed and Rational. Revealed believes the Holy Spirit inspired the Biblical authors of the texts and therefore the words in the Bible convey God’s divine revelation to man. Rational believes that the original writers of the Bible’s books used their own creativity and inspiration (apart from God) to write what they did. In short, some study the Bible believing that God himself directly inspired its writers while others approach the Bible as a collection of stories, fables, myths, etc. brought to life through the creativity and imagination of man. And you’re no disabled veteran and did not FIGHT anywhere, are you one of those ‘stolen valor’ cases? How pathetic. I was in the 2nd Armour Div, 3rd Armour Div, 504the MP Battalion 18th MP Brigade, 146th Road Platoon, 300th MP Co with 7 years in the Military carrying a .45 on my hip so take your ‘vet’ **** and put it where the sun don’t shine. You boo koo dinki dow and not worth the time anymore. Good luck in life you’ll need it. And I was right on the money about your passive aggressive behavior.
      So Dieu vous garde

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 16, 2012 @ 12:36 am

      Thanks for showing your real narrow minded nature as the liar and bigot that you are. With every ad hominem attack you prove you’re no Christian. Does your avatar indicate you’re part of the white supremacist supposed Christian Solidarity Movement?

      Seven years in the military with all that unit designation? Am I supposed to be impressed? However, did you get leave honorably? I only spent 20 years mostly in combat aircraft with the 55th SW and much of the time I also carried a gun. It was only a .38 or 9 mm most of the time. .45s are more dangerous in aircraft. I retired and receive disability, but I assume you believe you’re a psychic and can prove I didn’t.

      Let me say my father spent more time in the Army, 21 years, than you did. So did my great uncle and my father-in-law, both Navy men. So excuse me if I’m not really impressed by your claim of service. But if it was honorable, then thank you for your service.

      However, I imagine you want me to grovel before your larger “thing” that you’d like to put where the sun don’t shine. Perhaps you can explain how such a sentiment is evidence of Christianity? I’ve only heard white supremacist so-called Christians say such things.

      You definitely need the help of the Holy Spirit. And He is more than willing to help. I’ve personally found that out.

      As for your supposed definition of exegesis, here’s something to consider. It’s from http://www.gotquestions.org/exegesis-eisegesis.html

      ——————————————————–

      “What is the difference between exegesis and eisegesis?”

      Answer: Exegesis and eisegesis are two conflicting approaches in Bible study. Exegesis is the exposition or explanation of a text based on a careful, objective analysis. The word exegesis literally means “to lead out of.” That means that the interpreter is led to his conclusions by following the text.

      The opposite approach to Scripture is eisegesis, which is the interpretation of a passage based on a subjective, non-analytical reading. The word eisegesis literally means “to lead into,” which means the interpreter injects his own ideas into the text, making it mean whatever he wants.

      Obviously, only exegesis does justice to the text. Eisegesis is a mishandling of the text and often leads to a misinterpretation. Exegesis is concerned with discovering the true meaning of the text, respecting its grammar, syntax, and setting. Eisegesis is concerned only with making a point, even at the expense of the meaning of words.

      Second Timothy 2:15 commands us to use exegetical methods: “Present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” An honest student of the Bible will be an exegete, allowing the text to speak for itself. Eisegesis easily lends itself to error, as the would-be interpreter attempts to align the text with his own preconceived notions. Exegesis allows us to agree with the Bible; eisegesis seeks to force the Bible to agree with us.

      The process of exegesis involves 1) observation: what does the passage say? 2) interpretation: what does the passage mean? 3) correlation: how does the passage relate to the rest of the Bible? and 4) application: how should this passage affect my life?

      Eisegesis, on the other hand, involves 1) imagination: what idea do I want to present? 2) exploration: what Scripture passage seems to fit with my idea? and 3) application: what does my idea mean? Notice that, in eisegesis, there is no examination of the words of the text or their relationship to each other, no cross-referencing with related passages, and no real desire to understand the actual meaning. Scripture serves only as a prop to the interpreter’s idea.

      —————————————————————-

      This indicates that you’ve rolled both exegesis and eisegisis into one definition. Perhaps you’d like to post your source for you definition. As for my view of Scripture, I believe it was revealed to men by the living God thru the Holy Spirit. Do you not imply that’s your view as well? So live by it. It’s life. Personally I’d rather be your brother in Christ than an enemy.

      In any event, I fear you’ll likely not learn from the above definition or from anything I’ve written. It seems you’ve intentionally closed your mind to all but hatred. Your pride and your hatred are far too great. I’m saddened to see that. Also I’ll dare say your diatribe shows you to be actively aggressive, likely a red necked racist bigoted bully. You really need to find Christ. So, may God have mercy on your soul.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 16, 2012 @ 1:52 am

      What I’d like to know is how you got into a Christian College. Oh yeah Lib Arts. haha
      Let’s see you lied you bragged you called names you judged many here and you judged the subject of this article. You accuse others (don’t they teach about the mote) where you spend your time. You’re actually pretty good at calling names, you cHristian, congrats.
      Had to have the last word like I said, huh?
      As I said before (and you’ll have to look it up also)(with all the other words you had to)
      Dieu vous garde

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  24. SFret (Jim)Comment by SFret (Jim)
    July 12, 2012 @ 4:50 pm

    The MODERN AMERICAN CHRISTIAN CHURCH is starting to sound like other group complainers. It’s hard to find one that tries to project good and doesn’t focus on money.

    The guy broke the law. Don’t like it? Start a referendum.

    In the meantime, I’m going to build an outhouse next to the fence between me and the neighbor.

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  25. genesalComment by genesal
    July 12, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

    How many times I’ve heard “That’s a KNOWN Crack House” and yet they exist and yet nobody does anything about them.

    How many Churches harbor “Illegal Alien Fugitives” and yet they exist and yet nobody does anything about them.

    How many Cities break the law by becoming “Sanctuary Cities” protecting “Illegal Alien Fugitives” and yet they exist and yet nobody does anything about them.

    And how many laws do the Federal government ignore? Not just ignore but also keep States from enforcing the laws?

    In our neighborhoods they have microbreweries and they are getting permission to expand further into the neighborhoods. No off road parking, to boot.

    And yet they’re worried about study groups? Worship at home and go to jail. Good and evil are upside down in this New Fangled America we now live in.

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 5:37 pm

      So because there is corruption in other places, you want:
      1. City of Phoenix must ignore codes that protect citizens. Should there be an emergency and EMS cannot get to someone, would you be hollering about why it was never up to code?
      2. Neighbors should “suck it up” and ignore dozens of people driving in and out of a “church” complete with signs, 2-3 meetings a week, waking up Sunday morning to church music on a PA system.
      3. Ignore the fact that this “pastor” lied to the city, alienated all of his neighbors and told them at the HOA meeting that they should “make sacrifices for God” when their property values decreased.

      Things may seem “upside down”… but getting all the facts will level it out for you. Fact is, Mr. Salman is not being persecuted for a simple Bible study. He broke the law, defied the city, and now has made himself a martyr.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      No I want all the lawbreaking and corruption to STOP. Get it,. Let’s however start where people are being killed, maimed, addicted and hurting others. Let’s stop ENCOURAGING the breaking of our laws. Do you know what ‘rule of law’ is? The Feds, the States, and the Cities are breaking the rule of law which encourages, other citizens to break the law. How can Phoenix, being a Sanctuary City is completely ignore laws and worrying about other laws at the same time. Can’t have it both ways.

      He was in trouble for meeting in his home as do thousands of Americans on holidays and superbowl nights, races etc. Not for building a church or meeting in a church, just so we have the FACTS straight here.

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

      Genesal: Well, if you think the corruption is going to stop, you might check out what the Bible says about things. It will get worse and worse. The issue here was Mr. Salman and his breaking of the law. If you want to spend your time “cursing the darkness” about all the evils in the world, go for it. But I suggest you dig yourself a comfy little hole in the ground and wait for Christ’s return. You did not give any facts… you compared apples and oranges. Again… Mr. Salman defied the city and brought this on all by himself. If you’d checked out both sides, you would know that. I’m so done trying to help people use some common sense… sheesh!

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

      It will get worse and worse

      So, then let’s be good little Obamaites and shut up about it. Go ahead have at it.
      Read the story, those are the fact and if they aren’t enough of the facts read the real story provided in a prior posting:
      http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/

      Fact is he didn’t get in trouble for anything to do with building a church. Fact is he got in trouble for ignoring a letter from the city, not to meet in his HOUSE. You are reading apples and spouting oranges. Sheesh is right. Dang let’s break out the Stocks and the Fire pits.

      Fact is they are going way overboard for his holding a Bible study in his HOME.

      Assistant City Prosecutor John Tutelman, who characterized Salman as a ‘rebel’ for refusing to put an end to the Bible studies, asked the court to revoke his probation and convert it into a two-and-a-half-year jail term, according to Christian News. Two and a half years, sheeeeeeesh!

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:32 pm

      Aaaah… I just realized you’re probably in his congregation, aren’t you? And you’ve been assigned the job of defending him on these blogs.

      I’m not here to defend the city, as they have probably over reacted because of Mr. Salman’s stubbornness. Look up what the Bible says about stubbornness. It’s not good.

      These things do NOT happen to Christians who are walking in love and doing God’s Word… tens of thousands of home fellowships in this country and nothing like this is happening. His self-righteousness has landed him in jail. Period. Of course, you now have a martyr for Jesus. This is all so pathetic.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:53 pm

      No I’m not but yomama is,m Mr Stubborn. What are you here for then, ‘personal attacks’ you’re so Biblical.

      Of course your wrong again nobody get’s put in jail for self-righteousness or you’d be serving now, also.

      You must be of some Biblical sect yet undiscovered.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 10:51 pm

      Genesal, it’s great to want all zoning and safety laws enforced evenly. I’ll even admit all too often sometimes governments enforce laws against churches while overlooking much more flagrant violations by others. But you’re trying to justify bad behavior by pointing to other bad and perhaps illegal behavior. However, that doesn’t pass the Scriptures test.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 12, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

      No, I’m merely pointing out that he got in trouble for having Prayer Meetings in his HOUSE, not building an unfinished church which he had a permit and the city knew he was building a church (why ignore the facts?) which does not deserve 60 days in jail, a 12,000 dollar fine and 3 years probation, which the Assistant DA is trying to turn into 2 1/2 years in jail. Or do you think all that punishment is ‘unusual punishment’ for disobeying a letter from the city to not have a ‘Bible Study’ inside your home???? Yeah, those dang illegal bible studiers. How many illegal polygamists are practicing and marrying children?

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 12, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

      Genesal, you keep referring to other behavior that’s wrong or illegal. But that isn’t the issue. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

      He wasn’t fined and put in jail for holding a Bible study in his home. He was fined and jailed for building a 2000 sq. ft. building under false pretenses without the proper provisions and/or permits for the intended use. By the way, I agree that the fine and jail term are too harsh.

      As was reported in the Phoenix newspapers that, “Salman told the City of Phoenix twice that he wasn’t building a church in his backyard, then went ahead and built a church that was found responsible for 96 civil code violations, most of them related to how much of a fire hazard the building was.” He got a permit for a “game room” in his backyard that said ,”[a]ny other occupancy or use (business, commercial, assembly, church, etc.) is expressly prohibited.” A 2000sq. ft. game room with a religious tax emption? Do you expect us to believe that?

      The facts have been so erroneous from Christian sources, usually accurate, that the city of Phoenix has put out a fact sheet on the issue. It can be found at http://phoenix.gov/news/071212salmanfacts.html

      I used to hold Bible studies in my home with our pastor. But we didn’t build a church and have 50 to 80 people show up in a residential area. We also wanted to build a private church school but that wasn’t permitted.

      By the way, I learned more at the Bible studies than I did in Sunday church services. When I moved I went to my cousins’ for home Bible study. So I highly recommend home Bible studies.

      One more point, the poster who referred to a crack did say wall and separation, not a bell. The Liberty Bell doesn’t refer to religious freedoms, the Constitution does.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 12:30 am

      He wasn’t fined and put in jail for holding a Bible study in his home.
      You’re wrong and you should do some reading before you make brash statements such as the above.

      There’s a link above with 6 pages of real facts.
      ***************
      I agree with Mark Harden who posted on FB. I’m afraid it’s another seemingly innocuous small but ever-widening crack in the wall (freedom of worship).

      Now, where is the word SEPARATION????????

      *************

      And while I’m at it here’s something to think about:

      Hi Lord, it’s me.
      We are getting older and things are getting bad here.
      Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.
      I know some have taken You out of our schools, government and even
      Christmas , but Lord I’m asking you to come back and re-bless the United States of America .
      We really need you!
      There are more of us who want you than those who don’t!
      Thank You Lord

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:04 am

      Genesal: I owe you an apology. Some of my comments were not loving, and I’m sorry. I’ve been taught to never ruin an apology with an excuse, so I won’t do that. I went over the line, and I regret that.

      I’ve been in the Word over 40 years now. The first 20 were quite a journey, seeking out a fellowship or church where I could learn God’s Word and be my best for God. I ended up in some very shaky groups, some in homes where there were just too many people, where the neighbors were not treated with respect because the leader taught wrong doctrine, and we defiantly believed we were “right”, no matter how many people we offended. When a home fellowship is sweet on God’s Word, people will be drawn to it, not alienated by it.

      2 Cor. 6:11,12 says, “O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.” The word “straitened” literally means ‘held down like a wrestler in a hold’. And bowels is ‘affections of the heart’ which includes our ‘emotions’.

      There is often an emotional attachment that we as believers can fall into, and when our emotions rule us, we are held down from being strong in the Spirit, and often make bad decisions. That’s what happened to me, and it’s not good.

      I see many Christians doing the same thing when issues like this come up. We think we know someone’s heart when we read their posts. We do not know their hearts, and we would do well to limit our comments to reproving wrong doctrine (from the Word), not allowing it to turn into accusing or belittling another brother/sister in Christ.

      I appreciated the post below from Recce1, who I believe made their comments in an orderly, Godly way.

      I hope that in as much as lies within us, we will have peace with all men. So many people in our country are hurting, and we can endeavor as believers to have unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. I wish you well.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:32 am

      yomama

      Moving post. I apologize and accept yours. I guess I feel more vested than many as I actually voluntarily put my life in jeopardy by choosing to go and fight for ‘the Constitution’, for people to be able to say whatever they wish, even if I don’t agree with them, I fought for American’s rights to live free and worship how and what they may. The world is becoming two sided. Good or evil, it boiling down to a fight, good against evil. I chose my side and if that ruffles a few feathers I’m willing to do my share against evil again,.
      Peace be unto you.

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 13, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

      Genesal, thanks, I appreciate your response. I’m so thankful for God’s forgiveness! Sometimes we just gotta climb up in His lap, let him kiss our owwies, and move on. I was thinking about how He says He removes our transgressions as far as the east is from the west… but I still have those goofy posts to remind me what a putz I can be! lol.

      I’m glad you shared with me about your taking a stand for people’s rights. That’s definitely “believing action” by putting yourself out there. Many of us can be armchair warriors, that’s easy. And as for ruffling feathers… Jesus Christ did a lot of that. :)

      By the way, my name is Janie… nice to meet you… whether it’s here, there, or in the air! We do have all of eternity together in perfection, along with our Father and our Big Brother, Jesus Christ!

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

      Thanks, Peace in Christ.

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  26. rustypatComment by rustypat
    July 12, 2012 @ 5:26 pm

    He broke the law of both the local government and God’s government … he intentionally violated the ordinances that were put in place by the local government and he intentionally sought to deceive them.

    Christ himself acknowledged the legitimacy of local governments and calls Christians to do likewise. I ascribe to Christianity … but don’t ask me to hide behind it as an excuse or justification for breaking the law without consideration for the consequences of doing so.

    There are times & places that rarely warrant an outright act of deception such as he sought to practice. He knew it was wrong (or he wouldn’t have lied @ the permit) and chose to do so anyway … nice job at representing Christian values … NOT ! ! !
    :-(

    Many are quick to chastise those who don’t follow the laws and those who oppose Christians as being self-righteous at times … but we are reticent to actually be honest with ourselves and look in the mirror and tell the truth @ when we are actually being “self-righteous”. He lied in order to advance his own agenda … suggesting that he felt he was right (i.e. self-righteous) and above the established law … in the name of Christ. Christ would NOT have condoned such an action and/or a self-righteous position (as this suggests).

    He is being held accountable for his actions … not much to “cry foul” about here.

    Now who’s playing “spin doctor”.

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 12, 2012 @ 5:43 pm

      Very well put, Rustypat! This whole story has caused no small stir among the Christian community, and reproof was in order. Thank you for your post. I truly hope Mr. Salman gets meek and makes this right with God and his community. God’s Word truly is profitable for doctrine, reproof, and correction. God bless you.

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    • Richard KoryComment by Richard Kory
      July 13, 2012 @ 1:50 am

      genesal – YOU are RIGHT! SFret, Yomama, Recce1, rustypat, and the rest of you ignorant non-Christian non-Patriot idiots had better wake up. Your Judgement Day is coming sooner than you think, and I believe you’re in for a big surprise, unless you decide to truly repent of your sin and give your all up for Jesus. You’re exactly like those “lukewarm” folks Jesus said He would “puke out of His mouth”. Hot or cold? All or nothing. Jesus and His Word or the world. Your move.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 2:48 am

      Richard Kory, please show me in the Gospel where it says we have a right to disobey the law when it doesn’t ask us to disobey God’s law. Please show me in the Constitution where it says governments can’t write zoning, building, or safety code laws. Show me just how erudite you are.

      Sadly, as it stands, by your very words you have condemned yourself. I’d never call you ignorant or an idiot so why do you resort to such hatred? You’ve now convinced me that you’re neither a Christian nor a patriot. I doubt you even know what it is to be a Christian or a patriot. I strongly plead that you seek Jesus and His healing.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 8:35 am

      Read about Moses, recce

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    • rustypatComment by rustypat
      July 13, 2012 @ 10:32 am

      I’m not sure why I’m being called an “ignorant, non-Christian, non-Patriot idiot” … but in the vein of “hot & cold”, it is with the “all or nothing” that I denounce his intentional act of deception, rather than mask it by saying he was “doing God’s work”.

      I gladly accept the concept of his intent as being potentially perceived as “hot”, “committed” or “all in” in spite of the opposition. But even Paul accepted his being jailed by the local government. Paul was “all in” … he didn’t “cry foul” for breaking the law. He chose to break the law and he willingly accepted the consequences of it being enforced by the local government.

      Paul made the intentional decision to break man’s law and suffered man’s consequences. I’m not saying that man’s law and man’s consequences are necessarily good or right or aligned with God. I’m just saying that a man being held accountable for breaking the law is not OMG, what is wrong with this picture. Sure, there are lots of other things that need attention … but if you’re gonna complain about him being held accountable … then why should anyone ever be held accountable for anything … THAT is the root problem in our country. Everyone wants to make an excuse, reason or justification why they or their group should not be held to accountability and or receive special consideration / privilege.

      God has made it clear that we are all going to be held accountable for our actions. He likewise expects the same on earth. Even Jesus … to the Cross … accepted the accountability of going against the local establishment. He did so willingly and even asked God to forgive them for doing so as they didn’t understand what they were doing.

      As to the Bible Study @ home … no blood, no foul … it has little to do with persecution of the Bible or God. It has to do with public safety and public nuisance. If the KKK or Hell’s Angels held meetings every week and brought just as many people into the residential zone … would you be saying that it’s because they are the KKK or Hell’s Angels that they shouldn’t be there … or would you say it’s just simply disruptive to the other members of the residential community who have THEIR RIGHT to live in accordance with the established zoning ordinances … for obvious reasons.

      You can’t have it both ways … Christians are not EXEMPT from local government just because we believe in God’s Supreme Government.

      For the record … I am absolutely, 100%, totally undeniably & unashamedly … I am “hot”, “committed”, “all in” Christian and Patriot. Some are given to evangelism and that is perceived as “hot” … yet the body is made of many members and evangelism alone is not the only way to be “hot” … nor does evangelism itself override God’s sense of accountability.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

      Genesal, once again you try to obfuscate matters. This is not about Moses. It’s about the constitutionality of fair zoning laws and their enforcement when they’re not in violation of God’s laws. But regarding Moses, are you claiming that like him you’re some sort of lawgiver?

      What is it that you don’t understand? As I wrote, “See SCOTUS 1926 Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365. Furthermore, the Bible says we’re to obey the laws of government as long as they don’t violate God’s law. See 1 Peter 2:13-17. Nowhere in the Gospel does it say we have a right or obligation to disobey REASONABLE zoning, building, or safety code laws.”

      You, and especially Richard Kory, do Christians and Patriots a disservice by trying to convince people we’re uneducated yahoos who don’t understand the Constitution or the Gospel and believe we have some special right to do whatever we want in the name of Jesus.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:08 pm

      recce

      All I’m hearing from you is bla bla bla bla bla. Brick walls make more sense then you. Thanks, bla bla bla bla.

      Go talk to somebody who cares. I got a quarter if you need one.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:11 pm

      “”

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:19 pm

      Genesal, all you’re hearing is bla bla because you’re truly aliterate (look up the word).

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

      If you look up ignorant and trolling.

      You brought up the Bible and obeying the law. I don’t think Moses was obeying the law, obtuse person.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:57 pm

      Genesal, I’m sorry to see that not only are you aliterate, but that you’re also semi-illiterate. An aliterate person is someone who can read and write but chooses not to learn from what he or she reads. For some reason I believe you didn’t have the courage to look up the word. Why is that?

      I brought up the New Testament and obeying the law, not the Pentateuch. As for trolling, those who lie about what Salman did and why he was prosecuted are the real trolls. But I understand your need for name calling.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 13, 2012 @ 6:10 pm

      Genesal, I’m sorry

      Well, girl on that we both agree on.

      And since you probably didn’t know where to look up ignorant. It’s someone who deflects and ignores the facts and is probably passive aggressive and has to have the last word.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 15, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

      Genesal, since you dismissively write, “Well, girl on that we both agree on,” does that mean you have a thing for men? Are you a girly man? You certainly can’t be a Christian with your attitudes and aggressive hatred towards others.

      By the way, I wrote that you were aliterate, but you refuse to understand the word. That makes you aggressively semi-illiterate.

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    • genesalComment by genesal
      July 16, 2012 @ 2:08 am

      You’re the one who BRAGS about being Christian, but you have to or nobody would recognize it. No, I wasn’t in the Air Force!

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  27. slickzipComment by slickzip
    July 12, 2012 @ 6:11 pm

    If it was a muslim building a 20000 sq. foot mosque , that would be OK ,,, yea sure !

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  28. calneffComment by calneff
    July 12, 2012 @ 7:33 pm

    Bulldog;

    I suppose that a church building is only used for worship and nothing else, ever? How about Boy Scout meeting, child birthing classes, ham radio classes, small theater groups, knitting classes,
    quilting classes, Scrabble competitions, yard sales, etc,.
    These are all events open to the public and have nothing to with
    religious aspects other than just being a citizen within the community. The people that attend these events may or may not be members of that particular church. Guess what? That makes them
    General Public and entitled to the same expectations regarding the
    facilities as they would in any other public gathering place.
    You also overlooked that the man lied to the authorities. Is that
    your kind of religion?

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    • bulldogComment by bulldog
      July 12, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

      I agree that the man was wrong in the way he “deceived” the city, and did not comment on his actions. What I did say was “the constitution clearly states that there should be no laws restricting the free exercise of religion.”

      As such it is my opinion that any such laws violate the constitution. Obviously some judges don’t agree with my opinion, or we would not have these types of laws.

      In my opinion, the man/pastor should have a right to free exercise of religion at his residence. As far as other activities not related to the exercise of his religion then the constitution would not apply to that.

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  29. Kathy BrauerComment by Kathy Brauer
    July 12, 2012 @ 10:28 pm

    After he serves his jail term, he should bring his “church” up to code for buildings that are open to the public. IF, after he meets all the zoning and building codes for the “room” and the use to which he puts it, he is prosecuted for his “church”, THEN talk to me about
    “build a church, go to jail”.

    If my neighbors built a building in their back yard (first, I’d think it was a miracle, the lots are so small) and his “friends” who came to Bible Study took up all the parking along the street, or worse yet, blocked me from getting out of my parking space and safely up or down the street, I would complain, too. Obviously, someone in the neighborhood complained, otherwise, the city wouldn’t have known (at least, not as soon).

    Secondly, if the building does not meet codes for a church, and something happened to cause a fire in that building, many of the same people complaining that his First Amendment rights are being trodden on would have conniptions because the local government didn’t make sure the people would be safe at the Bible study.

    Third, if he has a sign board and a cross outside on the street, he is no longer conducting a private study “in his home”.

    Based on what I’ve seen here, I compliment the writer on being at least reasonably fair in his portrayal — unlike some who tell only enough of the story to get folks all “het up” about the “attack on Christianity”. Leaving out little things like, ANY building that invites the general public, DISPLAYS A CROSS (trademark or logo) and a SIGN must meet certain parking and safety requirements, as well as location restrictions. That’s not “attacking Christianity”, folks. Annoying as zoning restrictions sometimes can be, the goal is to help us live together without treading on the neighbors’ privacy any more than we can help.

    “Bible study in your home” means your family and maybe up to a dozen others — the same as if you held a Super Bowl party or some such. It means that they might need to car-pool and/or learn to drive extra-carefully in the neighborhood (some people think that because a residential street has no signs posted, it has no speed limit), and avoid parking so as to block the neighbors’ mail box, driveway, sidewalk, etc. There’s also a big difference between inviting 10 to 30 extra people to visit (party, Bible study, whatever) a few times a year (say, once per quarter) and having those same ten to thirty people invade the block every. single. week. One you put up with because everybody likes to have a big gathering once in awhile. The other gets really old in a big hurry — whatever the reason for the gathering.

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  30. Pingback: Phoenix - Build a church... go to jail? - ALIPAC

  31. Richard KoryComment by Richard Kory
    July 13, 2012 @ 12:22 am

    “Congress (the ‘government’ – any American government) shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion (or ‘a denomination over any other denomination’), or PROHIBITING THE FREE EXCERCISE THEREOF…”
    In other words, the Supreme Law of this Land says No one can make a law which prohibits the free exercise of an American citizen’s Christian religion. Any and all of these zoning laws or ordinances are null and void if used to prohibit this man’s exercise of his religion, especially on his own property. The city had NO right telling him he couldn’t have his Bible studies in his home, but they did, and he obliged them by building a separate “guest room” or “rec room” to have his Bible studies in. All you people who start off your comment by “I’m a Christian, but…” then say how he is in the wrong here, YOU are NOT true Christians, and worse Patriots, because you don’t know and abide by the Bible NOR our Constitution. Look around at other countries, like China, North Korea, the middle East, etc.- now THAT’s where they make laws against Christians gathering together to worship, pray, and study God’s Word. America is spitting in the face of our Holy Creator-God: Making it illegal to pray in school, read the Bible in school, post the 10 Commandments in school or in our public buildings, instead teaching our children that evolution is true, therefor saying God is NOT, and making it legal for Mothers and their doctor to MURDER their unborn babies (over 50 MILLION since Roe v. Wade), condoning and encouraging homosexuality, even legalizing sodomy, and on and on…We have come a long long way from our Founding Fathers’ vision for this once-blessed nation. We are seeing, instead, and will see even more the judgement of God on this sick nation. You phony “Christians” are going to be surprised when you stand before our Holy God on judgement day. Get ready.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 1:56 am

      Richard Kory, you say those who disagree with Salman are neither Christians nor patriots yet you don’t seem to understand what either the Bible or the Constitution says. First off the Constitution says absolutely no such a thing as “No one can make a law which prohibits the free exercise of an American citizen’s Christian religion.” What it does say is that Congress, and by way of the 14th Amendment and other Court rulings, all government entities, can’t make any laws respecting an establishment of religion nor can they prohibit the free exercise of religion, any religion, not just regarding Christianity or American citizens.

      How many times have I heard it stated or implied on this forum that we should restrict Mosques from being built or expel all Muslims? Some people even try to claim that Islam isn’t a religion. Does or does not the First Amendment apply to Muslims?

      The First Amendment of the Constitution states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Does anyone have an alternative wording of it?

      Secondly, this forum isn’t about abortion, homosexuality, prayer in school, reading the Bible or posting the 10 Commandments in public schools or in our public buildings, evolution, or sodomy, as problematic as those things are or the fact that we should discuss, and pray about, them in the proper forums. Nor is this forum about what happens in other countries like China, N. Korea, or the Middle East or being pushed by the UN. To claim such is to prevaricate, egregiously.

      Under discussion is whether or not under the Constitution local governments have the right to set REASONABLE and EVENLY ENFORCED laws with regard to zoning and building codes. No less than the supreme Court has affirmed those rights. See SCOTUS 1926 Village of Euclid, Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U.S. 365. Furthermore, the Bible says we’re to obey the laws of government as long as they don’t violate God’s law. see 1 Peter 2:13-17. Nowhere in the Gospel does it say we have a right or obligation to disobey REASONABLE zoning, building, or safety code laws. As for privately praying or reading the Bible individually or as a group in ANY public venue, THAT is our RIGHT and even OBLIGATION

      So please, stop bearing false witness against fellow Christians and Americans. By the way Richard, what do Exodus 20:16 and Matthew 7:1-2 mean, particularly with relation to your and my comments?

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 13, 2012 @ 7:01 am

      “No one can make a law which prohibits the free exercise of an American citizen’s Christian religion.”

      Richard, using your logic, here is what I’d like to do. I will start a “religion” in accordance with the constitution. It will be called the “Church of the Speedo”. My church will be protected by the constitution (in your scenario). I will move next door to you. Everyone in my church will wear tiny little Speedo’s, young, old, fat, flabby… all of ‘em. It’s not illegal. We will parade in and out of my house, and part of our prayer will be hoots and hollers to the Lord, and lots of bouncing in the spirit. In keeping with your assertion from the constitution this must be a “Christian” religion, we are speedo-wearing, hootin’ & hollerin’, bouncing in the spirit “Christians”. And there will be at least 50 of us parking all up and down your street, Sundays and Wednesdays, every week for 3-4 hours, exercising our right to freely express our religion.

      Ridiculous, isn’t it? Of course it is. Just thought you needed another perspective.

      As for your accusations toward me and other believers here, I think I’ll just refer you to the posts by Recce1, as I couldn’t have put it any better.

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    • yomamaComment by yomama
      July 13, 2012 @ 9:09 am

      Hello Richard,

      I was praying about these things this morning, and I thought about how it might be good to compare our constitution with God’s Word, especially in light of our founders based it on the principles within the Word.

      We know that the 7 church epistles are for doctrine, reproof, and correction. The first epistle written to the church in the age of Grace is Romans. It has been called the “Magna Carta” of a believer’s personal walk with God, a framework, if you will. It is the doctrine.

      The constitution is a framework upon which the amendments have been built. The amendments give specifics based on the framework. Just as Romans is the doctrine, then Corinthians are the reproof (showing them where they missed it in the doctrine of Romans). Then we have Galatians which is “correction”. More specifics in getting back to the doctrine of Romans. The rest of the epistles have the same pattern of doctrine, reproof, and correction. The only exception is Thessalonians which stands alone because they were walking hot in the love of God and are commended for it.

      So if we want to truly treasure our constitution and it’s framework, we must abide by the specifics that are built thereon. Have corrupt men infiltrated our principles by some laws that have been added? Most definitely they have. It is disheartening to see what unbelieving people have done and are trying to do to erode our freedom. I share your frustration.

      We are told in Timothy to pray for those in authority, so that we may live a quiet and peaceable life. With God, nothing shall be impossible, and like God, we can look unto the eternal. We can live above the world, change what we can, and pray with great expectation for hungry hearts to come to Him, and patiently await the return of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. ‘Til he comes, we can be more than super conquerors!

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    • brierebearComment by brierebear
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

      You have one fatal flaw in your argument, Richard … “PROHIBITING THE FREE EXCERCISE THEREOF…” … who is stopping his ability to practice his religion? He has every right to pray, with his family, within his home; he has every right to pray in a church.

      He does NOT, however, have the right to make false statements on applications to construct an oversized “recreation room.” He does NOT have the right to affect neighbors’ quality of life by bringing a large amount of traffic, some of which would require on-street parking, at meeting times.

      As for the argument that the right to pray any time, anywhere, is absolute … he, or anyone, does NOT have the right to shove religion into everyone’s faces. See Matthew 6:5-6.

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

      bierebear, I agree with you. Unfortunately Richard and Genesal are not about to admit they’re wrong about the Gospel and the Constitution. They both seem to believe that Christian Patriots can do whatever they please in the name of religion and that those who don’t agree with them are unpatriotic non-Christians and trolls for speaking the truth about what happened in Phoenix.

      To them it seems violating the law so as to claim persecution is some sort of badge of honor. The Bible calls it pride and fleshly. That’s not to say they aren’t saved Christians.

      By the way, as a Christian I would say that a Christian has the absolute right, if not obligation, to pray at any time and anywhere as long as it doesn’t interfere with the religious or civil rights of others, like building a church building under false pretenses and disobeying building or safety codes. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. What I think you mean is that we can’t build a building or hold a rally anywhere at any time without regard for legitimate and moral laws.

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  32. nickster99Comment by nickster99
    July 13, 2012 @ 7:03 am

    I agree he broke the law. He should have followed the rules and regulations on building his game room or church whatever it was. Seems to me it was just an attempt to get around paying taxes I dont really know though.
    But the goal of the left is to slowly, slowly get rid of religion in this country. Mainly the Christian religions. They are a threat to the left and their goal is to slowly ween the people from the need for religion. It is already happening in our schools and even in our religious education classes.
    I am a Catholic and sent my kids to catechism classes when they were young. One day my daughter (9 years old) came home and told me she was no longer eating any kind of meat! I said why is this, who told you this. I finally got her to tell me. It was her teacher in catechism! I made a bee line over to the parish and asked what in the world is going on! Why are my children being told these things! I was red faced! After an investigation the instructor was removed from teaching catechism. They infiltrate everywhere even in the least likely places. It may not happen in my lifetime but I am sure it will happen sometime in the future that attending to or belonging to a religion will cause you problems just like it did to the Orthodox Russians after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. They were persecuted for being religious. We need to start our own revolution by first getting rid of obummer and his minions in November!

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    • bulldogComment by bulldog
      July 13, 2012 @ 10:23 am

      Perfectly stated. Look around, and wake up people. We are told we have to remove GOD from most everything, our schools, our court buildings, public land, etc., but at the same time Muslims are allowed to pray 5 times a day in some schools, and given other preferential treatment by liberals.

      I know this is off the current subject, but sometimes we need reminders. WAKE UP!

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    • recce1Comment by recce1
      July 13, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

      Nickster99, I agree many Christians are persecuted for their faith like in N. Korea, China, and particularly the Middle East. Iran is set to execute a pastor for apostasy despite the fact he never was a Muslim, but his grandfather was. Some are persecuted here in the US, particularly at the hands of the Atheistic Communist Licentious Underdogs (ACLU).

      As genesal and others have said, it will get worse, very much worse. Liberal progressivism like Islam is very intolerant of people of faith. Sec. Clinton recently spoke of freedom of worship, not freedom of religion. Freedom of worship “allows” freedom to worship in private but not in the public square, a very significant difference.

      In addition, I had a pastor preach against those with college educations, relishing in his educational ineruditeness. I too have heard pastors preach against certain foods demanding that Christians obey the Kosher laws. Others have preached for or against observing certain holidays and feasts as essential. Some are important in understanding Christianity but they do not save us, only faith is Jesus does.

      However, Salman isn’t being persecuted. He’s being prosecuted for willful disregard of the local zoning and building codes. He has twice falsified the reason for his backyard building and has refused to meet required building codes. However, those permits and codes don’t violate his Biblical or constitutional rights.

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  33. Reggie D. ByrumComment by Reggie D. Byrum
    July 14, 2012 @ 8:58 am

    Interesting, and I could argue both sides. I firmly side with the Salman’s if the Bible study was being held in his living room. As long as the visitors parked only on the Salman’s property, it is no business of the city and I believe it infringed upon his religious liberties to forbid him to do so. I start slipping a little in my support when he decided to build a church – and honestly, that is what he did, in his back yard. Although he has every right to build what he wants, you have to abide by the current law of the land and if different permits were needed, he should have been forthcoming and obtained those. I’m leaning toward the city on that one. HOWEVER . . . if I wanted to put up a game room, same size, and held block parties there every weekend, with beer, cookouts and partying, would the same neighbors have complained? Would the city had gotten involved?

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