Couple hit with fines for holding a Bible study in their home

posted at 10:45 am on September 22, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Where two are three are gathered in His name, there good ol’ California city government is in the midst of them. Seriously. This happened. The Blaze reports:

A southern California couple has been fined $300 dollars for holding Christian Bible study sessions in their home, and could face another $500 for each additional gathering.

City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. say Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.

The Fromms appealed their citations but were denied and warned future sessions would carry heftier penalties. A statement from the Pacific Justice Institute, which is defending the couple in a lawsuit against the city, said Chuck Fromm was also told regular gatherings of three or more people require a conditional use permit, which can be costly and difficult to obtain.

Mrs. Fromm was rightly incensed at the city government’s intrusion into her living room. “I should be able to be hospitable in my own home,” she said. Had it been her bedroom, libs would have leaped to her defense, but as it was, no such luck for the lady.

The municipal code bans a religious organization. I’d say a private Bible study hardly qualifies — it’s just a friendly gathering of like-minded folks. Would the city of San Juan Capistrano also consider a family-members-only Bible study a religious organization?

But, more broadly, why is the ban on the books in the first place? What’s wrong with religious, fraternal and non-profit organizations in a residential neighborhood?

According to The Blaze, the Fromms’ property is such that parking and noise aren’t a problem. Plus, the Bible study is meditative. But the code enforcement department relies on complaints, which means some unfriendly neighbor or other member of the community turned the Fromms in. That snitch makes Gladys Kravitz look politely respectful of privacy.

The old gal in me wants to say “an eye for an eye,” but the new gal in me thinks maybe the Fromms’ best bet would be to ask the city officials — and the snoopy neighbor — to sit in on a session or two.


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Liar. Thankfully the comment was deleted, but the quote will remain.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Thanks for the link.

You lied when you said you didn’t call my mother a troll.

LIAR.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I’m not going to bother wasting my time trying to find an instance where you said that we’re a Christian nation or that our Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian philosophy… I’m fairly certain you have before but as for me being a Christian hater.

I don’t hate the person, I hate the delusion the person suffers from.

There IS a distinction fossten. Too bad you can’t grasp it.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Not really. Your open disdain for specific people belies your protests to the contrary.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

20 to 50 people parking on my street would be a nightmare. Every week and I would definitely consider complaining. 20 people (let’s assume 5 cars – minimum) multiple times a week would be an inconvenience; 50 – about 15 cars – is definitely going to get the neighbors complaining. I don’t care if it is a church, a quilting bee, a study group, or the lesbian poetry society pushing 15 extra cars into a neighborhood every single week plus a few extras during the off days is at the very least seriously inconsiderate of your neighbors.

darcee on September 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM

An inconvenience, yes – but not an infringement of your freedom, where you forcing them to pay the state to have friends over is a grave infringement on theirs.

miConsevative on September 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Move those goalposts!

LOL

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:30 PM

LOL EYEROLL Blah blah blah.

It’s a violation of the nuisance laws. They won’t win.

Blake on September 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Why doyou have any more right to park on that street than I do if I live in the municipality?

In my neighborhood, you have to have a specific zone sticker…so yes, if front of my house on my street I have more of a right than the rest of the city residents.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

You lied when you said you didn’t call my mother a troll.

LIAR.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:50 PM

I talked about mother trolls. Never said a word about your mother.

Liar.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

So what are we supposed to do? Stop holding church for a year until we can get a conditional use permit approved? Just eat the fine for holding a “religious meeting” that is in a unlicensed space? Try to beg, borrow, or steal some “approved worship space” and inconvenience some other denomination?
Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM

Well, the common solution ’round these parts is to rent a conference room in a hotel or other public facility. (Elk’s lodge, YMCA, library, strip-mall, conference center, synagogue, under attended church of another denomination, VFW post.) There are quite a few options. If your group values the chance to worship or study together they will come up with the funds to grow. OR you split into smaller groups that can meet in private homes without driving the neighbors crazy.

If God wants you to succeed he will provide a place that will meet your needs.

darcee on September 22, 2011 at 12:53 PM

I’m not going to bother wasting my time trying to find an instance where you said that we’re a Christian nation or that our Constitution is based on Judeo-Christian philosophy… I’m fairly certain you have before but as for me being a Christian hater.

I don’t hate the person, I hate the delusion the person suffers from.

There IS a distinction fossten. Too bad you can’t grasp it.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:43 PM

It’s funny how you can backpedal and pretend to be ‘concerned’ about somebody’s delusion and not actually hate them, and yet you’re convinced that Christians like me are bent on killing atheists, rather than allowing for the same “hate the sin but not the sinner” mentality. How hypocritical – and delusional.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I talked about mother trolls. Never said a word about your mother.

Liar.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Liar. You were clearly referring to my mother.

Your turn.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

My neighbors are Jewish and have a weekly Friday Seder which at times involves quite a few family and friends. Their weekly gatherings in no way impede my ability to pull into or out of my driveway.

As to parking on the street,it’s as much theirs as it is mine. So many other issues in life for someone to be so petty..

theblacksheepwasright on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

I am really astonished to see the usual gang of anti-christs out here defending this and saying it’s clearly legal to fine people to study the Bible.

Because the amount of people doesn’t matter according to the law, as long as it’s over 3. Blake, Pablo Honey, etc: You really are fine with this? You say, “Okay, well, 50 is too many.” So what isn’t too many? 40? 30? 20? 10? That’s a great rule!

The First Amendment only applies for groups of people under 10! Any more than that, you have to apply for a permit, pay the fees, wait a year for approval, then you can meet, until we revoke your permit anytime we feel like it. And if you don’t, well… a small fine of 25 thousand a year is not too much to bear, right? 50 grand if you meet twice a week with 11 people!

That’s the spirit of America! Good to know you “conservatives” are down with it.

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

You don’t suffer from any delusions, do you?

Would that be because you’ve decided that you hold all the answers?

Rod on September 22, 2011 at 12:47 PM

All I can say to that is that I no longer suffer the religious denomination delusion, THAT much is for sure.

The common understanding is that out of all the religions being practiced today, that ONE of them has to be right.

What if the REAL answer is that NONE of them are? Has that ever occurred to you before?

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

LOL EYEROLL Blah blah blah.

It’s a violation of the nuisance laws. They won’t win.

Blake on September 22, 2011 at 12:51 PM

That’s not the law being cited, idiot. It’s a law against forming a group of more than three people to read the Bible/worship together.

You are really off track now. Keep it up, I’m actually laughing. Out loud.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:57 PM

I am really astonished to see the usual gang of anti-christs out here defending this and saying it’s clearly legal to fine people to study the Bible.

Nobody has said that.

Try again.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

All I can say to that is that I no longer suffer the religious denomination delusion, THAT much is for sure.

The common understanding is that out of all the religions being practiced today, that ONE of them has to be right.

What if the REAL answer is that NONE of them are? Has that ever occurred to you before?

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Why are you so arrogant to think that you can ‘hate the delusion but not the deluded,’ and yet assume that Christians canNOT ‘hate the sin but not the sinner?’

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

You were clearly referring to my mother.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:54 PM

You’re clearly a manipulative sociopath whose proclivity for twisting people’s words in order to justify your own despicable statements and behavior makes you indistinguishable from the leftist scumf**ks you appear to oppose. It’s why I’ve not bothered engaging you in real debate anymore, because over the years I’ve learned what happens if someone argues too well against you. You…well, why bother explaining when it’s not necessary?

You would have been more useful living in Germany circa 1938.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Now trot out the same comment you always do, when I reacted to petulant children like you taking joy in calling me “blog monitor”.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Pablo Honey: Lemme explain something to you. This law, that lots are defending in this thread, says that groups of 3 or more people meeting for a religious purpose, among others, needs a permit. 3 people. So I’m violating that law when I read scriptures with my wife and 2 daughters in the morning, because my house is not “conditionally permitted” as a house of worship. If an atheist across the street decides to complain because she or he saw me with my family on the front porch with the King James Version, the law says I’m subject to a 300 dollar fine.

Now, you guys are defending this law, and presumably this scenario is just fine. What happens when I don’t pay? Contempt of court? Jail?

And if 3 people is okay, what about 1 person? That’s not too much, right? If reading the Bible is a “religious meeting or observance” in this case, and clearly it is, since these people are being fined for it, then just little old me reading the Bible is also a religious observance that, presumably, I would need to be licensed for. Thus, I read the Bible, am not permitted to do so under the conditional use permit, and if I fail to pay the 300 or 500 dollar fine each time my neighbor sees me with the scriptures open, I could be found in contempt of court and go to jail.

You guys see nothing wrong with that? Because clearly you don’t. The evidence in this case, as reported, and not some hypothetical, was that there was no impact on parking, no noise, and no nuisance to the neighbors. Yet they are getting fined. And you guys are saying, “Great! They get the fine for being a nuisance!” Evidence says they are not actually being noisy, littering, taking parking, whatever. So, what’s the nuisance? Must be the reading of the Bible itself. Ergo, if just reading the Bible is a nuisance activity, then it must be so for any number of people–from 1 to 1 million.

Or explain how I’m wrong based on the facts of this case: no noise, no parking, no problem to the neighbors yet you guys still say they are guilty. And if 50 is too many, then where’s the line drawn? This law says 3 or more. You guys accept that. Why not just 1 person?

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

I’m not a legal scholar, nor a law student, nor have I played one on TV; but I am the son of a church-planting pastor who has experienced this kind of stuff.

The USSC has long upheld municipalities’ authority to restrict the freedom to assembly, so long as citizens have some reasonable way to assemble. So the city can probably win this case legally if not publicly.

However, I think the problem is in the word “organization.” Most groups of like-minded persons are not an organization until they 1) file a charter with the state; 2) elect officers; or 3) start taking up monies (either compulsory dues or voluntary offerings). The possibility that they have a schedule, order of events, or sequence of activities does not normally constitute “organization.” If they are not an organization, (according to the implication of the article, which is a little vague) they should not require a permit, and can operate as an ad hoc assembly of like-minded individuals flying under the municipality’s radar so long as they do not violate ordinances that apply to all citizens.

It seems that possibly the city is trying to get them to become an official organization, at which time the group will gain certain rights while losing others. Like the freedom to meet in a home.

rwenger43 on September 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

LOL, lets just burn the Constitution now why don’t we.

Daemonocracy on September 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Awww, sounds like I struck a nerve. I wouldn’t bother debating someone who regularly kicked my ass either. But hey, you have to save face, so throw out some f-bombs why don’t ya, loser. You’re pathetic.

It really hurts when your lies are exposed and you have to try to distract from them, doesn’t it?

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Great explanation. However, she’s unlikely to be persuaded as she’s wrapped up in victimhood at the moment.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:16 PM

Fossten, MadisonConservative and others, please try to tone it down.

By the way, this action of the city clearly violates some federal religious protection acts, as I pointed out on page 2, I think. The RUILPA, I believe it is. In fact, they specifically have an example where zoning fines for a pastor meeting with people is illegal.

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

throw out some f-bombs why don’t ya, loser. You’re pathetic.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM

Thanks for demonstrating how you “kick ass” in debates.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

rwenger43 on September 22, 2011 at 1:14 PM

Excuse me, but we don’t take kindly to people who shed additional light on the issues at hand around here. Can you please restate your post in the form of an anti-Christian or anti-atheist screed?

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM

In my neighborhood, you have to have a specific zone sticker…so yes, if front of my house on my street I have more of a right than the rest of the city residents.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Do you pay for that sticker and does it cover the cost to maintain your street? Does every single taxpayer whose money is used to maintain your road have the same preferential treatment in their own neighborhood? Otherwise, you may like the set up you have, but it shows a greater desire for selfish convenience than upholding the rights of taxpayers.

miConsevative on September 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Excuse me, but we don’t take kindly to people who shed additional light on the issues at hand around here. Can you please restate your post in the form of an anti-Christian or anti-atheist screed?

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 1:19 PM

Heh.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Plenty of cities, incorporated towns, etc. have some pretty wacky by-laws. It’s possible the coucil there has a combined IQ of eight and is applying a zero tolerance policy. Sounds like Stephanie’s weeknight Bible study should fall outside the reach of their law, but the Sunday service Chuck is fond of is pushing things a bit. Work to get the law clarified or move.

lynncgb on September 22, 2011 at 1:20 PM

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

“Don’t start none, won’t be none” is lost on him, and will be lost on him for eternity.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

All I can say to that is that I no longer suffer the religious denomination delusion, THAT much is for sure.

-snip-
SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Get over yourself. No one cares. This is about the intrusiveness of the state on peaceful assembly and private property.

evergreen on September 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Another thing to consider, it may be that the statute wasn’t written with Bible Studies in mind, but is being applied here because it is badly written. It may have nothing to do with the local government officials.

Yes, this seem to be about strict, separate zoning, which is actually something that liberals are generally more against than conservatives (e.g., the “smart growth” fad). Either way, it seems like overreach, just not liberal overreach.

calbear on September 22, 2011 at 1:21 PM

Thanks for demonstrating how you “kick ass” in debates.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Says the resident HotAir Stalker.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:22 PM

Rather Ironic developement give the history of San Juan Capistrano, the Saint

Burgher on September 22, 2011 at 1:23 PM

50 people on a weekly basis is pushing it, no matter what they’re doing. It’s a zoning issue.

John the Libertarian on September 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

If you actually read the article and still think this, then I think a change ought to be made.

50 people on a weekly basis is pushing it, no matter what they’re doing. It’s a zoning issue.

John the Libertarian on September 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM

There. That’s better. Now you’re not contradicting yourself.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 22, 2011 at 1:26 PM

50 people on a weekly basis is pushing it, no matter what they’re doing. It’s a zoning issue.

John the Libertarian on September 22, 2011 at 12:34 PM
There. That’s better. Now you’re not contradicting yourself.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 22, 2011 at 1:26 PM

That’s some impressive work right there.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

All I can say to that is that I no longer suffer the religious denomination delusion, THAT much is for sure.

The common understanding is that out of all the religions being practiced today, that ONE of them has to be right.

What if the REAL answer is that NONE of them are? Has that ever occurred to you before?

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Sorry. I was mistaken. I assumed that, because of your quickness to condemn another as “deluded” for expressing their beliefs that you were certain in your own. Apparently you just consider all organized religion as delusional.

As for whether I’ve considered that there is no God, of course I have, many, many times – just like everyone has and will continue to do so.

As for faith, I’m not sure how you can assume “I keep telling myself it’s a virtue”. I usually don’t. In fact, I’ve often find it’s a struggle.

But if I were to define faith as a virtue, I’d use C.S Lewis’ words:

Faith, …. is the art of holding on to things your reason has once accepted, in spite of your changing moods. For moods will change, whatever view your reason takes. I know that by experience. Now that I am a Christian I do have moods in which Christianity looks very improbably; but when I was an atheist I had moods in which Christianity looked terribly probable. This rebellion of your moods against your real self is going to come anyway. That is why Faith is such a necessary virtue: unless you teach your moods “where they get off,” you can never be either a sound Christian or even a sound atheist, but just a creature dithering to and fro, with its beliefs really dependent on the weather and the state of its digestion. Consequently one must train the habit of Faith.

Rod on September 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

Why do you have any more right to park on that street than I do if I live in the municipality? Just as much of my tax dollars go to upkeep of the road in front of your house and your tax dollars.

miConsevative on September 22, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Try parking on the street in a residential neighborhood in San Francisco without a residential parking permit.

PrettyD_Vicious on September 22, 2011 at 1:28 PM

BTW, it’s a good thing this law isn’t in my town. I have band practice at my house twice a week. My two cars, plus my motor scooter, plus four other cars (one of each band mate’s). And we don’t live in a neighbhor like these people show actually have room for at least that many cars.

BTW, we get no complaints;-)

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 22, 2011 at 1:40 PM

This is the way Communist governments act! . . .

Oh I forgot. It’s California.

WannabeAnglican on September 22, 2011 at 1:41 PM

They should sue the city for illegally attempting to infringe on their First Amendment rights. And then take up a collection to pay the fine. Every week. In pennies.

skydaddy on September 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

All I can say to that is that I no longer suffer the religious denomination delusion, THAT much is for sure.

The common understanding is that out of all the religions being practiced today, that ONE of them has to be right.

What if the REAL answer is that NONE of them are? Has that ever occurred to you before?

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Scientists can’t even agree on certain matters and each have there own theories, thinking that they have the one true theory of such and such a matter. I guess they are deluded.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

BREAKING NEWS, September 22, 2015

California authorities announced today that three private citizens would be charged for “hate crimes” following their repeated use of the term “sinner” in a public setting in a park this past weekend. The three were cited after complaints were received to the local police department by citizens that said the trio were handing out tracts and talking to people about “love and sin”.

One of those impacted by the possible hate crime indicated that the three charged kept saying “God loves you, and forgives us all even though we are sinners.” “That was all I could take at that point, I called the police.” one of the victims of the alledged crime told reporters.

The victim also indicated they make seek Civil damages against the trio with the California Hate Crimes Court or the State Freedom and Justice Commission.

Don’t think this won’t happen?

PappyD61 on September 22, 2011 at 1:48 PM

Over/under on how many days before the media starts referring to the Fromms’ property as a ‘compound’ and the ATF finds a delinquent tax payment on an ‘assault weapon’ and starts spreading a rumor that Mr. Fromm is abusing young girls?

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

The municipal code bans a religious organization. I’d say a private Bible study hardly qualifies — it’s just a friendly gathering of like-minded folks. Would the city of San Juan Capistrano also consider a family-members-only Bible study a religious organization?

More to the point, the very concept of a municipal code “banning a religious of organization” is grounds for the dissolution of municipal government.

It’s a textbook assault on one of the lowest foundational principles of the United States – the freedom to gather in worship.

HitNRun on September 22, 2011 at 1:52 PM

More to the point, the very concept of a municipal code “banning a religious of organization” is grounds for the dissolution of municipal government.

It’s a textbook assault on one of the lowest foundational principles of the United States – the freedom to gather in worship.

HitNRun on September 22, 2011 at 1:52 PM

Yeah. I’ll bet even Obama cringes at the bad optics of this story.

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:58 PM

Anytime more than 3 liberals gather in a home, report them for holding a Global Warming Religion activity.

PrettyD_Vicious on September 22, 2011 at 2:05 PM

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 1:51 PM

At least, since it’s California, we won’t be hearing about “the widespread rumors of rampant drug use inside the compound” because the media knows that if they try that ploy, Gov. Moonbeam might take a personal interest in their case and join the Fromms for Sunday School.

rwenger43 on September 22, 2011 at 2:05 PM

The 1st amendment issues with this are obvious, but it bears thinking about all the implications, if the lawsuit against SJC were to overturn the city ordinance.

I don’t think very many of us would mind a bible study in our neighborhood with 20-odd people. Some people would find a church service down the street, attended by 50 people, obtrusive.

In a residential area, I frankly don’t have a problem with the city requiring a permit for regular gatherings like the church service. The permit shouldn’t be excessively difficult to get, but I do think the difficulty should be tied to the situation of the property.

There happens to be a Seventh Day Adventist congregation meeting in a house four doors down from me, and there are only a couple dozen of them on a Saturday morning. Their cars take up the curb space for about four houses around for a couple of hours. It’s no big deal. If this were to be a bigger group of 50 people, with more cars, and worship music and a keyboard and amp and maybe some guitars, it would definitely start becoming an annoyance to the neighbors.

In a different neighborhood, 50-person church services could be absorbed with less impact on others. But they wouldn’t be no/low-impact everywhere.

A relatively small bible study is one thing. I don’t see a good reason for cities to regulate those at all, especially not in people’s private homes and especially not by singling out gatherings for religious purposes.

But think about this. If someone wants to start a Muslim worship center in his home, two doors down from you, and fire up the adhan five times a day, and invite groups of young men to come over and study jihad theory, would that be just fine because people should be able to hold any religious gathering they want in their homes? What if this neighbor starts attracting so many worshippers that they have to pray in the yard? And then in the street? And therefore your lawnmower or your barbecue or the tunes you play while working on the project car, or your need to drive out on errands, or your kids’ after-school time with the bikes and the street-hockey gear, become an inconvenience to the worshippers down the street?

I can see reasons why we would want local authorities to have some say about the conditions maintained in residential neighborhoods, even when they involve religious gatherings. SJC appears to have gone overboard and been too particular about singling out religious gatherings, but I wouldn’t throw the whole concept out. Neighborhoods may well find themselves needing it.

J.E. Dyer on September 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. say Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.

Ah… so it’s more than just a Bible study. It is that they are effectively operating a church out of their home.

The community is objecting to them operating a church, more-so than having friends over to discuss theology.

Personally I think the city is being a horse’s-buttock in levying a fine, but their laws do prohibit religious organizations.

Question is, do they prohibit all religious organizations, or just this one?

Lawrence on September 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Golly, did you even bother to google the opposite? Like, say, ‘aclu anti christian’ or something?

I’m sure you have an open mind, right?

http://www.thunderrun.us/2006/10/aclu-anti-christian-liberals-union.html

fossten on September 22, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Sorry to take a while to respond, I went away for a while.

I don’t know why you’re implying that I’m closed minded. I said that the ACLU is grossly partisan, but that claims that they never defend Christians and they would never fight for a case like this are exaggerations. I just suggested, for the purposes of getting more information out there, that you provide links to where there were silent in defending a Christian cause where they’ve defended similar non-Christian causes. I don’t know why you interpreted that as claiming that such cases don’t exist or that I couldn’t find any, since I pretty clearly stated that I think the ACLU is very partisan and hypocritical.

(By the way, for what it’s worth, the link you provided gave lots of anti-Christian cases, but didn’t happen to give cases where the ACLU was silent on a Christian case where they had fought for a similar non-Christian case. So it would be good to provide a couple of those. A quick search I did had a couple cases that doesn’t really make the right point — they were cases that were more about homosexual issues than Christian issues.)

tneloms on September 22, 2011 at 2:13 PM

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 PM

Says one with no faith. Fix your irony meter.

gitarfan on September 22, 2011 at 2:14 PM

Lawrence on September 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

it is NOT a church. the city cannot decide a certain number of people meeting for a religous purpose constitutes a church. a church is a specific legal entity w/ tax exempt status, that has to file non-profit paperwork with the IRS, etc.

if it were a church they would have no problem paying the fee since they would have a collection most likely to take care of it. its a group of people who are gathering for a bible study.

chasdal on September 22, 2011 at 2:16 PM

I am absolutely certain it is unconstitutional to infringe on the free practice of religion.

However, the religous neighbors may be infringing on their neighbor’s free use of their own property by blocking the street with too many cars a couple of times a week. Private property rights must also be respected.

My guess is, nobody cares what they are doing inside the house, but the problem is what they leave out on the streets while they do it. And the way their children have to be watched more carefully and thus can’t be allowed out front because the once quiet street is now full of cars and traffic.

50 people on Sundays, that’s what 20-30 cars? That would annoy me and I would want someone to stop that. A one time thing would be okay, but twice a week you clog up my street? That’s not right.

Most HOA say you can’t park on the streets, you have to park in the drive. I have been fined by the HOA when kids came home from college and they parked on the street for too long. It made me mad that the world is built for small families…

Possibly they could find a public parking place and bus people to the house and drop them off.

Being a good neighbor is a Christian principle. And so is examining your own behavior rather than your neighbor’s behavior. Time for that question, what would Jesus do? He would be courteous, I’m pretty sure.

I seriously doubt this is religious persecution, it sounds more like people losing patience with annoying neighbors.

petunia on September 22, 2011 at 2:25 PM

The community is objecting to them operating a church, more-so than having friends over to discuss theology.

Lawrence on September 22, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Wow, you’re a mind reader. Who knew?

gitarfan on September 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

J.E. Dyer on September 22, 2011 at 2:06 PM

Annoyances can work both ways. Five minutes into their meeting, I bring out the old gas guzzling lawn mower to mow lawn. Afterwords, I bring out the good old gas guzzling leaf blower to clean. Then I rev up the old Harley seeing how loud I can get.

PrettyD_Vicious on September 22, 2011 at 2:27 PM

I seriously doubt this is religious persecution, it sounds more like people losing patience with annoying neighbors.

petunia on September 22, 2011 at 2:25 PM

it is exactly religious persecution. but its being done because the city wants the permit fee, not because they want to stop the worship. the parking and traffic dont seem to be a problem according to neighbors. if those were the problem than use those ordinances to fix it, not an ordinance that suppresses 1st amendment rights.

chasdal on September 22, 2011 at 2:28 PM

What part of the first amendment did the city miss? Especially the separation of Church and State. Christians have always been persecuted and will always be persecuted when ever the Bible is involved.

flytier on September 22, 2011 at 2:29 PM

Petunia: Read the article again. There’s no parking problem on the streets here; everyone parks on this couples property. In fact, there’s no nuisance at all to the neighbors.

Vanceone on September 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I’ll bet the ACLU won’t touch this…

Thanks, Capt. Obvious

Capistrano’s code-enforcement department is reactive, meaning officers only respond to complaints. Stephanie Fromm said most residents in the neighborhood, off Rancho Viejo Road north of Junipero Serra Road, are supportive of them, although at least one neighbor has voiced concerns.

Ever notice that when someone whines about stuff like this, you never find out the person’s identity because they’re too chicken sh!t to publicly denounce it?

RMCS_USN on September 22, 2011 at 2:30 PM

I don’t have to finish reading past the 2nd page of comments.
What a bunch of freaking Nazis there are here.
From what I can gather about this family’s home, is that they have enough room for all these people to be there in the 1st place.
So for the residents who are whining about people driving down a fricking public street to go park at a residence that can handle that many cars and people is nothing short of effing NOSY!
It’s a public street.
I often drive down public streets myself. For the hell of it.
Maybe I’m looking at beautiful homes.
Sometimes I’ve taken a drive in other parts of the country on my vacations. Driving down the damned street.
Sometimes there’s like 50 people behind me.
Jeebus bu these whiners must really hate Halloween.
Do they call the police that night?
Do they call the police on Thanksgiving?
I don’t care if it’s one day a week every week.
It’s none of your damned business WTH is going on.
50 people at a Bible study.
So the EFF WHAT!
If they seek non-profit status as a church organization, THEN this onerous law applies.
Until then, it’s a bunch of like minded people getting together and engaging in an activity they enjoy.
This is why i live in the country.
Bcs there are liberal and conservative nosy a$$holes on every street in every neighborhood who would use the govt’s despotic control to lord over other people’s lives when those people are doing things they don’t like.
Get a damned life.
YOU’RE the one who has chosen to live amongst hordes of other people.
If you don’t like your neighbor having people over, then tough $hit.
I cannot believe what a bunch of control freaks we have here at HA.
My God.
No wonder America is a screwed up socialist he!!hole.

Badger40 on September 22, 2011 at 2:35 PM

2 people can say they showed up for the Bible study, the other 18 or 48 can say its because of the chili.

Problem solved.

Odie1941 on September 22, 2011 at 2:44 PM

San Juan Capistrano, California’s municipal code 9-3.301 is UN-CONSTITUTIONAL and therefore ILLEGAL.

Freedom of religion is “a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community,in public or private, to manifest religeon or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance”. In the United States, freedom of religeon is a Constitutionally guaranteed right provided in the religion clauses of the First and Fourteenth Amendments. Freedom of religion is also closely associated with the separation of church and state, a concept advocated by Thomas Jefferson.

The 1st Amendment states: “Congress shall make no law respecting the 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.”

Furthermore, the 14th Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. NO STATE SHALL MAKE OR ENFORCE ANY LAW WHICH SHALL ABRDIGE THE PRIVILEGES OR IMMUNITIES OF CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

In other words, San Juan Capistrano does NOT have the authority to restrict or punish the practices / rights afforded to U.S. Citizens and/or protected under the U.S. Constitution, and by doing so their and their city are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

easyt65 on September 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

For some reason I have the feeling that if this situation had involved another religion, lets say Islam for shits and grins, the city would be bending over backwards trying to prosecute the neighbor/neighbors who complained and defend the poor muslims, because to go after them would be targeting them. ACLU would be on this like a duck on a june bug!

BadMojo on September 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

easyt65 on September 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Very well said, I agree 100%.

Also, replace the story with “Koran” – and you would have been paid $10,000 for the NY Times headline.

Odie1941 on September 22, 2011 at 2:47 PM

For some reason I have the feeling that if this situation had involved another religion, lets say Islam for shits and grins, the city would be bending over backwards trying to prosecute the neighbor/neighbors who complained and defend the poor muslims, because to go after them would be targeting them. ACLU would be on this like a duck on a june bug!

BadMojo on September 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

The ACLU would not have to get involved. Islam is a militant religion. They would behead those that oppose them or at least get thousands to gather and protest the city making themselves an actual nuisance.

PrettyD_Vicious on September 22, 2011 at 2:58 PM

The city acted unwisely. They will be sued and they will lose. Next issue. The consititution protects free assembly and religion.

If the objecting neighbor has an issue, he can prove his damage. That’s how it works.

dogsoldier on September 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

There MAY be a god out there, who really knows? Nobody I know of. They have their faith, but faith isn’t a virtue no matter how many times you keep telling yourself it is.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:56 P

Well, Sauer, I know there is a God. And, by the way, faith is a virtue. My Catholic faith shapes my sense of morality. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments, I presume. A secular society like ours is now tends towards immorality. Few bother to have a moral code. It’s called “moral relativism,” or do whatever you want.

chai on September 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

The ACLU would not have to get involved. Islam is a militant religion. They would behead those that oppose them or at least get thousands to gather and protest the city making themselves an actual nuisance.

PrettyD_Vicious on September 22, 2011 at 2:58 PM

You bet!!!

chai on September 22, 2011 at 3:04 PM

I am sure noone here would object if some iman was holding prayer meetings for 50 people bi-weekly in their neighborhood.

Seriously 50 people…go rent out a church.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM

If they had a huge property like the Fromm’s, I’d be fine with it.

Why do you assume all of us are anti-religious fascists just because you are?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:07 PM

Actually, I find this amusing rather than irritating.

Would any of you give a rat’s posterior if this were a group of Jews, Muslims or *gasp* atheists? I think not. You just have to get your licks in a those eeeevil “anti-Christian” zoning laws.

Any HA Palin or religion post is chock full of red meat for people who find many aspects of Teh Stupid fascinating.

MrScribbler on September 22, 2011 at 11:48 AM

As a Jew, I have a feeling I probably would care, yeah. But I’d also care if they were Hindu or Bahai or Cao Dai or Taoists. Why? Because the 1st Amendment doesn’t say the right of “Christians” to assemble, or “the free exercise of Christianity.”

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:17 PM

Typical.

MadisonConservative on September 22, 2011 at 12:10 PM

MadCon, people’s champion of conservatism, won’t leap to the defense of a blatant violation of someone’s first amendment rights.

Typical.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:21 PM

fossten

I bet you’re the type of Christian who would use the more barbaric of verses of the bible as justification for exterminating “non-christians”, etc because if god can say to the ancient Jews and Moses to go into the promised land and exterminate every man, woman, child, ox, and ass, YOU can exterminate the annoying atheists among you!

I mean Christians already KNOW that every other adherent of every other religion is already doomed to hell so you’d just be helping them along in their path, right?

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Bzzt! Sorry Sauer. Your 1,504th attempt to project your intolerance onto us fails yet again.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

MadCon, people’s champion of conservatism, won’t leap to the defense of a blatant violation of someone’s first amendment rights.

Typical.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:21 PM

I take it back, I see that MadCon actually is speaking out against this ruling in-between sniping at fossten.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:24 PM

It’s a zoning issue. The couple’s particular religion isn’t singled out. They can rent a hall somewhere else in town if they want to congregate with 50 other people. Their neighbors have families to care for and can’t have their residential neighborhood appropriated for activities that generate consumer traffic.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Why do you assume all of us are anti-religious fascists just because you are?

Define facist please.

Been called that twice today, and it seems to mean “anyone who disagrees with me”.

Do you pay for that sticker and does it cover the cost to maintain your street? Does every single taxpayer whose money is used to maintain your road have the same preferential treatment in their own neighborhood? Otherwise, you may like the set up you have, but it shows a greater desire for selfish convenience than upholding the rights of taxpayers.

It has nothing to do with “selfish convienence”. I live by a commuter line and they don’t want people using the residential streets to park their car when they take the train to work. The only people who are allowed to park on residential streets during the day are people who actually live on the street.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

Bzzt! Sorry Sauer. Your 1,504th attempt to project your intolerance onto us fails yet again.

Call him a facist!

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

It’s a zoning issue. The couple’s particular religion isn’t singled out. They can rent a hall somewhere else in town if they want to congregate with 50 other people. Their neighbors have families to care for and can’t have their residential neighborhood appropriated for activities that generate consumer traffic.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Have you read the 30 other people who said this on this topic and were equally wrong?

It’s not a zoning issue. The ordinance cited claims “more than 3 people” at a regular meeting. How is that a zoning issue?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Call him a facist!

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

Ah, now I know why you don’t understand me calling you a fascist. You were spelling it wrong.

Here, let me help you:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fascism

Cheers!

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Ms. Korbe, is Allahpundit aware of you usurping his position as resident religious (or lack thereof) troublemaker?

Cindy Munford on September 22, 2011 at 3:39 PM

Define facist please.

Been called that twice today, and it seems to mean “anyone who disagrees with me”.

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 3:27 PM

To me, a fascist is someone who uses the law, or attempts to use the law, as an instrument to eliminate behaviors/activities that they find personally disagreeable, but that aren’t illegal.

Hence, when Mayor Bloomberg tries to pass anti-salt laws, people rightly call him a fascist. He isn’t acting in the interests of law and order, he’s trying to use the legal code to exterminate personal bugaboos.

So, more to the point, I would ask how many football games, D&D groups, LAN parties, poker games and the like have been affected by this SJC ordinance, as opposed to religious gatherings. If it’s truly been applied across the board, it’s still a stupid law (and almost certainly against the 1st Amendment), but at least it’s not simply being used as an anti-religious cudgel.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:43 PM

It’s not a zoning issue. The ordinance cited claims “more than 3 people” at a regular meeting. How is that a zoning issue?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:33 PM

What number of attendees would you consider appropriate to regulate? My town restricts the number of employees I can have regularly report to my home. It’s regulated by the zoning board.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Ah, now I know why you don’t understand me calling you a fascist. You were spelling it wrong.

Here, let me help you:

http://lmgtfy.com/?q=fascism

Cheers!

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:35 PM

Caught me in a spelling error in a quickly typped out post…

Well played.

(pssst…I left you another one you can correct)

Pablo Honey on September 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

If they had a huge property like the Fromm’s, I’d be fine with it.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:07 PM

They don’t have a “huge property”. They live in an upscale residential neighborhood. Their next door neighbor has complained. To appease her concerns, they put up orange cones in front of her house twice a week so that people won’t park in front of it.

You might consider reading every single post here before you accuse others of not having done so.

Rod on September 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Well, Sauer, I know there is a God. And, by the way, faith is a virtue. My Catholic faith shapes my sense of morality. You’ve heard of the Ten Commandments, I presume. A secular society like ours is now tends towards immorality. Few bother to have a moral code. It’s called “moral relativism,” or do whatever you want.

chai on September 22, 2011 at 3:01 PM

You don’t know shit Chai… I KNOW that a lot of people think there is a god out there, I do as well, but where they go astray of logic is thinking that THEIR particular rendition of this god is it. Where they go astray is in KNOWING that their particular god happens to be the one true god.

Washington and many others who helped to found this country were Christian, or especially religious, of that I have no doubt, but there were a lot of deists as well ie Jefferson, Franklin, etc.

If they would only exhibit a bit of intellectual honesty on this one topic I have no doubt that they’d eventually get back into the Deist column like Jefferson, et al were.

YOU should be a deist at best, if you were intellectually honest that is…

You say you know your god is the right one but you really don’t, else why do Christians sometimes doubt themselves?

You don’t know, any more than any of the rest of us do. You have your faith, and you think it’s a virtue to have it, but its not.

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 3:50 PM

Town and city councils, county boards (of supervisors, education, water & sewage, or whatever, mayors, Sheriffs, and anyone else elected to a position of local authority ought to be required to read the Constitution and swear to uphold it first and foremost above any other consideration.

hillbillyjim on September 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

Can’t have any “free exercising” going on in the shadow of the Mission San Juan Capistrano.

Another Drew on September 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

What number of attendees would you consider appropriate to regulate? My town restricts the number of employees I can have regularly report to my home. It’s regulated by the zoning board.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Certainly a lot more than *four*.

In all three stories I’m reading, they’re saying that noise was low, parking wasn’t a problem due to the Fromm’s large property, and almost all of the neighbors were supportive. So where is the problem?

The city says they are a “church” and they need a “Conditional Use Permit.” Do they also get “Conditional Tax-Exempt Status,” I wonder?

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

)

oops

hillbillyjim on September 22, 2011 at 3:57 PM

In other words, San Juan Capistrano does NOT have the authority to restrict or punish the practices / rights afforded to U.S. Citizens and/or protected under the U.S. Constitution, and by doing so their and their city are in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

easyt65 on September 22, 2011 at 2:45 PM

Thank you for that. Although, I was unaware that San Juan Capistrano was either Congress, or a state. I was under the impression they were a city. Are they one of the extra states Obama visited?

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 3:58 PM

JSchuler, since incorporation of the 1st-Amendment to the States, all lower governmental bodies are duty-bound, by their oaths to “defend and protect”, to observe both the “Establishment” and “Free Exercise” clauses of said amendment.

Another Drew on September 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

They don’t have a “huge property”. They live in an upscale residential neighborhood. Their next door neighbor has complained. To appease her concerns, they put up orange cones in front of her house twice a week so that people won’t park in front of it.

You might consider reading every single post here before you accuse others of not having done so.

Rod on September 22, 2011 at 3:46 PM

Where do you see that?

I’m reading three of the stories right now: from Pacific Justice, from The Blaze, and from the Capistrano Dispatch. None of them mention that.

Did a search on “cones” in the HotAir comments. The only one that came up was yours. Which comment on HotAir mentioned this aspect of the story?

All I’m getting from the story is this:

Stephanie Fromm said most residents in the neighborhood, off Rancho Viejo Road north of Junipero Serra Road, are supportive of them, although at least one neighbor has voiced concerns.

Read more: The Capistrano Dispatch – Capistrano Couple in Legal Battle for Hosting Bible Study in Home

So at least one neighbor complained, but we already knew that, because someone had to complain in the first place for the city to get involved.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Last time I checked – the LICENSE PLATES on my vehicles say I can drive, ride, or park FREELY on ANY public thoroughfare not controlled by tolls or parking meters……………

Californikashun is simply slipping deeper and deeper into revenue desperation plain & simple……..

Katfish on September 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

What number of attendees would you consider appropriate to regulate? My town restricts the number of employees I can have regularly report to my home. It’s regulated by the zoning board.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 3:45 PM

The so-called “zoning” issue, which requires permits, applies to gatherings of three or more people.

Fromm was told by a hearing officer that regular gatherings of more than three people require a conditional use permit…

This ordinance is outrageous and its enforcement is a gross violation of the Fromm’s constitutional rights. It should be, and hopefully will be, struck down.

A private gathering in a residence is not a “church,” and it is utterly inappropriate for a weekly bible study to be required to have a permit.

JannyMae on September 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Certainly a lot more than *four*.

Good Solid B-Plus on September 22, 2011 at 3:56 PM

So we agree that the town can regulate the function–we are just haggling over the number of attendees. It does seem, though, that the 50 visitors for the Sunday event would probably trip the zoning codes of most towns.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

JSchuler, since incorporation of the 1st-Amendment to the States, all lower governmental bodies are duty-bound, by their oaths to “defend and protect”, to observe both the “Establishment” and “Free Exercise” clauses of said amendment.

Another Drew on September 22, 2011 at 4:02 PM

May I get an article/section number on that?

JSchuler on September 22, 2011 at 4:05 PM

Scientists can’t even agree on certain matters and each have there own theories, thinking that they have the one true theory of such and such a matter. I guess they are deluded.

DethMetalCookieMonst on September 22, 2011 at 1:42 PM

In fact DethMetal… Everyone has their delusions, some more than others.

Isaac Newton, arguably the smartest man around until Einstein stepped onto the stage, and still a damn sight smarter than any of us today I imagine, was deluded in his belief that alchemy was a viable science. He died crazy/mad from mercury poisoning which is what alchemists used to try to ply their trade.

We all know now that he was wrong in his thinking in that regard don’t we?

Well Newton also was a prolific writer of religious articles/essays and obviously believed in the christian god as right and true.

Could he be wrong about that as well?

Of COURSE he can!

Many very smart people on this planet are deluded about certain things all the time.

Look at Francis Collins, the former head of the human genome project. Arguably a smart man, but he stumbled upon a frozen waterfall that was split into three frozen branches and had his epiphany moment where he decided that the trinity of Christ, the holy ghost, and god all came true for him.

Talk about inanities…

SauerKraut537 on September 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

A private gathering in a residence is not a “church,” and it is utterly inappropriate for a weekly bible study to be required to have a permit.

JannyMae on September 22, 2011 at 4:04 PM

50 visitors isn’t very private. Bummer for any kids who are playing on the neighborhood streets as the cars pass by.

dedalus on September 22, 2011 at 4:07 PM

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