You can’t open your home to 10-15 friends on a weekly basis for an informal Bible study accompanied by dinner and prayer.
Attorney Dean Broyles of The Western Center For Law & Policy was shocked with what happened to the pastor and his wife.
Broyles said, “The county asked, ‘Do you have a regular meeting in your home?’ She said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say amen?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you pray?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Do you say praise the Lord?’ ‘Yes.'”
1984? China? USSR? Nope. Califreakinfornia!
The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.
Broyles said a few days later the couple received a written warning that listed “unlawful use of land” and told them to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit” — a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
What if I had a family get-together every weekend? I’ve got 12 cousins alone, never mind my aunts, uncles, and my cousins’ children. Would we need a major use permit? Same amount of parking and probably more noise.
Many churches choose to not have weeknight meetings so that small groups can meet together. These groups do not cause a stir. They do not cause noise pollution. They do not cause problems…period.
These groups are exercising their right to free speech and their right express their religion (you know, the true definition of freedom of religion…doesn’t say from it).
I used to belong to a small group meeting about 15 years ago. We met, talked, played games like Scattergories, snacked, prayed, sang, and had Bible study. Sometimes we had special parties. None of these activities forced anyone to convert. None of these activities bothered the neighbors (this was in a condo, btw).
This is scary, infuriating, and serves as an ever-present reminder that we must practice our faith and pray daily for our country and its leaders.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14
If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people,
and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
Folks…we’re in for a world of hurt if we don’t right ourselves…beginning with the planks in our own eyes.