Excuse Me, Ma'am, We've Had Reports of Prayer
San Diego County officials have threatened to fine a local pastor and his wife for holding unauthorized Bible study sessions in their home. The couple's attorney, Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, tells the story this way:
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."
Evidently that was enough to qualify the house as a house of worship, meaning the hosts need a "major use permit," which can cost tens of thousands of dollars to acquire. The Bible classes attract about 15 people a week.
Broyles, who is warning the county that its enforcement actions violate the First Amendment right to freedom of religion, also offers reasons for the secular to worry:
If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly at home for poker night? What about people who meet for Tupperware parties? What about people who are meeting to watch baseball games on a regular basis and support the Chargers?
[Thanks to Tricky Vic for the tip.]