Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What 1st Amendment Rights?

" 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." 1st Amendment - US Constitution
Someone might want to inform San Diego County California officials about the 1st Amendment. It seems they are not be aware that it has been ratified. At least from the actions taken that are talked about in the story below.

(We won't go into the California Constitution except to say that it has similar provisions.)
Invasion of the Bible Snatchers

Where two or more are gathered in Christ's name, there San Diego County officials will be also. For a suburban California family, this was the shocking reality during last month's Good Friday holiday. A local pastor and his wife invited a dozen or so people to their house for a Bible study, only to be interrupted by a San Diego employee who threatened to fine the couple for breaking an obscure County land code.
People at Pastor Jones's church are stunned by San Diego's actions, particularly its investigation of the group's activities. According to the family's attorney, Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law & Policy, the officials asked pointed questions such as, "Do you have a regular meeting in your home?" "Yes." "Do you say amen?" "Yes." "Do you pray?" "Yes." "Do you say, 'Praise the Lord?'" "Yes."
What business is it of the county's how the Joneses' worship? This is not communist China. The Joneses aren't operating an underground church in violation of state law. This is their home! And like every other American, they enjoy the freedoms of religion, assembly, and speech guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Broyles told reporters, "If the county thinks they can shut down groups of 10 or 15 Christians meeting in a home, what about people who meet regularly... for poker night? What about... Tupperware parties?"
Every citizen in the nation should take this attack seriously. It matters little whether they agree with the Joneses' beliefs. If we allow the government to take their rights away, ours are next. Meanwhile, county officials have not budged on their insistence that a home Bible study of 15 people is a "religious assembly" that requires a "major use permit," which can cost upward of $10,000. Obviously, California is so desperate for income that it's willing to persecute men and women of faith to get a few pieces of silver.
As Christians from other states have learned, the government can use inconsequential rules on parking or zoning to regulate religion. In this instance, the application of those rules is, as Broyles says, "misplaced." Apparently, the size of government has grown so much that bureaucrats, like those in San Diego, are struggling to justify their existence. They have to invent controversies like this one just to keep busy. With California facing a budget shortfall, I know just where officials can start cutting unnecessary spending.

(Video added 1:17 am Sunday 31 May 2009)

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