Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Right to Peaceful Assembly: As Long as the Government Approves

Update (June 4, 2009)

San Diego County allows Christians to meet.
"Couple: County Trying To Stop Home Bible Studies"
KGTV San Diego (May 25, 2009, updated May 28, 2009)

"A local pastor and his wife claim they were interrogated by a San Diego County official, who then threatened them with escalating fines if they continued to hold bible studies in their home, 10News reported.

"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." '..."

An average of 15 people show up at the pastor's home for Bible study. That's "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...."

That "unlawful use of land" business makes some sense, when thousands of people come to a place of worship on a regular basis.

But, a little over a dozen people showing up for a Bible study?

San Diego's Problem: 15 People, or 15 Christians?

I live in a town of about 4,000 people. The house my family lives in was owned, years ago, by a family who had groups of about that size come on a regular basis. Somehow, this town of 4,000 managed to deal with the strain these meetings put on its infrastructure.

The KGTV article implied that people in the San Diego area have poker nights and Tupperware parties at their homes, and sometimes get together to watch baseball games.

These activities don't seem to be "unlawful" in the eyes of the San Diego authorities: but I suspect that at least a dozen people may attend.

It's remotely possible that there's some reasonable explanation for San Diego's attempt to shut down a Bible study. But, at this point, it looks like a county government is trying to suppress Christian activity in its territory.

Given how the more 'sophisticated' people in America view religion - particularly Christianity - I'm not surprised. It must be frightening to have "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose" ( gathering - to plot who knows what dastardly schemes.

I hope that there's something that didn't get reported by KGTV, that makes the government's actions reasonable. Failing that, let's pray that peaceful assembly of citizens in America continues to be legal: even if they are Christians.

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From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.