Tuesday, September 18, 2012

City Finds Family Guilty of Home Bible Studies

Officials in Venice, Florida say a $250-per-day fine against Shane and Marlene Roessiger for holding unauthorized weekly Bible study and prayer involving a handful of Christians in their home is justified as a "zoning violation."
“That may be fine in some tyrannical parts of the world. That is not okay in the United States of America.”
-- Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute (representing the Christians vs. the government)
For background, read Religious Liberty & Anti-Christian Totalitarianism in America and also read Phoenix Christian Jailed for Home Worship Gatherings as well as City Permit Required for Bible Study in California

UPDATE 6/15/14: Bible Study Limit in Homes in Texas City Rescinded

-- From "Venice dispute erupts over religious sign in yard" by Kim Hackett, Correspondent, Sarasota Herald-Tribune 9/6/12

When does praying at home with a group of believers cross into illegally operating a church in a neighborhood? And can a city allow political signs on a residential yard but not religious ones?

Weighty constitutional issues that are typically reserved for federal or state courts found their way before this city's Code Enforcement Board on Thursday in the case of Venice versus the William and Florence Brewer Trust and Linda Roessiger.

"I'm going to stand for what I believe," said ministry leader Shane Roessiger, who lives in the house.

Members of the In Him Healing Touch Ministry said they, too, listen to a higher authority and will not take down the "Need Prayer?" sign or a 20-foot white, blood-red splattered crucifix, regardless of how the city rules.

The group vows to take the matter to federal court.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Family Faces Fines for Hosting Bible Study" by Todd Starnes, Fox News 9/17/12

“It is difficult to understand how it is illegal to have a prayer meeting on Friday night with a half dozen people but it is alright if I invited the same group on Monday evening to watch Monday night Football,” Roessiger said.

The Roessigers are also facing a fine for putting a small sign in their front yard that reads: “Need Prayer (941) 484-4915.”

“The Code Enforcement Board has continued both cases, although Mr. Roessiger was found guilty a few months ago of zoning violation (as it relates to land use),” [Pam Johnson, a spokesperson for the city of Venice] said. “It has not been determined at this time if the use violation has been abated. No determination of guilt has been made for the sign issue because the case is continued.”

Johnson confirmed that the two cases involve a code infraction regarding the use of a sign and a zoning infraction regarding using their home as a ‘house of worship.’

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "City Threatens Family With $250 Per Day Fine For Weekly Prayer Meeting In Home" posted at Pacific Justice Institute 8/27/12

The Roessigers head a small ministry called In Him Healing Touch Ministries. Like many small nonprofits, they initially chose to get mail at their home instead of renting out a post office box. Venice Code Enforcement officials are using the listing of the residence as the ministry's address to build a case against the Roessigers. In addition to prayer and Bible study, the ministry has food outreaches in the community and engages in foreign missions work. The latter includes ministering to people living in garbage dumps through providing meals and religious services.

In a letter sent by attorney Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute, the City Code Enforcement Board was informed that the corporate address has been changed so that the home address is no longer listed with the Florida Secretary of State. However, this family intends to continue to exercise their rights to the use and enjoyment of their property for prayer and Bible study, Snider wrote. In an unusual response, the Board "continued the matter indefinitely."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read California Pastor Arrested for Reading Bible in Public