Saturday, September 17, 2011

City Permit Required for Bible Study in Calif.

Chuck and Stephanie Fromm have paid hundreds of dollars in fines to the City of San Juan Capistrano for covertly reading the Bible with friends in their home, and could face architectural and traffic study costs to obtain a "conditional use permit" for any home Bible study to continue.

Being caught in any such activity again without approval, could result in fines of $500 per Bible study session.

For background, read 'Big Brother' Requires Permit for Home Bible Study and also read Another Calif. City Restricts Home Bible Studies as well as Arizona City Bans Bible Studies in Homes

UPDATE 9/21/11: One week later, mainstream media discover the story

-- From "Capistrano Couple in Legal Battle for Hosting Bible Study in Home" by Jonathan Volzke, The Capistrano Dispatch 9/13/11

Stephanie Fromm hosts a Bible study on Wednesdays that draws about 20 people, while Chuck Fromm’s Sunday-morning gathering draws as many as 50. But in the neighborhood of large homes on even larger lots—the Fromms live in a 4,700-square-foot home on a parcel that also has a corral, barn, pool and huge back lawn—Stephanie Fromm said parking was never a problem. Neither was noise, she said.

The Fromms’ citations say they violated section 9-3.301 of the Capistrano Municipal Code, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit. The footnote on the section says it “Includes churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations.”

The Fromms are being represented in their lawsuit, an appeal of the hearing officer’s decision, by Michael Peffer of the Pacific Justice Institute in Santa Ana. The trial is set for October 7 in Laguna Hills.

The Fromms are 18-year residents of Capistrano . . . Chuck Fromm is publisher of Worship Leader Magazine . . . an international 20-year-old magazine for pastors, worship leaders, musicians, vocalists, sound and visual techs, technology stewards, artists and others.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "First Amendment under attack in SoCal" By Rick Silva, Paradise Post 9/15/11

[A city official] told the couple that regular gatherings of more than three people require a conditional-use permit.

. . . The city rejected the Fromm's appeal, so the Pacific Justice Institute has appealed the decision to the California Superior Court in Orange County.

But if those same 20 people roll over to the ol' homestead 20 times a year for some football, beer and fun, they don't? Or do they? Could those football parties be considered fraternal? Perhaps every week they have a barbecue and plot the recall of the entire city council. That might be worth the conditional-use permit.

The very notion that government can require such a conditional-use permit under the guise of "land use" should scare everyone who is involved in religious, political or non-profit gatherings.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "City demands Christians get permit for Bible study" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 9/16/11

"Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous," said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, which is working on the case on behalf of the Fromms.

. . . "An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this group's religious freedom."

Pacific Justice said it has represented larger churches that have been required to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars as part of the permit process on such items as engineering and traffic studies, architectural designs. The process includes public hearings and ultimately can result in a rejection by the city.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.