A Phoenix man has been sentenced to two months in jail, three years’ probation and more than $12,000 in fines for using his private home to host weekly Bible studies in violation of the city’s building codes.
‘They’re cracking down on religious activities and religious use,’ Michael Salman told Fox News Radio. ‘They’re attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home.’
However, the Phoenix city prosecutors’ office has insisted that the issue has to do with public safety, not religion.
‘It came down to zoning and proper permitting,’ Vicki Hill, the chief assistant city prosecutor, told Fox News Radio. ‘Any time you are holding a gathering of people continuously as he does — we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire.’
According to court documents, Mr Salman was found guilty of 67 code violations. Besides the 60-day jail term and probation, Salman must also pay a $12,180 fine.
The father of six has argued that there is no difference between what he is doing and what millions of other people do when they host weekly poker games for friends or invite people over to watch Monday Night Football.
‘But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes – that is when you have discrimination,’ Salman told 3TV.
However, the Arizona courts consistently ruled against Salman – ultimately declaring that he was running a church out of a private dwelling, and that the city did not violate his constitutional rights to religious freedom.
Read the rest at The Daily Mail