The Back Door to Silence
Given the hour, perhaps this news excuses a cliché: first, they came for the Christians:
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.'”
The county employee notified the couple that the small Bible study, with an average of 15 people attending, was in violation of County regulations, according to Broyles.
Broyles differentiates between these meetings and religious assemblies, and in so doing, he may be highlighting a path to oppression of which citizens should be aware:
“For churches and religious assemblies there’s big parking concerns, there’s environmental impact concerns when you have hundreds or thousands of people gathering. But this is a different situation, and we believe that the application of the religious assembly principles to this Bible study is certainly misplaced,” said Broyles.
Obviously, large-group concerns apply regardless of the topic inspiring assemblage. A political rally, for example, could create parking problems and affect the environment just as well; translate this story to that context, and overly enthusiastic government administrators could effectively strangle grassroots opposition groups before they’ve begun.
(via Hit & Run)