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Christian Fined and Sentenced to 60 Days in Jail Over AZ Home Bible Studies
The Blaze ^ | July 6, 2012 | Billy Hallowell

Posted on 07/06/2012 7:42:42 PM PDT by Altariel

We’ve told you before about government regulations hampering home Bible studies, but this story is even more pervasive, perplexing and complicated than the others. Michael Salman, who lives in Phoenix, Ariz., has been sentenced to a startling 60 days in jail, given a $12,180 fine and granted three years probation for refusing to stop hosting Bible studies at his home. Why, you ask? He‘s apparently in violation of the city’s building code laws.

(Related: Calif. City Changes Zoning Code to Allow Home Bible Study After Couple Was Fined)

City officials claim that he’s running an operation that is reminiscent of a home church — but without the required permits. And according to Fox’s Todd Starnes, Phoenix court documents show that he violated 67 codes. Unless the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants an emergency injunction, he will be jailed as early as next week.

Naturally, Salman believes the court’s findings amount to a crackdown on faith and religion. The city maintains that the penalties are legitimate based on the zoning laws he and his family have violated. However, Starnes was apparently unable to reach the Phoenix prosecutor’s office, the mayor’s office or code enforcement to obtain further comment.

“They’re cracking down on religious activities and religious use. They’re attacking what I, as a Christian, do in the privacy of my home,” he said in an interview with Starnes. “If I had people coming to my home on a regular basis for poker night or Monday Night Football, it would be permitted. But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes, that is when you have discrimination.”

Starnes goes on to provide an overview that recaps how the dispute first started between Salman and the city:

The long-running feud between Salman and the City of Phoenix culminated in the summer of 2009 when nearly a dozen police along with city inspectors raided their home. Armed with a search warrant, police confined the Salman family to the living room as they combed the property looking for violations.

Salman is the owner of Mighty Mike’s Burgers — and he is also an ordained pastor. He and his wife have been hosting Bible studies on their 4.6-acre property since 2005. The gatherings were originally attended by as many as 15 people.

In 2007, they received a letter from the city informing them that the Bible studies were not permitted in their living room because it was in violation of the construction code.

A few months later, members of the Phoenix Fire Dept. broke up the family’s Good Friday fellowship. As many as 20 people were in their backyard eating a meal when firefighters threatened to call the police – unless their guests left the premises.

Watch Salman and his wife discuss their legal battle, below:

And this was only the beginning. In 2008, the fire department came back again, and Salman ordered officials off of his property. The town then decided to ignore him — that is until he and his family built a structure in their back hard. The family, having secured the proper building permits, then moved the Bible studies to this new building.

It was then that the real drama unfolded. Officials came in and found 67 code violations. From a failure to post exit signs to a lack of handicap signs, Phoenix officials left no stone unturned. Now, the Christian Bible-study leader could spend some time behind bars — unless federal judges intervene.

Read more about his struggle on Fox News Radio.


TOPICS: Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: arizona; biblestudy; homebiblestudy; michaelsalman

1 posted on 07/06/2012 7:42:52 PM PDT by Altariel
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To: Altariel

all AA home meetings....better get back in the church basements.


2 posted on 07/06/2012 7:49:22 PM PDT by stylin19a (Obama - The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance)
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To: Altariel

Either we’re not getting the whole story or something is horribly wrong in Arizona.


3 posted on 07/06/2012 7:57:13 PM PDT by bubbacluck (I'll pay more for tomatoes, thank you.)
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To: Altariel

Molon Labe


4 posted on 07/06/2012 7:58:02 PM PDT by IAmNotAnAnimal (1/509th Army Ranger Retiree - Go Swamp Dogs!)
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To: Altariel

This in what was once a very conservative state - how times have changed!


5 posted on 07/06/2012 7:59:19 PM PDT by Ron C.
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To: Altariel

SHould have occupied overnight tents in the city square and banged on bongos for Jesus for the cause of illegal immigration. Then everything would have been just dandy.


6 posted on 07/06/2012 8:00:04 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or tyranny)
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To: Altariel

If it had been a communist study group, there would be no problem.


7 posted on 07/06/2012 8:02:39 PM PDT by doc1019 (Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil.)
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To: Altariel

I was following until: “his family built a structure in their back hard.” This was not a smart thing to do. Sounds like they built a what a reasonable person would call a “church” in a residential neighborhood.


8 posted on 07/06/2012 8:03:21 PM PDT by the_Watchman
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To: Altariel

Since when do building codes override the First Amendment.

It is 1776 again people.


9 posted on 07/06/2012 8:04:35 PM PDT by Lets Roll NOW (A baby isn't a punishment, Obama is)
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To: the_Watchman

So you’re saying if someone builds a barn and decides to hold weekly get-togethers for friends in that structure instead of letting people trample all over his main home, he should be jailed for code violations.


10 posted on 07/06/2012 8:13:51 PM PDT by parisa
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To: Altariel
The Arizona governor refused to back down from obama. The top cop of the country (obama unfortunately), is now going to seriously crack down on such disobedience. Hate to tell the residents of Arizona this, but obama has a loyal police force and court system scrutinizing your every move now. Abuse of police powers is a handy way of breaking the will of a population, and this fact is not lost on a person such as obama. Police and public servant unions have their benefits, as long as you do what the thugs at the top tell you to do, therefore, you have a willing and compliant army at your disposal.
11 posted on 07/06/2012 8:15:03 PM PDT by factoryrat (We are the producers, the creators. Grow it, mine it, build it.)
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To: Lets Roll NOW

Since people have the right to live in a house that isn’t next door to a Starbucks operating out of a garage. Or a church.


12 posted on 07/06/2012 8:17:17 PM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: the_Watchman
I was following until: “his family built a structure in their back hard.” This was not a smart thing to do. Sounds like they built a what a reasonable person would call a “church” in a residential neighborhood.

It is a catch 22. They were told they could not have 20 people in their living room. What else but move to a back yard structure. I agree a lot of nuances here but sounds like some of these zoning/construction. building codes are just an excuse to stop freedom of association.

13 posted on 07/06/2012 8:17:49 PM PDT by SolidRedState (I used to think bizarro world was a fiction.)
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To: factoryrat

Dude pays taxes at his business and also on his home property tax. So one pays extortion fees to government and they get to dictate your lifestyle choices too? Tyrants!


14 posted on 07/06/2012 8:17:54 PM PDT by tflabo (Truth or tyranny)
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To: SolidRedState

Building codes are hardly an “excuse to stop freedom of association.” They’re in place to protect people from waking up one morning to find that the house next door has been turned into a church/temple/mosque.

It happened in my neighborhood. They got away with violating every zoning law on the books — rolled right over the dozens and dozens of neighbors who didn’t want A BUSINESS ON A RESIDENTIAL STREET IN A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD. AS IS THEIR RIGHT.

The authorities were afraid to go up against them because of “freedom of religion.” Well, everybody on the street had their property effectively STOLEN from them. They can’t enjoy it. They can’t get rid of it. What about their rights?


15 posted on 07/06/2012 8:25:51 PM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: Altariel

If they were holding a GLBT function in their home, everything would have been fine.


16 posted on 07/06/2012 8:28:50 PM PDT by wjcsux ("In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." - George Orwell)
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To: Blue Ink
A business which is run 24/7 and has innumerable customers vs. a 20 member Bible Study on 4 acres which might be a once a week gathering are two very different things.

I guess it all depends on how often the guy is running the meeting and how big it gets.

17 posted on 07/06/2012 8:30:46 PM PDT by what's up
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To: Altariel

What if it was a once a week Boy Scout meeting?


18 posted on 07/06/2012 8:33:19 PM PDT by Irenic (The pencil sharpener and Elmer's glue is put away-- we've lost the red wheel barrow)
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To: Altariel

Go to the Blaze and watch the video. Doing a home Bible study is not the guys problem.
Stretching zoning laws and failing building codes is his problem.


19 posted on 07/06/2012 8:35:02 PM PDT by WestwardHo
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To: Lets Roll NOW
Since when do building codes override the First Amendment

If your block is zoned for single-family residential, would you object to a Moslem building a 30-story Mosque on the lot next door to you?

20 posted on 07/06/2012 8:37:36 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: SolidRedState

How many provisions or heads-turned-the-other-way have been made for less than noble causes? The people are white, no? There my be more to this but it sure sounds bad.


21 posted on 07/06/2012 8:39:24 PM PDT by stevio (God, guns, guts.)
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To: liege
Either we’re not getting the whole story or something is horribly wrong in Arizona.

Half of Arizona is no longer a part of the US. It has been given to the Sinaloa Cartel for control of all smuggling traffic.

22 posted on 07/06/2012 8:42:26 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: parisa
"....he should be jailed for code violations."

Heck yea! Now if were a criminal alien, he'd be all set.

It's just not a gov't of the People any more. You are a tax slave and if you won't get off your butt and send in some tax revenue, we'll just tax your butt.

23 posted on 07/06/2012 8:46:21 PM PDT by Paladin2
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To: Altariel
Unless the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals grants an emergency injunction, he will be jailed as early as next week.

Not reassuring.

It is reasonable to assume we don't have all the minute details. Still, most of us are are wondering if this story was identical *except* that the couple and their activity was a protected constituent of the left, would we even be reading it?

Not a chance.

24 posted on 07/06/2012 8:47:08 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: SolidRedState

Why didn’t they just move it to other houses. Then after everyone forgot about it, they could move back to his house.


25 posted on 07/06/2012 8:50:59 PM PDT by SaraJohnson
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To: Blue Ink

****The authorities were afraid to go up against them because of “freedom of religion.”****

The “authorities” were using selective enforcement to continue to shape the makeup of this nation.

Let the free market decide the direction of this country in all aspects and you will see the world transformed. Let the laws on the books that deal with fraud be enforced as well.

A mosque in my neighborhood? If they can sustain a livelyhood here when no-one will hire them then good luck in their endeavors.

A totally free marketplace is not politically correct, that tells you something.


26 posted on 07/06/2012 8:57:45 PM PDT by ResponseAbility (\)
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To: SolidRedState
It is a catch 22. They were told they could not have 20 people in their living room

Does that mean I can not have 20 people over to my house and watch the Super Bowl and drink adult beverages? I am confused.

27 posted on 07/06/2012 9:00:25 PM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Mud Man, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist. THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
If your block is zoned for single-family residential, would you object to a Moslem building a 30-story Mosque on the lot next door to you?

Disingenuous response.

How about: If a Muslim family built a similar structure in their back yard and had 15-20 people there for prayers, would we be reading the same story here? Forget the structure, go back to what took place *before* that. If the Muslim family has 15 people in their living room would they have been subjected to the same treatment?

How about the Friday night party of the local gay rights group being hosted there? 15-20 people every Friday night for drinks and a strategy meeting? Not not noisy or disruptive. Would they have been subjected to the same treatment?

You may consider my question rhetorical. We all know the answer. We are not seeing equal treatment under the law. If we were this would be a different discussion.

28 posted on 07/06/2012 9:00:25 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: Lets Roll NOW

You can have friends over to watch football, or God forbid the NBA, but don’t dare pray or quote Scripture...

What country is this, again?


29 posted on 07/06/2012 9:04:57 PM PDT by One Name (Go to the enemy's home court and smoke his ass.)
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To: Altariel

4.5 Acres in Phoenix. I have a feeling someone in the city wants to subdivide that property.


30 posted on 07/06/2012 9:07:03 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Altariel

https://www.facebook.com/PastorMichaelSalman?sk=wall


31 posted on 07/06/2012 9:09:04 PM PDT by mnehring
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To: Altariel

“Officials came in and found 67 code violations. From a failure to post exit signs to a lack of handicap signs, Phoenix officials left no stone unturned”

I have seen the future and it sucks. This is Obamaworld on a microscopic scale. When laws get too numerous and complicated, government busybodies can throw anyone they don’t like in the slammer whenever they feel like it.


32 posted on 07/06/2012 9:22:47 PM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: mnehring

BINGO!!!!

I betcha that’s why they’ve been hassling him all these years.


33 posted on 07/06/2012 9:39:25 PM PDT by WildHighlander57 ((WildHighlander57 returning after lurking since 2000))
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To: ChildOfThe60s

Agreed.


34 posted on 07/06/2012 9:44:14 PM PDT by Altariel ("Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!")
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To: Altariel

If the guys all get prayer mats and the gals wear Burqas, they will let them alone.


35 posted on 07/06/2012 9:50:30 PM PDT by fish hawk (Religion: Man's attempt to gain salvation or the approbation of God by his own works)
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To: Blue Ink

What kind of business, what hours, how often, how many people?


36 posted on 07/06/2012 10:17:17 PM PDT by healy61
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To: Altariel
City officials claim that he’s running an operation that is reminiscent of a home church

Did those city officials have a 4th of July bbq and invite over friends and relatives? Oops, sounds like they're running an operation that is reminiscent of a home restaurant and entertainment venue.

37 posted on 07/06/2012 10:18:47 PM PDT by bgill
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To: SolidRedState
It is a catch 22. They were told they could not have 20 people in their living room.

I have 6 children, 14 grand children,4 great grand children and all their spouses in my house every Christmas and there are times when most or all are in my living room.

I'm happy to see them all and equally happy to see them leave......except for my 12 and 13 year olds, who live with me.

38 posted on 07/06/2012 10:21:36 PM PDT by Graybeard58
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To: One Name

Just an indication of last days/end times. Refer to 1Peter Chapter 4 - Serving God in the Last Days

www.patburt.com


39 posted on 07/06/2012 10:22:16 PM PDT by Maudeen (Proverbs 3:5-6)
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To: Altariel

Those who try to save their life will lose it.......you’ll never get me alive copper.


40 posted on 07/06/2012 11:09:56 PM PDT by Repeat Offender (1 if by land, 2 if by sea, 3 if by SCOTUS)
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To: healy61

“What kind of business, what hours, how often, how many people?”

No business should be allowed to operate in a neighborhood of single-family homes. So, no hours. None. No customers in residential neighborhoods.

Not enforcing zoning is how you end up with ten beaters waiting at the curb for the mechanic who works out of his home garage. And all the attendant noise. Why should that guy be forced out when it’s okay for the people next door to run a church? If he “worships” cars... does that make it okay for the neighbors?

And made no mistake, church congregants are customers. They park. They pay. Churches are businesses, albeit tax exempt businesses.

If anyone can come up with a cogent argument why the homeowners in my neighborhood, the ones who found themselves quite suddenly living next door to a church, why they should just shut up and respect the “freedom of religion” of those who don’t respect private property rights (and that’s what we’re talking about, really) or law and order (because that’s what zoning laws are: the law), I’d love to hear it.


41 posted on 07/06/2012 11:59:05 PM PDT by Blue Ink
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To: haroldeveryman

They are trying to have it both ways - if thee preacher cannot run a church on their property as per zoning regulations then how can they be booked for building code regulations that would only apply to a business or a church. Someone doesn’t like this preacher and is out to get him.

Mel


42 posted on 07/07/2012 1:38:21 AM PDT by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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To: Blue Ink

Down on the Animal Farm, some religions are more equal than others. The “Religion of Peace” gets to sleep in the farmer’s house. Christians get the barn. OINK!


43 posted on 07/07/2012 3:15:08 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Altariel

From what I read the man want to have public meetings three times a week in a 2,000 square foot building, which has a pulpit and chairs for as many as 40 people, which he built after obtaining a a permit to convert a garage into a game room.

The city of Phoenix forbids any other occupancy or use, which can be sticky (what if they played Bible games), but the man apparently could have a church there if he complied with the normal requirements for such.

The question is whether the state has a legit interest is not only insuring homes are safely built, but that meeting houses of a certain size can require more safety features.

And at what size or frequency does having regular meetings for any purpose at your house require these extra requirements.

These are legit questions as i see them, and both sides need to be reasonable, with tolerance but not compromise, which can be a grey area.


44 posted on 07/07/2012 8:18:01 AM PDT by daniel1212 (Come to the Lord Jesus as a damned+morally destitute sinner,+trust Him to save you, then live 4 Him)
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To: liege

Too many cars left out on the street, which is understandable when you have anywhere from 20-40 people showing up at a time, there’s no way that won’t draw attention when done on a weekly basis.


45 posted on 07/07/2012 8:23:00 AM PDT by PhxTM06
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To: ChildOfThe60s
Disingenuous response.

I was not responding to the original article; I was responding to a poster (not you) who claimed that, under the First Amendment, building and zoning codes can never apply to churches. That proposition simply isn't true, and I selected an extreme example to illustrate that.

46 posted on 07/07/2012 3:47:00 PM PDT by Lurking Libertarian (Non sub homine, sed sub Deo et lege)
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To: Lurking Libertarian
I was not responding to the original article; I was responding to a poster (not you) who claimed that, under the First Amendment, building and zoning codes can never apply to churches. That proposition simply isn't true, and I selected an extreme example to illustrate that.

OK.

Well, and this will get me in trouble, but I don't see why churches should be exempt from the same property taxes that everyone else pays. It's not infringing on anyone's right to worship by expecting their facility to contribute to the costs of the local infrastructure as do the rest of us. There is nothing anti religious in expecting them to carry their share of the costs. As long as all are treated the same as any commercial property.

47 posted on 07/07/2012 4:46:28 PM PDT by ChildOfThe60s (If you can remember the 60s....you weren't really there)
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To: melsec

“Phoenix officials left no stone unturned”

Phoenix officials should get a life.


48 posted on 07/08/2012 10:41:00 PM PDT by haroldeveryman
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To: haroldeveryman

They should have stayed under the rocks they crawled out from!


49 posted on 07/09/2012 11:04:11 PM PDT by melsec (Once a Jolly Swagman camped by a Billabong....)
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