Man Sentenced to 60 days in Jail for Having Bible Study in Home

BibleFrom the sad story of Andrew Wordes who took his life after being harassed by zoning officials, to the Michigan family who was banned from raising organic pigs on their own farm, we have detailed numerous examples of how our government is using zoning laws to intimidate private citizens into giving up their land.

The latest government crackdown on liberty involves a pastor in Phoenix, Arizona who was sentenced to  60 days in jail for having a bible study group at in his own home.

Michael Salman has been sentenced to a serve 60 days in jail and ordered to pay a fine of $12,180 for having a home bible study group that included close friends and family members. City official’s claim that he’s violated 67 zoning codes by having his home bible study group meet on his private property.


  1. Mike
    July 6, 2012 at 5:54 pm

    That’s just dirty.

    • Sounds like a violation of Constitutional Law.

  2. Jeepers The Scourge
    July 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    I bet if they were Muslim the officials wouldn’t have said a freakin’ word! Hold on to your faith! This is just the beginning, folks!

    • Maveth
      July 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

      I agree. In fact, on another website, I put up a hundred dollars saying that very thing — that the officials would have had no problem with a large Muslim gathering…

    • robert
      July 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm

      If we do not vote the Anti-Christ out of office, it is really going to be bad.

      • Jake
        July 8, 2012 at 2:24 pm

        Don’t worry about voting him out, Rick santorum isn’t getting in.

    • Patrick
      July 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

      it is getting scary.

  3. Scott
    July 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Shared. It is such a shame what some governments have become. IM sure the church goers are causing tons of hassle for law enforcement. Pitiful.

  4. Bryan
    July 6, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    I think this is sad.I think you can have anyone at your house and do bible study.People just cant stay out of people lives.I would fight this be strong.

  5. Bryan
    July 6, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    We will pray for you and your family.I think you might want to move away from people.People can be mean.I hope the person that told on you go to hell for went he did you and your family.

    • L.Edwards
      July 7, 2012 at 9:21 am

      we shouldn’t ever wish anyone to go to hell…Gods word says we should pray for them….I agree this is a sad thing to do to someone,but put the blame where it belongs…on the EVIL ONE(Devil)…God bless everyone

  6. gary burns
    July 6, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    youll probally find they are not even elected officails not the america the tourist language speaks land of the free?

  7. amy english
    July 6, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    This is exactly what has been foretold from the bible.. just saying.

  8. Mike
    July 6, 2012 at 9:31 pm

    This is taking the separation of church and state too far!!!
    I agree in the thought if this were a Muslim prayer group you can bet the ‘political reaction’ would be in the lines of “Oh no, we can’t stop them from practicing ‘their’ religion.”

  9. Rick
    July 7, 2012 at 2:37 am

    The way this is written is intentionally misleading. He was not “sentenced to 60 days in jail for having a bible study group at in his own home.” or “for having a home bible study group that included close friends and family members” He tried to build an 4200 square foot church in his backyard for his congregation of 60 to 70 people, in the middle of a dense residential neighborhood, without getting a building permit. He got fined for trying to hold church services in a building that lacked basic safety features like fire sprinklers, and exit doors, not because he was “holding bible studies in his house”.

    Yes it sounds terrible that “our government is using zoning laws to intimidate private citizens into giving up their land”, but in this particular case the city planning officials actually helped guide him through the process of getting a legal building built. The fact that it was a church he was trying to build actually makes the process easier, not harder. It would have been much harder to make a commercial building there – the city code encourages neighborhood churches and tries to accommodate them. It went off the rails because he built the building illegally rather than compromise and deal with his neighbors. His rights to do what he wants with his land are balanced by the rights of all the neighbors that already surrounded him. I’d be willing to bet that if someone moved into your neighborhood and tried to do the same thing most of you would want to stop it too.

    Ya’ll should do some more reading on this particular story. This is not as clear-cut as this article tries to paint it as.

    • Michael Randle
      July 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

      Thank you for clarifying this story. I suspected we didn’t have all the facts from the bullet statements posted herein.

    • Rob
      July 7, 2012 at 11:21 am

      I strongly suspected that something like this was the case.

    • David
      July 7, 2012 at 11:24 am

      But, why are zoning laws even just? It’s his property, he should be able to do what he wants with it.

      • Capers
        July 7, 2012 at 11:31 am

        Cool. That means I can put a paper mill next to your house if I own the land. Right?

        • Dan Howley
          July 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

          Why, Yes you may Capers

    • Dan Howley
      July 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Rick, your comment on this article DOES clarify alot and I thank you for that….however, there IS one thing I’m not really clear on, and that is you said that His rights to do what He wants with His land are “balanced” by the rights of all the neighbors that already surround him…..If he builds a church on his own property, how is that an infringement on his neighbors rights in any way shape or form? Are you suggesting that His neighbors have the right to decide What He can do with His property? If that’s so…then it sounds like His neibors have more say-so about his Own property than He does….I would say that if his neighbors can dictate WHERE, WHEN, HOW and WHAT He can do on and with His own property, that THAT is an infringement upon HIS property Rights and that in reality, he doesn’t OWN His property….His neighbors do….I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I feel that I would have the ONLY say about what I outright own, and somebody elses opinion about what I do with what I own is inconsequental, for, if I allowed someone else to dictate what I do with what I own, I would be allowing someone else to impose THEIR will upon me, and I do not believe that this Country was founded upon such a tyranical concept…forgive me if I’m wrong, but that how I see this particular point.

      • Thomas Watts
        July 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm

        Noise and traffic are public nuisance.

    • Debbie
      July 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm

      Thank you. I just knew there had to be a lot more to it than what the press was spewing. (there always it) Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Christian and I don’t put anything past our government, but this just screamed of info ommision.
      I think if we researched alot of the things the press puts out there we would find a lot of garbage.
      Thanks again Rick.

    • Don Groover
      July 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm

      Rick, Thanks for enlightening us. We often see things on the internet that have enough truth to get peoples interest and then enough misinformation to stir them up. Then many of these good people will do or say things that they will later regret.

      Out of fairness, will you please provide us with the link or links where you got your information so we can confirm what you have told us.


    • Meralee
      July 10, 2012 at 9:20 am

      Thanks for giving us the other side of the story.

    • Jeanne
      July 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

      I read that he did in fact get approval for a 2000 sf building in his yard – that he was renovating an existing garage. Also, how many people are attending? 20? or 300? Zoning laws are a fact of life in many areas, they exist for a reason and citizens vote on them. If people want to live somewhere where they won’t be bothered by noise and business traffic, they choose to live in areas that are protected by zoning laws. If someone wants to change those laws usually the city council or town council or county has to vote on it. There are unincorporated or mixed-use areas that are very flexible. Also, there is the question of something being a one-time event – like holding a big 50th wedding anniversary party – which most neighbors would be very tolerant of. As opposed to having 100 cars up and down the street once every week.

      This situation definitely worries me – I do foresee a time when law enforcement agencies will police private religious activities in our homes and there will fines and prison sentences for people who don’t worship or work on a given day,etc.

      But, it would really be helpful to have a detailed chronology and complete facts. I haven’t heard anyone say how many people attend these bible studies – it there are 20 people, that’s no more than a weekly bridge club or a Mary Kay meeting – which wouldn’t bother anyone. Is he blasting religious music at inappropriate times? There are so many small details which could make this story really just a story about simple disturbance of the peace being used to cry “martyr”. Christians should point out persecution – but, they also are told in the Bible not to go to any deliberate lengths to invite persecution.

      I am always watchful of civil power being used to regulate or constrict religious freedom. These stories will be much more helpful if ALL the details are included.

  10. tanya s
    July 7, 2012 at 7:22 am

    Hate to say it Americans, but this going to get so much worse! Pray for America.

    • I agree with tanya s.that we should pray for America. And it is sad that America doesn’t see it that it is coming to this, we all have a right according to our 1st Amendment also.
      I pray for those who persecute us when we are out preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ, whether in our homes, churches and in the public.
      However, if there is a law in the town, city, state and nationally that requires a building permit either on the property of the home or a business we must abide by it.
      However I will still continually pray for you and your family and others like us who are out there preaching the Good News and reaching lost souls for Jesus. It is done in love and it is not about religion… It is about the love of God for all humanity throughout this earth. Amen
      May God be with you and bless you in all your journeys you take in this Great Commission. In Jesus’ name. Amen

  11. Anna
    July 7, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I’m so sorry to hear this. The government wants to control everything. Family and friends like a Thanksgiving dinner you should be allowed to do what you want in your own home. We are lowsing our freedoms every day! If that were a muslim gathering I’ll bet they wouldn’t say or do anything!

  12. Christopher Kirby
    July 7, 2012 at 9:10 am

    This isnt about religion. Please climb down off the cross people. Our local govt pulled the same schtick with some swingers in our area, and I’m guessing that wasn’t foretold in the bible. Certainly zoning laws are crap, and boy do they hate when you dont get permission to use your own land. Lets not make this travesty into something its not by claiming its an assault on religion. Its an assault on private property, nothing more.

    • Meralee
      July 10, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Well said.

  13. sarah rickman
    July 7, 2012 at 9:46 am

    U know our redemption draws near. The Lord Jesus said we’d see these things. The End Times are here. What the officails do not realize is that this kinda thing only makes us stronger and enable us to grow. With Persecution comes growth. Hang In there and we will be prayin for you brother!!

  14. Jeana
    July 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

    In response to those claiming this case is not related to religious freedoms; the guy clearly states that the family was being harassed by the city years before the 2000 sq ft (not 4200 sq ft) building went up in the back. They seem to have a large enough property to accommodate a group of guests that are only as large as he describes without disturbing the densely populated residential area. He also clearly states in the videos that he tried to comply with the codes they were trying to enforce. It all comes down to the fact that worship of our Maker and Savior makes people uncomfortable and even angry.

  15. Frater Perdurabo
    July 7, 2012 at 10:55 am

    If Government had such a problem with worship then explain to me why there is a plethora of Churches all over Phoenix?

  16. Mitch
    July 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    You can’t have it both ways! If you tell others what they can do in there homes they can tell you what you can do in your home!!!!!!
    I will bet the good pastor tells people they cannot smoke pot in their home! Property rights are property rights no matter what you are doing as long as you are not hurting anyone!

  17. Robert
    July 7, 2012 at 11:31 am

    According to statistics 85% of Americans claim to be Christian. Yet we appease the 15%? Emphasis placed on the word claim!

  18. Paul Prichard (Paper Bear)
    July 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    This is nuts, just what the hell is going on in the land of the not-free-from-zoning-codes and home of the brave ?

  19. call for an interview want to confirm the reports
    July 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    flood em with harrasing calls every one should do it at least twice about this trash

  20. Michele
    July 7, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    It’s absurd to say that the government would never do this to Muslims. It does, as much if not more so than it does to Christians. It has nothing to do with Christians vs. Muslims. It has to do with people who dare to hold allegiances to things other than their government more strongly than any allegiance they hold to their government, and the fact that those in positions of power fear that.

  21. Andrew Llewellyn
    July 7, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    If you people spent less time reading your holy books, and more time gardening & helping your neighbors, we’d be a lot better off.
    Christians aren’t persecuted, this country caters to them so much. They do have a ‘persecution complex’ though, and way too many of them lust for Armageddon. Keep believing in your fairy tales, just don’t wreck the planet for the sane folks who haven’t caught your particular flavor of mind-virus.

  22. Jim
    July 8, 2012 at 8:09 am

    I would advise everyone that this type of persecution of beliefs is coming to everyone. Christians are the easy target, Muslims just might blow something up, but agnostics and atheists best take notes on what is happening. Eventually the only belief system that will be tolerated will be ” government worship ” in essence Caeser is God. Any worship of anything other than Caeser will be a crime.

  23. Robert
    July 8, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I am Pagan, yet I see this is so totally wrong. Share your faith! This is infringement upon civil liberties..!
    I am SO ready to disappear from the grid over crap like this!!

  24. Bill
    July 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    I purchased a church building, a commerical property, in a residential area where churches already exist. I had to get a lawyer to have our city approve us having church in a building designed for worship. Some neighbors objected. We have our own paved parking lot. We are handicap accessible and met all the city codes but we were opposed. The battle is spiritual. I own the building, not the congergation. I pay the property tax, not the congregation. Recently, I went to the city council to get premission to place a large cross out behind our building. They turned me down saying it would be a sign. Yes it would be a sign and things like this are a sign of the times. Other churches have crosses but some also have members on the city council. We take or defeats graciously and that too is a sign to those who would oppose us of their coming judgment. It would be OK for me to have the cross but I must go out an get the signatures. Laws mean little. The first ammendment means little. Votes may buy you the rights. I would suggest that one take a look at the “Religious Land Usage and Institutionaize Persons Act” passed during the Clinton years. That may help your case.

  25. Prepping Preacher
    July 9, 2012 at 2:06 am

    keep your eyes open for more of the same as our nation deteriorates with the muslim on Cap Hill and the nwo makes deeper, broader in-roads into our sovreignty… the world dislikes most religions but hates Christianity…

  26. JT
    July 9, 2012 at 9:32 am

    I am not Christian however I believe everyone has the right to believe in what they want and worship what they wish. Now saftey is important if they are having 60-70 people in their home weekly then saftey codes would be an issue, but if they were taking steps to meet these saftey standards they should be able to do what they want on their land as long as they’re not doing anything unreasonable to disturb their neighbors peace like having huge loud parties if all of their ‘guests’ are parking off street and on their property there doesn’t seem to be a reason to bother them as long as they are paying their taxes and paying for the needed permits and respecting their neighbors rights then they should be able to have their bible studies and practice their right to worship and assemble.

    People that practice forms of non-organized religions have gatherings in their homes/outside property as they do not have comercial churches to worship in I have yet to hear of these groups being targeted by the goverment though their groups may be a bit smaller whats the difference?

    I have heard of the goverment finding shady ways to take peoples property before it doesn’t take much for them to have a reason. I am glad to hear they got their property back, but I think putting this man in jail for any period of time seems a bit much.

  27. s†lkworm
    July 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I don’t know, I’m sort of torn on this one…

    On one hand I absolutely believe that a United States citizen should have the right to do what he wishes on his property, but of course there are going to be some parameters that we all have to abide by or else everyone exercising what they feel is their ‘rights’ could impede the rights of us all…

    Also, Romans 13 tells us that God ordained Govt. as well and that Govt. (at times) is actually doing the will of God, and I believe you could see a case in point for the city’s actions here as well…

    For example, I’m in the middle of looking for a house to purchase as well, and though I love me some church (Baptist gal here, at church ALL day long on 1st Sunday, and no church service that we hold has been shorter than 4 hours if you include breakfast & Sunday School)but I don’t really want to live next to a church. I would like to live in a suburban house surrounded by other suburban houses.

    Churches can have alot of traffic, alot of strangers coming to visit (not something any parent with small children would be thrilled with), and some churches can be really, really loud. I don’t think its fair to the neighbors who have been and are continuing to pay their mortgages every month to have a large gathering place errected for large numbers of people to gather at multiple times during the week. I’m sure when they signed their lives on the line when they bought their houses this was not what they envisioned their day to day life to be like.

    At this point with the information I have at ahand, I think it would be the most considerate for this Pastor and his church members to just go find a property better suited for their needs.

    I mean, who’s to say all the resisitance he’s gone through in getting this started wasn’t the Lord trying to redirect his efforts somewhere else where God would be glorified instead of blasphemed?

    I dunno, I just dont’ think its fair that he just up and put an actual church in his flippin’ backyard! Like, I would be pissed if he did that next door to me! I think it’s great to stand up for your faith in the face of resisitance & all, but we do serve a God of decency and order, and I don’t think the Pastor’s actions (from what I understand of the story) is giving that image of God to others who don’t know Him yet by doing this.

  28. deereverywhere
    July 9, 2012 at 10:24 am

    I can hear George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Samuel Adams and even Ben Franklin rolling over in their graves…how much does freedom cost? “If wicked men insult and hate you all because of Me, blessed, blessed are you”

  29. Some Sanity
    July 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    Really simple. When he “bought” his property I’m sure the deed included wording such as “subject to liens and restrictions of record.” The “restriction of record” is the zoning part. SO, obviously the solution was NOT to buy that property. If you change your mind about what use you want, sell the property and buy property that does not restrict that use! Just because YOU change your mind about how to use the property doesn’t mean everyone around you is OK with it. After all, they bought the property with the same restrictions as you!!!!

  30. Keith
    July 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

    There is a Christian law association that may be able to help – they’re out of North Carolina. Can’t hurt to give them a call, as they specialize in this sort of thing: – 919-556-6098 or 727-399-8300. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Never thought this sort of thing would happen in America till AFTER the rapture. :(

  31. Gloria
    July 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

    VERY AMERICAN CITIZEN NEED TO JUMP ABOARD THIS SHIP…if not we wont be allowed to haveFAMILY CHRISTMAS GET TOGETHERS,BIRTHDAY PARTIES,GRADUATION CELEBRATIONS,FOOTBALL SUNDAYS ETC…if this is not a public use building or home-then your civil rights have been violated…im sure the building was used for more than just worship,, how many people out there say grace at thanksgiving or christmas—wake up people–im jumping aboard..blessings–im not a religious person but this is THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND WE THE CITIZENS ARE PROTECTED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND THE BILL OF RIGHTS….

  32. wildrider70
    July 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Your so called ‘Constitution’ only applies to and ONLY TO ‘NATIONAL SECURITY’ of your country. I you want to have any sort of ‘reasonable’ assembly’ of any nature, it has to be within the confines of ‘national security’ thinking. The reason why ‘Muslims are allowed to do what they do is because its in ‘The Interests of National Security’ that’s all no more, no less. Otherwise, I personally feel they wouldn’t be allowed upon American soil never mind having ‘lawful’ assembly. Think about, while you all climb down from your crosses, tabernacles, church pulpits, etc. etc…Its in the best interest of your Nations security its not about religion…look at the big picture here folk, this is coming from a Canadian perspective who is Atheist and agnostic.

  33. Nick S.
    July 13, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    Better this way, that book is evil.

  34. Tammy
    July 30, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    my prayers are with you & your family! I sure hope people wake up & see this is a sign of the times to come for christians!

  35. alexander
    September 25, 2012 at 10:26 am

    that is just straight up dispicable. those city officials should hold their heads in shame…wwjd.

  36. 4K47R34P3R
    December 14, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    just call it at book club. then they can’t do anything

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