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.

    • GJBabin_USMCV
      July 8, 2012 at 7:58 am

      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.

    • Barbara
      July 7, 2012 at 11:16 am

      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

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