Skip to comments.Homeowner Jailed for Hosting Bible Study
Posted on 07/10/2012 12:12:26 PM PDT by Sleeping Freeper
A Phoenix man who violated city zoning laws by hosting a Bible study in the privacy of his home has started serving a 60-day jail sentence for his crimes.
Michael Salman was found guilty in the City of Phoenix Court of 67 code violations. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail along with three years of probation and a $12,180 fine. A spokesperson for the city attorney confirmed that Salman reported to a county jail Monday afternoon.
Members of Salmans Bible study group posted video of their teacher as he self-reported to the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office. It was an emotional scene.
We believe that people should not be prohibiting other people from having Bible studies in their homes, Salman said outside the jail. We believe what they are doing is wrong. Its private property. Its our home.
Salman embraced some of his Bible study members before offering final remarks.
At the very end, after all is said and done, God will ultimately have glory in this, he said. We do this for the glory of the Lord.
Someone off camera could be heard remarking, I love you, pastor.
Salmans incarceration is the result of a long-running feud between the ordained pastor and the city of Phoenix over weekly Bible studies that Salman and his wife hosted in their home. City officials determined that the weekly gatherings constituted a church and therefore violated a number of code regulations.
(Excerpt) Read more at radio.foxnews.com ...
OK, so why is Sheriff Joe doing this?
File this under “Things You Just Don’t Want To Believe”.
To bad he isn’t an illegal, a black militant, gay, transgendered and or a public union member.
Would they DARE prosecute a muslim for running a mosque out of his home?
This isn't Sheriff Joe's jurisdiction. It's a Phoenix city ordinance, not a Maricopa County ordinance.
There’s quite a bit more to this story. A thread was posted yesterday, I believe. I’m hopeless when it comes to the search function here. It seems the guy really ticked off all his neighbors. Claiming things like he was going to build a church in his back yard, etc.. Perhaps a more adept reader can find that thread?
The sheriff doesn’t get to pick and choose who goes to jail in any jurisdiction.
It wouldn’t matter if it was his jurisdiction. The sheriff puts people in the county jail who have been convicted in municipal, county or state courts.
I knew there had to be more to the story.
It ain’t Sheriff Joe - it’s the damned police and city hall.
How big is his back yard ?
Looks like a church already, to me.
Maybe he just needs more room.
I'm guessing his neighbors were not happy.
He's already built a small building in his back yard - not a church. He built it because he was told he could not have bible studies in his house.
He has over four acres of land. His house and land are well separated from neighbors.
He uses the little building in the back to host a weekly bible study. The building is sound proof, and nothing that goes on in the building can be heard by neighbors. All cars coming to his house are parked on his property. The neighbors are the jerks here, not this man or his family.
At least 8.
This is a glaring example:
This country was settled by people who wanted the freedom to practice their faith as they saw fit. But there's a reason the Pilgrims had to get out of Europe, and it's the same reason Michael Salman is encountering so much resistance from his neighborhood.
At the time the pilgrims left England, there was a state run church. Those who didn't want to follow the exact edicts of the church were imprisoned and executed. That isn't even close to what is going on here, so the mere comparison is evidence of the writer being a whacked out prejudiced nit-wit.
Being imprisoned for being a unreasoned lout, IS NOT the same thing as being imprisoned or executed because you disagree with a dictate of the state church.
What drives this man, or his specific behaviors that differ from that of the writer, are also unrelated to this matter, in that this is not why the man is being taken to task by the law. We shouldn't be reviewing his fervor here. We should be reviewing what he has done that warrants intervention. Unfortunately this is a point lost on the writer of the Rest of the Story. Fervor is only a problem when it is forced on others.
The fact that this guy is on fire, isn't the problem. His religion isn't the problem. The fact he wants to witness to others isn't either. It's when the pursuit of his rights begins to push back the rights of others, that a problem arises. And that is what should be addressed, without the personal barbs.
Congregating should be arranged so that the size of the group does not impact other people. A church side room would be appropriate if the group is large. Even then, some consideration should be given to how loud and frequent the meetings will be, and whether neighbors will be impacted too frequently to be considered reasoned.
If a group of four to six wants to meet for prayer meetings or religious study, it should be fine. It would be even better if the host home were switched up among the participants, so that neighbors of one home aren't always subject to noise or a street with no parking spaces on a frequent basis.
As Christians we should expect to have rights, and to be free to exercise them. At the same time, we need to be good neighbors.
The Christian religion is focused in part on witnessing. What type of message is conveyed if a Christian is so careless that he turns his neighbors off not only to him and his group, but in all likelihood to Christ Himself.
Moderation in all things... Salman needs to rethink his approach.
If he wanted to build a church or meeting house why did he apply for a "game room"? Not very honest of him.
I wonder how much he collects each week from the hundreds who cycle through.
From the article you cited:
“The real problem is that Salman is intent on building a church in his own backyard and not just any church, but a 4,200-square-foot building that will sit only a few feet from his neighbor’s property line.”
If it looks like a duck...
I don't know, but I bet with SIX GIRLS and a WIFE, he doesn't have it very long.
What part of ‘free EXERCISE of religion’ do they not understand?
That is not the 'small building' you were told about. It is his 'house'. I was noting that it already resembled a church.
The small building is a roof supported by some 4x4 columns, with hay bales scattered round. I have seen the picture once, but I am having trouble relocating it.
Yes, it does matter.
He went to county jail, but that doesn't mean the county sheriff did the prosecuting. It was a city infraction.
I’ve got four girls and a wife.....and a shed....hmmmm....
What you fail to mention is that the City gave him grief even when he was holding the Bible studies in his home, before the auxiliary building was erected.
Don’t trust anyone’s opinion. Especially mine.
See for yourself.
WATCH TOUR OF WHERE PASTOR HOLDS BIBLE STUDIES:
(it’s the second video on the page)
This looks more like a witch-hunt than anything else.
I can understand that neighbors don't like extra cars around and a shortage of parking, but that isn't the case here. All cars (bible study attendees) are parked on this man's property.
Hmmmm....he probably built the "game room" so he could finally have his own bathroom.
That article is a bit deceptive “Home-owner jailed..” ?
I also see it doesnt say how many people were in that 2000 sM church he built on his property. 200?? 50? It matters.
Bunch a green necks.
Oh, the private property myth. If you truly think you “own” your property, try not paying taxes on it. The great American Dream should really be called the Great American Property Tax Heist. Thread hop.. it was truly shocking to read the Federal Government owns a third of the land in the US. Who owns the other two thirds?
I don't know that term....
constitutionally opposed to red necks. that is one red neck church. betcha it brings no littering, no crime, no brawls. but it offends the neighbors sense of propriety so out it’s gotta go.
The building in his backyard is 2,000 sq. ft., and is not being used as living quarters. That’s a fairly large area when you just have people standing or sitting in chairs. It’s being used as a church building.
The article says he told the building code authorities he was constructing a game room for his family. If that’s true, then the minister lied.
Yeah. Look at those big air conditioners on the roof. He must be hunting some really big “game”.
Sheriffs don't prosecute in any jurisdiction, nor do sheriffs make the call if a crime is going to be prosecuted.
Thanks for the ping to Ron C.’s comments Carry_Okie. Those comments were located here:
Later on Ron appeared to back off a bit on his description of the building. That is verifiable here:
In my original post, I tried to voice some reason regarding this issue. Not all city ordinances need to be viewed as focused on Religion. I’ve seen issues like this discussed before, when folks failed to ask normal questions about impact on neighbors and other peripheral issues, such as local ordinances.
Here, and thanks to some folks who provided links, it seems like the father and family in focus, did try to comply with the city’s ordinances. And IMO, those ordinances were extremely iffy on the surface.
For instance, how can it be illegal to invite non-family members into your home without a certificate to validate it’s use as a small meeting place? The absurdity of that is unmistakable.
For instance, no wedding receptions, graduation receptions, bar mitzvahs, garden parties, retirement celebrations, card parties, groups who want to get together and play games, Tupperware parties, Mary K Cosmetics, Amway and other things could do so without a city permit. And that means even once!
None of this would be permissible on an occasional basis as stated by the reading of the code the city is trying to enforce against this man. And as the video provided up thread via a link, many of his neighbors are doing these very things.
Initially this homeowner was trying to hold a small prayer study group in his living room. I’ve been around for 61 years, and I have never heard of someone being prevented from having a very small group attend meetings in their home.
Trying to comply with what I think was an absurd interpretation, the homeowner did build a use permit building. And then the city, which had to approve of the project every step of the way, knowing damn well what this guy was trying to achieve, none the less came in later and claimed he still wasn’t in accordance with city codes.
How did he get sign off at each step of construction, if he wasn’t meeting city codes?
If there was a problem with locating this building there for the intended purpose, the city should have denied his application at the onset of the project. To complain now after he has paid to have the building erected, complying with city codes at each step of construction, seems extremely abusive.
I do believe cities do have to have codes to protect one citizens rights from another person’s abuses. I also believe in it, when it comes to safety. Here I can’t see how the city has a leg to stand on, if it allowed the building to go through the permit process, and now isn’t happy with what exists on that property.
Without a lot of study, it’s hard to know if we actually know all the timelines, and permitting processes involved here. It does seem like overkill to send upwards of twenty people into this man’s home with a warrant in order to resolve this issue.
Unless this guy built without a permit, it looks to me like the city is the culprit here.
If he did build without a permit, it is reasoned for the city to take him to task, but it should be done in a business like manner, not a criminal like manner with what appears to be very close to an assault team.
My original post here:
Then why are you blaming him?!
D-1, your reasoning and logic is flawless and impeccable, as always, brother.
Stories like this always have a knee-jerk reaction built into them. But there’s always more to it.
Sounds like, from reading the whole article, that this home bible study group had grown too big for the home. They were meeting in a separate 2,000 sq. ft. building behind the house and probably need to move.
Betcha neighbors were annoyed not with the religious nature of the meetings but rather with the associated traffic, parking, and noise problems.
Also something about lighting.
Probably more of a zoning and disturbing the peace issue than one of religious freedom.
Having lived in Arizona...I can say this. If a guy had an occasional five or six folks over and chatted over just about anything (to include the Bible), then no neighbor would care. The minute you build onto your property, and it starts to look like a large-scale building...that has nothing to do with a garage or hobby...and looks like something beyond a house...folks start to ask questions.
I’m guessing that cars in front of the neighbors irked folks, and that this guy really didn’t see where this was going to lead to.
The guy outright lied on the permit saying he was building a "game room". Read the link I posted.
Walmart provides parking for all their customers, too, but I don’t want to live next door.
Bible thumper here, but I’m solidly on the neighbors’ side in this one.
Romans 13 — “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
The size of it is far less important than the issue here. And that is, whether or not a man has the right to hold Bible studies on his property or not - even though there is no chance of that activity harming his neighbors in any way whatsoever.
It is a sad day in America when atheists can dictate absolute restrictions on religious activities in such a ham-fisted way.
That this would be happening in a state that WAS once very conservative, is of little surprise, since most of the growth that came to Phoenix was from DEMOCRATS moving away from the fiscal mess THEY created with their votes in CA!
Take a look at the property I posted just prior. It is instructive in that the new building has no windows to the South to allow sound to escape the building - and apparently the same to the North from prior pictures.
This needs to be litigated, laws changed, and freedom restored.
Okay, that may be true. I’m not trying to imply anything other than I’m taking your word for it.
Let me run this by you though.
1. Homeowner gets city complaint about prayer meetings in home
2. Homeowner requests permit to build on property in response
3. Homeowner states new structure is only a game room
4. City buys off on it
My question is this. Why would the city buy off on the game room plan in the first place? They know he’s under pressure to conform to city codes regarding meetings? The same city department that is explaining to him what his code violations are, simply misses the connection between existing complaints and the inadequate plans for a new structure?
This leaves me scratching my head.