What you may not have heard about the Phoenix Bible study case

One of my communication pet peeves is Selective Disclosure. I must admit I'm more likely to object when it is on the other side of the political agenda, but it can be damaging to the Christian conservative platform when it is practiced by us as well.  Then we are the ones looked upon with disdain. I'm sure you've heard about the Phoenix home Bible study that was shut down and its host jailed for a month and fined $12K.  While I do believe the issue started as discrimination against Christians, you may not have heard is the entire story. Many other groups meet here in Phoenix and don’t get bothered, Bible studies included.  What happened here, I believe, was that they tried to comply, ran into a bigger issue and dug in their heels. This was not a small home Bible study.  They actually built a church-like structure on their property in order to house (I think due to the city telling them that many people were a fire hazard) all the people who come each week. That structure looks like a church, acts like a church and may even be used on Sunday.  I'm not sure. If you look at the video in that linked article from the first paragraph, you'll see a very quick picture of the inside of the structure. It's set up like a church with chairs and a stage-like area. I believe that they were targeted because they were Christian, but prosecuted and jailed because they did a lot more than hold a Bible study in their home.  There are zoning laws about what you can have on your property.  I believe they were notified well in advance, but that they were tired of trying to comply and defiant because they were unfairly targeted in the first place. I've found in my four years here in the Phoenix area, that Arizona has very few restrictive laws.  It's one of the easiest states in which to homeschool and tends to intrude much less on its citizens' rights than many other states.  In fact, there's a church on practically every corner! We need to be very careful to get all the facts before we decide to demonize the other side.  I'm the first one to report on Christian discrimination, but we need to get all the facts.  I don't believe I have all the facts yet, but I am sure there is more to the story than I am hearing from news reports like this one. Yes there are regular Tupperware and Bunko parties that are not held to the same standard, but there are many other Bible studies throughout Phoenix that are also not held to it.  However, I do think that if this had been a Mosque on private property, they might have been left alone. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ If you liked this post, read…Seven Reasons Why YOU Should Sign Up for the Art of Eloquence Newsletter


  • Art of Eloquence

    I agree it was probably started for that reason. This began because of religious persecution, but we are called to give to Ceasar what is Ceasar’s. We are to obey the laws of the land. The structure was a violation. Having that many people in your home is a fire hazard. However, this is happening more and more across our nation. Christianity is the last acceptable prejudice. We do need to be careful how we communicate about these issues. If we don’t, we give those who persecute us, more ammunition with which to do so.

  • Tammy

    My apologies on the above. I edited and missed correcting a statement, to whit:
    Considering that they could not even have people meet in their back yard without coming under attack, much less their home or the updated garage / game room / meeting room, this smacks of religious persecution and / or persona attack and grievance by neighbors and community members. There is no reason he should not have the freedom to peaceably assemble with others at his home for religious purposes, according to our Constitution.

  • Tammy

    What perturbs me about this issue is the violation of First Amendment rights: Freedom of religion, Freedom to peaceably assemble, Freedom to redress grievences in court. Considering that they could not even have people meet in their back yard without coming under attack, much less their home or the updated garage / game room / meeting room. I am disappointed that he did not strongly affirm that they did meet there for worship, but called it a game room. Addiitonally, I feel that we are regulating away our freedoms. I do understand zoning ordinances, but there was never any intention from the founders of our country to regulate religious freedoms out of the norm of society. No, I do not wish to go to church next door to a “gentlemnan’s” club.
    Furthermore, treating this man as a criminal for not meeting ADA standards and so forth on this building in which people meet is dangerous for all of us. It sets a precedent for a reasonable cause to prosecute the church. I am all for ADA standards in homes and such. One never knows if they will have a guest who visits who is in a wheel chair, or even if one will be confined to a wheel chair themselves for a time due to surgery, injury, or illness. That being said, if he were in violation of city codes, ordinances, and zoning laws, there are ways to address those without jail time being called for.

  • Art of Eloquence

    You’re welcome, Janet.

  • Janet Harllee

    Thank you for your insight JoJo.

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