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Jail Sentence Stands for Host of Home Bible Studies in Arizona

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Jun 22
  • Comments

A federal district court in Arizona ruled that a Phoenix homeowner who held weekly Bible studies in his backyard must serve jail time for failing to comply with building, zoning, fire and safety codes applicable to churches, Christianity Today reports. In 2008, the city of Phoenix ordered Michael Salman to comply with code requirements for a church after neighbors complained about his Bible studies, which drew 50 people to a gazebo in his backyard. Salman refused, saying the order violated his free exercise rights, and was fined $12,000, sentenced to 60 days in jail and given three years of probation, during which he could not have more than 12 people in his home. On Friday, the federal district court dismissed Salman's attempt to halt the judgment because a lower federal court had already heard his complaint and dismissed it for failing to first exhaust his legal options at the state level.