frgavin on September 25th, 2011


A couple in California have been fined after holding Bible studies twice a week in their spacious home in Southern California.

According to City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of a municipal code which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organisations in residential neighbourhoods without a permit.

Without any warning, the couple were fined in May, then again in June, for a total of $300 dollars. The Fromms appealed their citations but were denied as City officials insist the couple need a “Conditional Use Permit” and without it could face another $500 for each additional gathering.

The Pacific Justice Institute, which is now defending the couple in a lawsuit against the city, said a conditional use permit can be costly and difficult to obtain as it will require traffic and environmental impact reports and making the home accessible to wheelchairs.

“Imposing a heavy-handed permit requirement on a home Bible study is outrageous,” said Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute. “An informal gathering in a home cannot be treated with suspicion by the government, or worse than any other gathering of friends, just because it is religious. We cannot allow this to happen in America, and we will fight as long and as hard as it takes to restore this group’s religious freedom.”

The Fromms have decided to continue their fight all that way to the federal level if necessary. Many neighbours have written letters of support, denying they were disturbed by the presence of the Bible study. The group who meet are not affiliated with any church, nor are they seeking to start a church.

Andrea Williams, CEO of Christian Concern said:

“There has been a marked increase in intolerance towards Christianity in some parts of the United States, part of a wider trend seen in the West as a result of secularism and the creed of political correctness. It is a type of totalitarianism and completely at odds with the American and European tradition of freedom of belief and freedom of speech. The good news is that people are waking up to this and it can be reversed.”


Persecution Times: California City threatens bible study group with fines for not getting a permit to meet

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