July 24, 2012

Banning of US Home Bible Studies Challenged by The Rutherford Institute

John Whitehead
John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute has noted a pattern, that local authorities around the US have been undermining the right to freely assemble and worship together in private homes. This type of problem has also been noted by Eric Rassbach and Jay Sekulow.

In some recent examples, a ruling in 2010 had banned a home church meeting of seven people in Gilbert, Arizona, but it was later dismissed as being unconstitutional. In 2011, the city of San Juan Capistrano slapped Chuck and Stephanie Fromm with two $300 fines for not having a permit to pray in their home with guests. This was overturned.

In Arizona, however, there's been an escalation for the worse. An armed SWAT team has raided the home of pastor Michael Salman and escorted him to jail for up to possibly three years because he violated conditions set by Phoenix authorities including a decision to limit meetings in his house to 12 people. Salman, however, believes he has a constitutional right to freely hold Bible studies on his 1.5 acre property that are larger and in according with the rights of homeownership. John Whitehead, a lawyer and founder of the Rutherford Institute, has desired to take on the case in Salman's defense, however, as of July 23rd, The city of Phoenix has denied Salman's right for a lawyer to intervene and offer a legal defense, the right of habeas corpus.















A basic summary of the issues from the Rutherford fact sheet.

"In coming to the defense of Michael Salman, Rutherford Institute attorneys are challenging the legality of Salman’s imprisonment as a violation of his First Amendment right to religious freedom and assembly, in addition to challenging the City’s assertion that if a person holds Bible studies or other forms of religious worship at his residence, he is required to comply with all local laws relating to an actual church that is open to the public. A municipal court judge for the City of Phoenix has since declared that the Salmans may not hold religious gatherings at their home with more than 12 people in attendance.

The Rutherford Institute is also challenging the city’s assertion that “Bible studies are not allowed to be conducted in your residence or the barn on your property as these structures do not comply with the construction code for this use.” Institute attorneys contend that Salman’s religious gatherings should have been treated as accessory uses under the regulations governing residential property. However, city officials claim that they can treat the Bible studies differently than family reunions, football parties or Boy Scouts solely because they are “religious worship.” Quotes from initial court documents reveal that the rationale applied in fining and jailing Salman was unconstitutional and unjust. "Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs they must discontinue the bible studies because they constituted "church use." And another quote, "At the meeting plaintiffs were told that, pursuant to city ordinances and coeds, religious activity within a residence is considered "church use", which is not permitted on plaintiff's property without the necessary permits."

The court documents outline a timeline of initial events:

1. February 2007: “plaintiffs met with neighbors and defendant Councilman Claude Mattox. Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs that they must discontinue the bible studies, because they constituted “church use,” for which plaintiffs lacked the required permits.”

2. May 2007: “plaintiffs submitted construction plans for a building to be used for worship and bible study.”

3. December 2007: “defendant Councilman Mattox made a motion to change the parking requirements for places of worship. Because of these changes, plaintiffs had to withdraw their building permit application.”

The series of events is legally problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is highly questionable for a city zoning office to change its zoning codes in the middle of a zoning application. The document states that Salman "had to" withdraw his application after it was submitted implying that the new zoning change effectively blocked his legal building application.

But even more problematic is that bible studies must be discontinued, not because of specific hazards or specific amounts of people were gathering, but simply because this constitutes "church use" in their opinions.



The unreasonable and unconstitutional rationale of Phoenix authorities:

1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

Outline of larger issues regarding the banning US home church meetings

I. The New Testament encourages fellowship and meetings in private houses.

II. The US Constitution protects fellowship and meetings in private houses.

III. Vague and unconstitutional codes are used in order to ban home meetings.

A. There is too much noise.

B. There are too many people.

C. There is a tax deduction.

D. Zoning must comply with a public church.

D. Public advertising is used.

I. The New Testament encourages fellowship and meetings in private houses.

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV) Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the day approaching.

Acts 20:20 (NIV) You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house.

1 Corinthians 16:19 (NIV) The churches in the province of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Priscilla greet you warmly in the Lord, and so does the church that meets at their house.

Colossians 4:15 (NIV) Give my greetings to the brothers at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.

Romans 16:5 (NIV) Greet also the church that meets at their house...
II. The US Constitution protects fellowship and meetings in private houses.

The US Founding Fathers recognized that basic legal civil liberties provide a cornerstone for a free and healthy society. The First Amendment, likely the most important part of the U.S. Constitution, outlines how the "free exercise" of religion and "the right of the people peaceably to assemble" were considered vital aspects of these rights:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Similar to the "free exercise" of religion, people have the legal right not to be discriminated against for their religious beliefs and activities in the US.

In Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963), the Supreme Court required states to meet the "strict scrutiny" standard when opposing religious activities. In other words, a "compelling interest" is required regarding such opposition. The key case involved Adele Sherbert, who was denied unemployment benefits by South Carolina because she refused to work on Saturdays. Her Seventh-day Adventist faith required this, however. In Wisconsin v. Yoder, 406 U.S. 205 (1972), the Court ruled that a law that "unduly burdens the practice of religion" without a compelling interest, even though it might be "neutral on its face," would be unconstitutional.

The Equal Protection Clause outlines that, "that all persons similarly situated should be treated alike."also provides legal grounds for home meetings. As described, "...the case can be made that prohibiting a group that seeks to use a residential dwelling for a group meeting house is similarly rationally related to the legitimate government interest of fostering a quiet neighborhood. However, can a distinction be made between secular gatherings verses religious gatherings at one's primary residency? Sean J. Gallagher outlines the strict scrutiny test:

"The U.S. Supreme Court only allows content-based regulation of protected speech if the ordinance passed the strict scrutiny test. For example, if a locality permits a resident to have a weekly gathering of  15 visitors to watch a sporting event or have a meeting of friends for any other secular purpose, and then prohibits another resident from holding a religious meeting of a similar number of people, this would be considered a regulation based on the content of one's speech."

III. Vague codes are used in order to help ban home meetings.

A. There is too much noise.

Noise complaints are one of many reasons why authorities may attempt to claim that home meetings are unacceptable. Main, Vermont and Massachusetts  have outlined the specific level of noise that is acceptable and uses sensitive equipment in order to objectively evaluate the noise level decibels. The city of Phoenix, however, imposes harsh fines while using arbitrary and subjective definitions of how a "loud" gathering party may be defined.





B. There are too many people.

Sometimes local authorities claim that house meetings are unsafe because "There are too many people" and it is a "hazard." But instead of determining a reasonable safe amount of guests in keeping with a specific house, large or small, authorities will arbitrarily claim that even a small group of 7-12 people is too much for meeting in a large private house. If cars are parked in an orderly manner, then, even if neighbors complain, it would not be a valid reason to ban meetings. In the case of Michael Salman, a place was made for cars on his private property that was not even seen from the road. and yet the authorities still claimed that he should be fined and jailed regardless.

Ira Rennert owns the largest home in the United states, a house in the Hamptons which includes a 10,000 sf "playhouse" and a 164-seat movie theater. If seven to twelve people is considered an arbitrary limit to the number of people who may gather for religious home meetings, then this rule would have to be applied across the board in order to be non-discriminatory. If a maximum amount of guests is to be determined for any private house, it should perhaps take into consideration all the factors that apply, such square footage and as egress, and, most importantly, if there is truly a threat posed to public safety.

The city of Phoenix states that home religious meetings are a safety concern. However, Brad Dacus, founding president of the Pacific Justice Institute, remarked on the Salman case, "The city is dealing with a 5-acre parcel of land. Based on the information we have received, there are no bona fide health or safety concerns that have been brought to light," said Dacus to CP on Tuesday. "There have been no injuries incurred by any individuals that have come to gather for this purpose. There are no imminent risks of injuries for anyone gathered for this religious purpose. And there are no bona fide nuisances that have arisen since its usage."

C. There is a tax deduction.

Some claim that house meetings that incorporate tax deductions should require a public church building with public church building codes. This attitude shows a misunderstanding of what a church is in the eyes of the IRS and it shows partiality with regard to other non-profit tax deductions.

Qualifying as a Church

"Some of the confusion over churches arises when the IRS differentiates between religious institutions like churches, and religious organizations. The IRS offers the following with regard to religious organizations, "Religious organizations that are not churches typically include nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, and other entities whose principal purpose is the study or advancement of religion."

However, in some cases a religious organization may qualify as a church even if it does not appear to be a church in the traditional sense. This is the case with Young Life, a nonprofit organization that the IRS officially recognized as a church following a July 2005 Ruling.

Interestingly, Young Life does not have an established place of worship or church building per se, but it does have weekly meetings at specific locations. In the end, although Young Life did not meet all federal criteria for religious entities, the IRS concluded that it did meet a sufficient number of them to qualify as a church.

The bottom line is that the IRS has created specific guidelines on churches and other religious entities to determine their tax status. However, it is not a requirement that a church meet all the criteria. Instead, the IRS offers some flexibility, giving various religious institutions the opportunity to qualify for the highly coveted tax exempt status."

Also, consider that secular non-profit organizations take tax deductions for the use of private homes for meetings: "If you let Scouts use your property (boat, car, pool, trailer, motor home, vacation home, office building, etc.), you may deduct the actual out-of-pocket operating expenses (fuel, utilities, etc.) associated with this use." If Boy Scouts leaders may deduct home-use expenses for their meetings, then this should also apply to any and all non-profit home meetings.

D. Zoning and use must comply with a public church.

People who legally conduct Boy Scout meetings, Tupperware parties, bridge club meetings and the many other types of meetings that take place in the US do not install handicap ramps and convert houses into public meeting facilities. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to require home Bible studies to do so.

E. Public advertising is used.

Some claim that advertising for a home church meeting means that it should be zoned and treated as a public church building. But, again. If there are cases where Boy Scouts (or any group) can post invitations in public schools for a hom-group meeting, then this is a discriminatory rule. If Tupperware parties and bridge club meetings are posted in any public setting without expecting SWAT raids, then this disqualifies legal discrimination directed towards home Bible studies.

Some claim that it is a question of too many people meeting in a private house. If this is the case, then all private houses require a non-discriminatory evaluation of how many guests may meet in a private house, not just an arbitrary number that applies to home Bible studies alone.

Conclusion

As John Whitehead has stated, “Each day of Michael Salman’s imprisonment is one more day in which the civil liberties of all Americans are being trampled by overzealous government agents." But this is only one aspect of the massive erosion of civil liberties that has been occurring since 9-11. It would be helpful for Christians to pray about these types of issues. But, unfortunately, many Christians are not even aware that these types of things are taking place. Are you a person who is willing to speak the truth and stand up for it? It seems there will come a time soon in the US where you will be forced to choose between following scripture and going to jail. It may not relate to home Bible study meetings, but it will probably relate to a scriptural principle. It seems that Jesus' prophecy of Matthew 24.9 is beginning to unfold in the US.

Tags: SWAT team raids home Bible study in USA, Rutherford Institute denied the right to defend jailed pastor, Bible studies are now illegal in parts of US, erosion of civil liberties in US, escalation of police state in US, quotes from Salman court cases, home Bible studies banned as "church "use", religious persecution in the US, End Time prophecies, Michael Salman court documents,

(Revised 07/28/12)

Related:

60 Days In Prison And A $12,180 Fine For Hosting A Home Bible Study In Arizona

The Civil Rights Movement in Reverse: Who's Next?

Top Atheist and Christian Reasons to Home School Children

83 comments:

  1. And here we go again....

    1) The Rutherford Institute is trying to intervene in a case that has already been adjudicated. It is not uncommon for such interventions to be denied.

    2) I notice that you are willing to trust utterly the allegations in one lawyer's assertions, while repeatedly refusing to give any credence to other witnesses or the city of Phoenix. To say this undermines the credibility of your points is putting it mildly.

    3) An armed SWAT team has raided the home of pastor Michael Salman and escorted him to jail for up to possibly three years because he believes he has a constitutional right to freely hold appropriately-sized Bible studies on his personal 1.5 acre property.

    No -- his home was raided and he was taken to jail for parole violations. His beliefs are irrelevant save that they led to the actions that caused him to be in violation.

    If his bible study is so important to him, why wasn't he willing to bring his building up to code? It seems it's more important to him to save money than obey the law. He *wants* a conflict, it seems, since he had plenty of opportunity to avoid it.

    4) Please provide citations for your documents -- I do not trust you, frankly, to leave in important context, rather than quote-mine what you find most useful.

    5) The rationale of Phoenix authorities:

    1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
    2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
    3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.


    You are, as usual, ignoring the fact that none of this would have come to light without complaints. If you're holding poker nights so loud and so frequent the neigbors complain, you'll get in trouble. If you're holding "Bible study" meetings so loud or so traffic-affecting that the neigbors complain, you'll get noticed. There is no difference here.

    6) or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: The U.S. government has made plenty of laws prohibiting the free exercise thereof, as part of their general legal structure -- it happens to be as a *side effect* of said laws.

    You are, as usual, trying to claim that "having as many people as we want and making as much noise as we want is our right because we're Christians". But you'd not accept the same, I suspect, for others.

    Would you object if your neighbors regularly held skyclad rituals in their back yard, and told you that if you objected, you could avert your eyes or stay indoors? Yet public nudity laws prohibit such things.

    Would you object if you were woken at dawn by the call to prayer from the amplifiers of the mosque next door? If you don't like it, you can move.

    7) The city of Phoenix, however, imposes harsh fines while using arbitrary and subjective definitions of how a "loud" gathering party may be defined.

    I see you're ignoring the discussion on the previous thread of this point -- perhaps you hope by blatantly asserting it here, people won't notice what went on before.

    I find it amusing, as I said there, that a so-called "civil libertarian" wants extremely detailed and exact laws about anything that might possibly interfere with him, while complaining about a "police state".

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    Replies
    1. >And here we go again....

      - Exactly, My article addresses your points and you have brought nothing new to the table.

      > No -- his home was raided and he was taken to jail for parole violations. His beliefs are irrelevant save that they led to the actions that caused him to be in violation.

      - Your point is already addressed in the article:

      D. Zoning must comply with a public church.

      People who legally conduct Boy Scout meetings, Tupperware parties, bridge club meetings and the many other types of meetings that take place in the US do not install handicap ramps and convert houses into public meeting facilities. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to require home Bible studies to do so.

      >4) Please provide citations for your documents

      - What documents? I provide links to the Rutherford quote sources.

      Court document links were already noted in a previous article's comments:

      http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/arizona/azdce/2:2011cv00646/601259/21

      http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/arizona/azdce/2:2011cv00646/601259/29

      >You are, as usual, trying to claim that "having as many people as we want and making as much noise as we want is our right because we're Christians".

      - No, this point was discussed in the article:

      B. There are too many people.

      Sometimes local authorities claim that house meetings are unsafe because "There are too many people" and it is a "hazard." But instead of determining a reasonable safe amount of guests in keeping with a specific house, large or small, authorities will arbitrarily claim that even a small group of 7-12 people is too much for meeting in a large private house. If cars are parked in an orderly manner, then, even if neighbors complain, it would not be a valid reason to ban meetings. In the case of Michael Salman, a place was made for cars on his private property that was not even seen from the road. and yet the authorities still claimed that he should be fined and jailed regardless.

      Ira Rennert owns the largest home in the United states, a house in the Hamptons which includes a 10,000 sf "playhouse" and a 164-seat movie theater. If seven to twelve people is considered an arbitrary limit to the number of people who may gather for religious home meetings, then this rule would have to be applied across the board in order to be non-discriminatory. If a maximum amount of guests is to be determined for any private house, it should perhaps take into consideration all the factors that apply, such square footage and as egress, and, most importantly, if there is truly a threat posed to public safety.

      The city of Phoenix states that home religious meetings are a safety concern. However, Brad Dacus, founding president of the Pacific Justice Institute, remarked on the Salman case, "The city is dealing with a 5-acre parcel of land. Based on the information we have received, there are no bona fide health or safety concerns that have been brought to light," said Dacus to CP on Tuesday. "There have been no injuries incurred by any individuals that have come to gather for this purpose. There are no imminent risks of injuries for anyone gathered for this religious purpose. And there are no bona fide nuisances that have arisen since its usage."

      >Would you object if you were woken at dawn by the call to prayer from the amplifiers of the mosque next door? If you don't like it, you can move.

      - Again, another point already addressed:

      A. There is too much noise.

      Noise complaints are one of many reasons why authorities may attempt to claim that home meetings are unacceptable. Main, Vermont and Massachusetts have outlined the specific level of noise that is acceptable and uses sensitive equipment in order to objectively evaluate the noise level decibels. The city of Phoenix, however, imposes harsh fines while using arbitrary and subjective definitions of how a "loud" gathering party may be defined.

      Delete
    2. - Exactly, My article addresses your points and you have brought nothing new to the table.

      You actually specifically ignore a bunch of points at the end of the last comment thread, but I'll let that go, since clearly they didn't sink in at all.

      - No, this point was discussed in the article:

      Reposting your article in large chunks isn't addressing the claim. I note that you want a "reasonable" standard, but object to standards that don't have hard-and-fast numbers as "unreasonable."

      I also find it amusing that "there haven't been problems yet" is an argument -- because we're talking about *fire codes* and the like. Do we have to wait for a fire to happen there before you agree that it's dangerous?

      - No, this point was discussed in the article:


      I notice you omitted the "skyclad" point, presumably because it doesn't tie into your narrative.

      As to the noise points: From this article:
      http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/

      But then Salman announced that he was planning to build a church right there in his backyard. He talked about not just Sunday services, but weeknight Bible studies, a workout room and basketball court, even a Christian day care center.

      (I recommend the whole article to your attention.)

      You are searching for every possible exculpation for Michael Salman; perhaps you should ask yourself "Why?"

      Why are you striving so hard to defend this man:

      ""Maybe they'll get so angry that they'll do something stupid," he says. "Like put a cease-and-desist on us holding worship there. Eventually, the city can pay for the church!"

      The thought is so appealing he can't help but repeat it.

      "The city may have to pay for our church to be built," Michael Salman says. The excitement in his voice is unmistakable."

      This is the man you're defending; someone who got a restraining order placed against him by his next-door neighbor over threatening behavior. Someone who filed false paperwork in order to get his permits.

      Why are you defending him? This is hardly the test case you want.

      Delete
    3. >You actually specifically ignore a bunch of points at the end of the last comment thread, but I'll let that go, since clearly they didn't sink in at all.

      - If you believe they are valid, cogent points, then present them. So far, you haven't presented any valid, cogent points worthy of overtiring the constitution.

      >I note that you want a "reasonable" standard, but object to standards that don't have hard-and-fast numbers as "unreasonable."

      - If a person is being jailed due to vague and arbitrary laws and the administration of biased and prejudiced justice, then, yes, that would seem to be an issue.

      >I also find it amusing that "there haven't been problems yet" is an argument -- because we're talking about *fire codes* and the like.

      - Fire codes are not the main issue here, religious discrimination is.

      Ira Rennert owns the largest home in the United states, a house in the Hamptons which includes a 10,000 sf "playhouse" and a 164-seat movie theater. If seven to twelve people is considered an arbitrary limit to the number of people who may gather for religious home meetings, then this rule would have to be applied across the board in order to be non-discriminatory. If a maximum amount of guests is to be determined for any private house, it should perhaps take into consideration all the factors that apply, such square footage and as egress, and, most importantly, if there is truly a threat posed to public safety.

      >As to the noise points: From this article:

      - Hmmm. How might I respond to this comment of yours? You don't offer any specific point or opinion to respond to. This comment helps me to understand why you would defend unconstitutional and discriminatory laws.

      And yet, you very well might accuse me of not responding to some of your comments. Oh wait, you have been doing just that. This reminds me of a situation.

      There are no clear standards offered outlining how many guests in a private home should be considered too many in phoenix. But you will be fined and jailed if you have too many. No, wait. That's not true. If it's a religious meeting, then the number of people gathering is not even an issue. Any amount of people gathering to pray or read the Bible in a private home is considered illegal in Phoenix, just because it's now considered a "religious" gathering.

      >Why are you striving so hard to defend this man... Why are you defending him? This is hardly the test case you want.

      - As noted in the article, Salman's case simply highlights an escalation of a continuous trend. I am a bit disheartened to see what is happening in America. The Constitution is being ripped apart left and right while people vote for political leaders who will sit by and watch, or actually aid in the Constitution's demise, as has been the case with Bush and Obama.

      The rationale of Phoenix authorities is clearly unreasonable, unconstitutional and, therefore, unjust:

      1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
      2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
      3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

      Delete
    4. So far, you haven't presented any valid, cogent points worthy of overtiring the constitution.

      That's because the Constitution is fine in this case, and there is no indication that there's a constitutional issue here except in the minds of overzealous litigants and self-appointed martyrs.

      - If a person is being jailed due to vague and arbitrary laws and the administration of biased and prejudiced justice, then, yes, that would seem to be an issue.

      If that were the case, then there would be an issue.

      As you appear to be repeatedly missing, the noise laws you're so fond of quoting are not the reason Salman was jailed -- they are one of the reasons he was *investigated* the first time, and the zoning violations uncovered later.

      There is also no evidence of "biased and prejudiced justice" here -- there's one case whose result you don't like. Look at the same county and how much evidence has been gathered against Sheriff Arpaio for bias -- and yet it's *still* not considered an open-and-shut case. There's your standard, Rick.

      So your statement is both true, and irrelevant here.

      - Fire codes are not the main issue here, religious discrimination is.

      Fire codes are the laws you are claiming are being used for religious discrimination. To blithely claim they are "not the issue" just shows that you are again defending Salman just because he's Christian, not because you're looking at the facts of the case.

      - As noted in the article, Salman's case simply highlights an escalation of a continuous trend. I am a bit disheartened to see what is happening in America. The Constitution is being ripped apart left and right while people vote for political leaders who will sit by and watch, or actually aid in the Constitution's demise, as has been the case with Bush and Obama.

      And here's your biggest problem, Rick; whether or not you're intending to do it, you're crying wolf and hurting your own cause.

      Spending so much effort defending Salman doesn't look to anyone outside a very small bubble as "defending the Constitution". It looks like "Defending one man using whatever tools you can." Frankly, if you claimed someone was the victim of religious persecution, I'd be *less* likely to believe it than if it was asserted in the general square. I've seen what you consider to be "The Constitution is being ripped apart..." and if Salman's an example of that, then I don't have any reason to trust your judgment.

      You thanked me for signing the GE foods petition -- but I did *more* careful analysis of that petition because you recommended it, because I don't trust your reportage. I expected to find some "gotcha" in it. I didn't, so I signed it, because I agree with it -- but you're alienating potential allies.

      Delete
    5. Oh -- and in keeping with your previous debate tactics regarding other people's opinion of PZ Myer's thoughts...

      I asked earlier, and you've now declined to answer once, and ignored my rephrasing:

      Would you object if your neighbors regularly held skyclad rituals in their back yard, and told you that if you objected, you could avert your eyes or stay indoors? Yet public nudity laws prohibit such things.

      If your answer is "No", then you can continue arguing for Salman as hard as you wish -- you'll still be wrong, but at least you won't be massively hypocritical.

      If your answer is "Yes", congratulations -- you're one of Michael Salman's neighbors, complaining about the religious activities next door and apparently destroying the Constitution.

      Delete
    6. >That's because the Constitution is fine in this case...

      It seems you are in a denial of what the actual court documents state. Both the underlying rationale and the MO of the phoenix authorities are plainly unconstitutional:

      - Quotes from initial court documents reveal that the rationale applied in fining and jailing Salman was unconstitutional and just. "Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs they must discontinue the bible studies because they constituted "church use." And another quote, "At the meeting plaintiffs were told that, pursuant to city ordinances and coeds, religious activity within a residence is considered "church use", which is not permitted on plaintiff's property without the necessary permits."

      The unreasonable and unconstitutional rationale of Phoenix authorities:

      1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
      2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
      3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

      Imnotandrei, If you cannot understand why the foundational approach and rationale of the Phoenix authorities is unconstitutional, then I don't believe I can bring this revelation to you. Perhaps only God would be up to this task.

      Delete
    7. Both the underlying rationale and the MO of the phoenix authorities are plainly unconstitutional

      You continue to quote yourself as if that's an argument.

      You have one quote, from one person, and are from there deducing the entire attitude of "the Phoenix authorities" and several judges. Don't you see the likely error in there?

      You are attributing a rationale to them, and then claiming it's unconstitutional.

      without the necessary permits."

      In other words, they needed to get a permit. One is allowed to require a permit for a constitutionally required activity, provided it is not unduly burdensome to acquire one. See: parade permits, gun ownership permits, etc.

      This is, again, Con Law 101.

      The problems emerged when Salman tried to push the limits of "home bible study" beyond their reasonable grounds, and in doing so, irritated his neighbors to the point where they complained.

      Having a religious motive is not carte blanche to do whatever you want.

      Delete
    8. >One is allowed to require a permit for a constitutionally required activity.

      - You may have meant "constitutionally permitted" activity.

      i.e.: One is allowed to require a permit for a constitutionally permitted activity.

      - With regard to the most fundamental rights, such as the right to free speech and the right to assemble, this is simply not supportable. To require people to file for permits in order to meet with each other in their private homes is simple not reasonable and is in direct opposition to the spelled-out tenets of the US Constitution. This would not represent the "free exercise" of basic rights. This is more representative of a totalitarian regime.

      - "Congress shall make no law ...prohibiting the free exercise [of religion] ...or the right of the people peaceably to assemble.

      Delete
    9. - You may have meant "constitutionally permitted" activity.

      I did.

      . To require people to file for permits in order to meet with each other in their private homes is simple not reasonable and is in direct opposition to the spelled-out tenets of the US Constitution.

      So you oppose all parade permits, gun permits, etc?

      The state is allowed reasonable regulation on "home meetings" -- for safety and other reasons (see below).

      Part of the purpose of having a legal system is dealing with balancing of rights between people. When one person's right to exercise their religion infringes on another person's rights to property and peace, which are supposed to give? The law mediates between these rights.

      You appear to have forgotten that there are other people involved here, with their own rights. If Salman had never disturbed his neighbors, there would be no problem. But Salman's free-exercise rights do not automatically give him the right to trump everyone else's rights.

      Delete
  2. 8) If cars are parked in an orderly manner, then, even if neighbors complain, it would not be a valid reason to ban meetings.

    That depends. If they are parked in an orderly matter and prevent people resident in the neighborhood from parking, then *yes* it would be, and it traditionally is. There's a reason that zoning laws require people to have parking spaces when they are adding new facilities.

    9) and yet the authorities still claimed that he should be fined and jailed regardless.

    For what I hope will be the last time -- he was "fined and jailed" for violating zoning laws, after repeated opportunities to comply. He chose to go to jail rather than bring his building up to code. I have no sympathy for people who would rather be martyrs over a question of a few hundred dollars than continue doing what they claim to be God's work.

    10)And there are no bona fide nuisances that have arisen since its usage."

    Of course, we should trust someone who isn't from the area and is quoted on the lawyer's website implicitly. Did you ever respond, or even read, the pastor's comment I posted in the last thread?

    I notice you skip over the ludicrous assertion in the Rutherford document that asserts 'Oh, he's a pastor, it's his parsonage, that's why he has a tax exemption, not because it's a church." Which, if it were the case, is such a ludicrous example of the government * favoring* religion that it should be immediately eliminated as an exemption.

    Oh -- and the claim that he called his expansion a "game room" as it was the closest thing to what he intended. Sorry, but if you're building in pews and a dais, the only reason to call it a "game room" rather than a "church" is to try and evade the law.

    As for the rest of your argument, you're rehashing things you said in the comments before, and blithely ignoring the responses there. Typical behavior of a propaganda mill, with less respect for truth than for the attempt to get your viewpoint out there.

    Why you continue to support a self-made martyr and tax cheat like Salman is beyond me -- but it points to a "Christians can do no wrong" mentality that is, to say the least, disturbing. Welcome back to the U.S., Rick, but if Salman's your idea of a good neighbor, I hope we never live anywhere near each other.

    ReplyDelete
  3. >For what I hope will be the last time -- he was "fined and jailed" for violating zoning laws,

    - You just don't seem to get it. Maybe if you read real slowly?

    D. Zoning must comply with a public church.

    People who legally conduct Boy Scout meetings, Tupperware parties, bridge club meetings and the many other types of meetings that take place in the US do not install handicap ramps and convert houses into public meeting facilities. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to require home Bible studies to do so.

    >Of course, we should trust someone who isn't from the area and is quoted on the lawyer's website implicitly.

    A brief look at the Phoenix police "loud party" definitions (as noted in posted web clips) is enough to corroborate the fact that Phoenix police treat noise violations extremely subjectively.

    >Oh, he's a pastor, it's his parsonage, that's why he has a tax exemption, not because it's a church."

    - A parsonage does have a legal tax deduction. A building does not have to be a public church building in order to claim deductions for church use.

    >he called his expansion a "game room"

    - The US Constitution allows for the freedom assembly in any habitable room, believe it or not, even a private game room. In accordance with the Constitution, the burden of proof is on the city to demonstrate that a hazardous situation existed in a private home requiring the banning of the meetings. The city failed to do so but simply offered a case of religious discrimination, as noted in the article:

    The rationale of Phoenix authorities:

    1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
    2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
    3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

    ReplyDelete
  4. D. Zoning must comply with a public church.

    People who legally conduct Boy Scout meetings, Tupperware parties, bridge club meetings and the many other types of meetings that take place in the US do not install handicap ramps and convert houses into public meeting facilities. Therefore, it is unconstitutional to require home Bible studies to do so.


    People who do those things do not build 2,000-square foot "game rooms" and put signs in their front yard, nor do they bring about the irritation of their neighbors. If they do, those activities *stop*. My Cub Scout troop moved out of a house, and into a school facility, because it was too big.

    >Of course, we should trust someone who isn't from the area and is quoted on the lawyer's website implicitly.

    A brief look at the Phoenix police "loud party" definitions (as noted in posted web clips) is enough to corroborate the fact that Phoenix police treat noise violations extremely subjectively.


    The point being that their assertion about "bona fide" disruptions is purely asssertion, and I have less reason to trust it than I do to trust the pastor I cited earlier around problems.

    >Oh, he's a pastor, it's his parsonage, that's why he has a tax exemption, not because it's a church."

    - A parsonage does have a legal tax deduction. A building does not have to be a public church building in order to claim deductions for church use.

    by the standards listed there, anyone who claims to be ordained can declare a tax exemption on their own house. This is ludicrous bending-over-backwards for religious folk is one of the reasons I scoff at your notions of "persecution".

    If he's a part-time pastor, why should he get the tax exemption, and if he's a full-time pastor, why is he so resistant to the notion he has a "church"? Again, he seems bound and determined to have his cake and eat it too. Which is a consistent fact throughout this whole thing.


    - The US Constitution allows for the freedom assembly in any habitable room, believe it or not, even a private game room. In accordance with the Constitution, the burden of proof is on the city to demonstrate that a hazardous situation existed in a private home requiring the banning of the meetings. The city failed to do so but simply offered a case of religious discrimination, as noted in the article:


    The city has established a code regarding what are and are not hazardous situations -- they're called building codes. They did establish that the building violated those codes. That's all they needed to do, and several state and federal judges have found that they have done so.

    Private citizens do not have the right to lie about what's on their property in order to avoid reasonable state legislation, which is what Salman tried to do. He got caught, he refused to fix the problem, and now he's being punished.

    That's the big point I've never seen you address: the city pointed out the problems, and Salman could have fixed them -- even though he'd specifically tried to evade and avoid before. All he needed to do was fix the problems. But no, he decided to double-down on this "home church" business. Which implies he puts his pocketbook ahead of both the safety and the continued operation of his flock.

    ReplyDelete
  5. >People who do those things do not build 2,000-square foot "game rooms" and put signs in their front yard, nor do they bring about the irritation of their neighbors. If they do, those activities *stop*. My Cub Scout troop moved out of a house, and into a school facility, because it was too big.

    - Read what the court documents actually state.

    Michael Salman was not fined and jailed specifically for breaking a law that such and such amount of people may meet in a large room in a home. He was not fined and jailed because there was a sign in front of his house. Nor was he fined and jailed due to specific noise levels. Read the court documents describing the reason why he was fined and jailed:

    "...religious activity within a residence is considered "church use", which is not permitted on plaintiff's property without the necessary permits."

    ReplyDelete
  6. R:If a person is being jailed due to vague and arbitrary laws and the administration of biased and prejudiced justice...

    Do prove the several courts were biased and prejudiced. It only a bold assertion so far.

    R:Ira Rennert owns the largest home in the United states, a house in the Hamptons which includes...

    False analogy. The same from the previous thread. I hope that your mind was not completely turned into mash potatoes and repeat the arguments... Salman was holding his meeting in an unfinished shed, which could not obviously comply to safety regulations. He disregarded the several warnings from the authorities and got what he deserved.

    R:Any amount of people gathering to pray or read the Bible in a private home is considered illegal in Phoenix, just because it's now considered a "religious" gathering.

    Great, Rick. You almost made a point here. You just need to find the legal definition of the term "religious activity" according to the city code of Phoenix.

    Are you going to deny the existance of bible study groups in Phoenix? Salman wanted a church for himself, not a bible study group. 80 people gathering for sermon is not a bible study group and they do cause significant disturbance in such a small place. Salman managed to alienate 1200 households, the whole neiborhood! No one would have mind if he did not bother anyone, but that is not the case.

    R:Read the court documents describing the reason why he was fined and jailed:

    Rick...a grade schooler has a better reading comprehension than you. The part you are quoting is about an earlier case, where Salman did comply and decided to move his congregation to his backyard. He was fined and jailed for breaking safety regulations and ignoring the authorities at multiple occasions. And let us not forget that he is a liar (claiming to some he had a Church and to others - a game room).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >Do prove the several courts were biased and prejudiced. It only a bold assertion so far.

      It's all in the article. The rationale of the authorities is unconstitutional:

      1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
      2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
      3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

      This is the rationale outlined in court document quotes:

      "Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs they must discontinue the bible studies because they constituted "church use." And another quote, "At the meeting plaintiffs were told that, pursuant to city ordinances and coeds, religious activity within a residence is considered "church use", which is not permitted on plaintiff's property without the necessary permits."

      Delete
    2. Even if you proved your case on Mattox, you now need to prove your case for the rest of the city government. One official making a mistake is not "the rationale of the authorities" unless you have a lot more evidence.

      Delete
    3. >One official making a mistake is not "the rationale of the authorities" unless you have a lot more evidence.

      - Mattox not only represents the opinion of the city of Phoenix, he apparently hss the authority to initiate changes in city laws on a per-case basis:

      "This application was withdrawn after Mattox moved for a change in the parking requirements for places of worship in December 2007."

      http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/arizona/azdce/2:2011cv00646/601259/29

      'There's a Christian here who wants to convert a home to a public church building. Quick, let's change the laws and make the parking requirements more stringent for public church buildings...'

      - Yeah, no reason to believe there is any discrimination going on here...

      Delete
    4. "There's a perennial nuisance bothering my constituents, let's see if we can't fix this."

      Have you missed the part where many of the neighbors were Christian?

      Also, a few sentences later in the document you cite:
      A permit was 5 issued in 2009 after reassurance from plaintiffs that the structure "would not be used for a 6 public place of worship," First Amended Complaint ("FAC") at 9, and the structure was built. 7 Plaintiffs aver that the building was not advertised as a public place of worship. Each week, 8 about forty to fifty of plaintiffs' family and friends would gather for bible studies or worship. 9 On June 11, 2009, plaintiffs were served with a search warrant and city inspectors
      10 searched their property. During the inspection, plaintiffs allege that Defendant Police Officer 11 Oscar Cortez took a sign laying face down in the front yard that advertised dates and times 12 for Christian worship and placed it against a tree.


      "Hey, I know -- let's reassure the zoning board we're not going to do something, then go ahead and do it anyway -- what could go wrong? It's just a little lie."

      Delete
  7. Anon2

    Ever notice how hypocritical atheists are in favor of so-called "separation of church and state", and opposing "state sponsorship of religion", wanting equality for all, they NEVER support Christians. Where were they when Obama was telling Catholics to violate their religion? No, they don't want equality, they want to eliminate the rights of Christians. I wish they could actually be honest about something for once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never support christians?

      Eliminate the rights of christians?
      Here's a more honest christian than you to help set the record straight.

      As for Catholics? Please. That organization needs to be investigated due to its unofficial policy of protecting pedophile priests.

      Quit whining. Churches don't even pay taxes. Christians have got to be the biggest crybabies in the U.S.


      Maybe it's you who needs to try being honest?

      Delete
  8. I daresay that it has nothing to do with Rick's reading comprehension and everything to do with his lack of honesty in trying to make it look like he has a case.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anon2

    >Ever notice how hypocritical atheists are in favor of so-called "separation of church and state"

    - Anon2, Let's face it, Christianity is simply not permissible at all in the minds of many.

    1. Don't share or practice your beliefs in public places.
    2. Don't practice or share your beliefs at home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And here we go with some more patented Warden dishonesty: Completely ignore all the points that others have raised which shoot down your whiny persecution claims and keep playing the victim.

      As I keep saying: Churches don't even pay taxes, they also get zoning law excemptions, which seem to be what this guy was playing for. He got caught several times breaking zoning laws and he's whining about it.

      Christians have been getting their way for so long in your country you've all become spoiled rotten. When you people run afoul of the law you cry persecution and pretend that NO xian anywhere can share their beliefs at home.

      As has been pointed out before, all that clown had to do was to get his building up to snuff and get geared up so that he could safely hold dozens of people, and also not lie about doing "gaming" and none of this would have happened.

      Delete
    2. >As I keep saying: Churches don't even pay taxes...

      - Both you and Imnotandrei do not seem to understand what this case is ultimately about. Considering the circumstances, the reply I gave Imnotandrei applies to you as well:

      - Quotes from initial court documents reveal that the rationale applied in fining and jailing Salman was unconstitutional and unjust. "Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs they must discontinue the bible studies because they constituted "church use." And another quote, "At the meeting plaintiffs were told that, pursuant to city ordinances and coeds, religious activity within a residence is considered "church use", which is not permitted on plaintiff's property without the necessary permits."

      The unreasonable and unconstitutional rationale of Phoenix authorities:

      1. All "religious activity" constitutes "church use" and church activities.
      2. All religious activity must be limited to approved public church buildings.
      3. Therefore, no home religious activity is legally permissible.

      If you cannot understand why the foundational approach and rationale of the Phoenix authorities is unconstitutional, then I don't believe I can bring this revelation to you. Perhaps only God would be up to this task.

      Delete
  10. Anon2

    'Never support christians?'

    'Eliminate the rights of christians?
    Here's a more honest christian than you to help set the record straight.'

    What makes me (a) dishonest, and (b) a Christian? Why is that one 'more honest' than me? Is it just because YOU say so? Atheists have such double standards they can't see their own hypocrisy.

    'As for Catholics? Please. That organization needs to be investigated due to its unofficial policy of protecting pedophile priests.'

    Typical atheist changes the subject & attacks. Point is valid, atheist do NOTHING to back up their lie that they believe in equality under the law. Thanks for proving my point even though you're a liar.

    Quit whining. Churches don't even pay taxes. Christians have got to be the biggest crybabies in the U.S.


    Maybe it's you who needs to try being honest?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What makes me (a) dishonest

      The fact that you lie.

      My own religious affiliation is private: I know many atheists who support the religious tax exemption (as I do) on the basis of the Marshall statement: "The power to tax is the power to destroy".

      We also believe in reasonable limits on that exemption -- and on religious freedom. As, I suspect, do you, when it's not a Christian ox being gored.

      Point is valid, atheist do NOTHING to back up their lie that they believe in equality under the law.

      WHat you appear to be missing is that churches have a *privileged* position in this country. Were they to lose it, and become *equal*, you'd hear even more howling.

      Maybe it's you who needs to try being honest?

      Point to a lie he told, please? You've made blanket assertions, with no support.

      Which reminds me: Obama took away no Catholic's right to their religion. What the standards of care did was rule that they could not take away other people's health case due to their narrow moral exception.

      No one was made to take birth control. Massive employers were told they could not remove coverage for it for non-Catholic employees.

      Delete
  11. 'Quit whining. Churches don't even pay taxes. Christians have got to be the biggest crybabies in the U.S.'

    No, it's the atheists who are crybabies because they keep taking away the civil rights of others and protesting everything that might be 'religious'.

    'Maybe it's you who needs to try being honest?'

    I think you're a weasel.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Name one case where "atheists" have taken away the civil rights of others.

      Warden
      If you cannot understand why the foundational approach and rationale of the Phoenix authorities is unconstitutional, then I don't believe I can bring this revelation to you. Perhaps only God would be up to this task.
      Perhaps you don't "understand" or care about zonging and safetey laws. I'll let imnotandrei keep trying to explain things to you.

      What I get a kick out of is the charge that my pointing out that churces don't pay taxes is changing the topic. I'm just giving an example of how priveleged the xian position is as opposed to be the persecuted group that Warden is pretending that they are.

      Delete
  12. R:Quotes from initial court documents reveal that the rationale applied in fining and jailing Salman was unconstitutional and unjust.

    Rus anon here and I am facepalming for the third time... LEARN TO READ, RICK!!!!

    Rick...Realize that you are arguing for a completely DIFFERENT case here. Salman was jailed and fined for having meetings in an UNFINISHED building, refusing at multiple occasions to comply to the authorities and lying about the use of his property.

    Salman AGREED that his "religious activities" constitute "Church use" at first. Not to mention that the quotes of the court document are from Salman HIMSELF. The guy was caught lying and his credibility is highly questionable.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I see Rick is continuing his crusade of ignorance, motivated reasoning and withful thinking.

    That's it Rick - support the dishonest criminal who happens to (publicly) share your beliefs. That will show Christianity in a good light!

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a blog spam-filter reply,

    In the interest of avoiding comment moderating for all comments, and for the reasons stated below, I've found it most unprofitable to attempt to engage in civilized discourse with the commenter named Havok.

    Beginning in December 2011, Havok became so frustrated with his lack of answers that all he could do was to post unsubstantiated slander against me. He claimed, for example, that I ignored or did not adequately address valid critiques of articles, such as, "How Identity, Logic and Physics prove God's Existence." However, Havok has yet to provide one such referenced example.

    Instead of apologizing, he continues to post more unsubstantiated lies and slander.

    Havok also continues to insist that I am "lying" about Richard Dawkins. I have clearly described why Dawkins is shown to be cautiously open-minded towards the moral viability of eugenics in an article,"How Richard Dawkins' Evolution Justifies Racism and Genocide" (VI. Richard Dawkins' moral relativism and views on eugenics).  If a third person, a civilized person, believes that Havok has offered a valid point and would like to summarize it in some type of logical format, I would be willing to entertain it. In any event, Havok is a good object lesson. His consistent slander and lies demonstrate that the sin nature is alive and well, though atheists such as Havok will continue to deny that it exists.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Anonymous,

    >Salman was jailed and fined for having meetings in an UNFINISHED building

    - No, he was jailed because his home was not a church building and people were meeting it. If you would be willing to read the actual court documents you would understand this.

    A bit hypocritical that you are doing the exact same thing you criticized me of doing:

    "People asked you three or four times already to look at the court documents that you avoid like the plague." - July 18, 2012 6:40 AM

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/60-days-in-prison-and-12180-fine-for.html?showComment=1342618814961#c3379362523818523188

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually, I believe you're both wrong; he was jailed for violating the terms of his parole on previous convictions ;)

      Yet another example of "he made himself a martyr" -- he knew the conditions of his parole and deliberately flaunted them, when instead he could have brought his building up to code.

      He could even have appealed his parole up the court system *before* violating it, but he chose not to do so.

      One wonders why he did neither of these things. The odds are, it's because they would have cost him money he didn't wish to spend (or couldn't, given the context of the New Times article)

      Delete
  16. Anon,

    >Salman AGREED that his "religious activities" constitute "Church use" at first.

    - If any family in Phoenix Arizona prays with their friends in their home, according to the authorities there, that is "church use" as the court documents describe, and that is illegal.

    It may be that Salman did not realize at first that any use of a home for religious purposes is illegal. It may be that he did not realize that holding a Bible study in a game room is illegal. Personally, I do not see a problem with a large habitable room being used both as a game room and for Bible studies. According to the constitution, there should not be any problem with this.

    The main issue is the language. If the authorities had stated, "Your house is too small for X amount of people to gather, you need to keep it to Y number, regardless of what the people were doing, then it would have been a constitutionally sound decision, but they did not and it was not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. - If any family in Phoenix Arizona prays with their friends in their home, according to the authorities there, that is "church use" as the court documents describe, and that is illegal.

      According to *one* authority on *one* occasion, Rick, according to your quotes -- in the specific context of a meeting to discuss *prior* complaints and disruption.

      It may be that he did not realize that holding a Bible study in a game room is illegal.

      If you looked at the quotes from the New Times article I posted before, it's pretty clear that he knew what he was doing was of at best dubious legality. He was pushing the law, and he knew it.

      According to the constitution, there should not be any problem with this.

      The Constitution also grants the government the power to pass laws regarding the general welfare, and taxation. It did so, Salman chose to flaunt them, and he is now paying the price. If he'd built a game room that was to code for a church, he could be playing (and praying) there now with no problem.

      then it would have been a constitutionally sound decision, but they did not and it was not.

      No, it wouldn't, according to your reasoning; there is no constitutional difference between "You need to get your building up to code for the use you require" and "You are allowed X people, given that you have Y space/Z number of doors/Q whatever-other-number you want to put in your formula."

      If you're going to try and be a First Amendment absolutist, those are both unacceptable limits on the freedom of assembly. if you accept the possibility of the state legislating limits, then how they set those limits, provided they are applied equally (and you've shown no evidence that they are not -- no one has tried running regular 80-person poker nights out of a shed not up to code in their backyard that I'm aware of), is a matter of legislative judgment, provided it can be shown to support a compelling state interest -- which fire safety laws, among others, do.

      Delete
    2. >No, it wouldn't, according to your reasoning; there is no constitutional difference between "You need to get your building up to code for the use you require" and "You are allowed X people, given that you have Y space/Z number of doors/Q whatever-other-number you want to put in your formula."

      - You are branching off into quite a different anthology when you write "for the use you require" in a private house and then make all "religious activity" unacceptable and illegal as "church use"

      Delete
    3. quite a different anthology

      I don't think that word means what you think it means.

      when you write "for the use you require" in a private house and then make all "religious activity" unacceptable and illegal as "church use"

      It's not illegal. All that has to be done is the building has to be brought up to code -- remember, this is about the 2,000-sq. foot additional building that Salman constructed.

      You're deflecting, however: Constitutionally speaking, "you need to get your building up to code" and "You are allowed only X people according to this formula" are equivalent usages, provided that "up to code" is applied to all functions permitted by the zoning laws. And church use is specifically *allowed* in that residential area, in a way that commercial use is not. What is *not* allowed is unrestricted use of property for any function.

      Rick, why are you being deliberately obtuse here? Why is your sense of persecution so important that you need to argue for its existence when it's not there?

      Delete
  17. >According to *one* authority on *one* occasion, Rick, according to your quotes.

    - I offered two other examples in the introduction of the article of similar situations. The authorities in those cases apparently realized their fines and threats were unconstitutional and unreasonable and they changed their local laws. Phoenix is unwilling to admit their judgments have been unreasonable and unconstitutional. They set an awful example and an awful precedent.

    >If you're going to try and be a First Amendment absolutist, those are both unacceptable limits on the freedom of assembly.

    - As I've posted already the fact that no middle ground, a reasonable amount of people for a private meeting, was not presented as an option. Salman either had to make his house a church building with ramps or meet with 12 people, a ridiculously small amount of people for a large house. Completely unrealistic and unreasonable. Unconstitutional, not in an absolutist sense, just in terms of common sense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I offered two other examples in the introduction of the article of similar situations.

      In different jurisdictions, under different facts. Not enough to establish a pattern of bias *here*.

      Furthermore, you need to establish that other groups are treated *differently*.

      Phoenix is unwilling to admit their judgments have been unreasonable and unconstitutional. They set an awful example and an awful precedent.

      They don't need to admit it, because it's not true. Your disagreement does not make them wrong.

      Salman either had to make his house a church building with ramps

      Actually, his specially-built 2,000-sq. ft. outbuilding, that he could have built to be compliant from the start.

      or meet with 12 people, a ridiculously small amount of people for a large house.

      A condition imposed after he'd repeatedly violated zoning codes. That was a *punishment*, Rick, not the baseline condition, as you repeatedly choose to ignore.

      Unconstitutional, not in an absolutist sense, just in terms of common sense.

      You've not proven, or, indeed, provided any evidence for, the notion that someone running an 80-person poker game in a non-compliant shed, causing neighbors to complain, would not receive the same response.

      That's the bar for "unconstitutional", Rick, and you're nowhere near it.

      Delete
  18. R:If you would be willing to read the actual court documents you would understand this.

    Unlike you, I have read all the available documents from Justia dot com, wasting a couple of hours from my life.

    And I have pointed out to you that the quote is a summary of the accusation from Salman HIMSELF. He has failed to show any compelling evidence against Mattox.

    I:Actually, I believe you're both wrong; he was jailed for violating the terms of his parole on previous convictions ;)

    If you mean the violation of his parole from his recent case against the city - then yes (mainly deliberatly failing to comply to authorities). If you mean his ex-con past, then no (too much time has passed).

    R:If any family in Phoenix Arizona prays with their friends in their home, according to the authorities there, that is "church use" as the court documents describe, and that is illegal.

    Sigh...I am a little tired of repeating myself... Your claim that any family in Phoenix needs a permit to pray, but that still has to be proven. You need to find the SPECIFIC definition of "religious activities" of the city council of Phoenix. Again, that information is a interpretention from Salman HIMSELF, who proved to be a LIAR.

    R:Personally, I do not see a problem with a large habitable room being used both as a game room and for Bible studies.

    So its ok for boy scouts to have a meeting at a construction site? Salman shed was UNFINISHED. You cannot permit people to regularly gather in an unfinished construction for safety reasons.

    You are also completely wrong that a large habitable room can be used both as a gaming room and a church (80 people is NOT a bible study group)

    R:As I've posted already the fact that no middle ground, a reasonable amount of people for a private meeting, was not presented as an option.

    The neiborhood did testify that there would have been no problem if Salman limited himself to 20 people or so in his house. A reasonable amount that did not disturb anyone. Hence, your claim that no reasonable amount was provided is refuted.

    R:I offered two other examples in the introduction of the article of similar situations

    The way you present them, those cases are completely different, Rick.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I have pointed out to you that the quote is a summary of the accusation from Salman HIMSELF. He has failed to show any compelling evidence against Mattox.

      Ah -- I missed that before, and thank you for going and doing the digging. This makes Rick's claims even more risible, since the only evidence he has for bias is the one person who feels bias against him.

      If you mean the violation of his parole from his recent case against the city - then yes (mainly deliberatly failing to comply to authorities).

      Yah, that's what I meant. Rick seems bound and determined to ignore that his beloved "12 person limit" was a condition of the parole, following code violations.

      The neiborhood did testify that there would have been no problem if Salman limited himself to 20 people or so in his house. A reasonable amount that did not disturb anyone. Hence, your claim that no reasonable amount was provided is refuted.

      Ah -- again, thank you for digging this one out; I hadn't found that in the articles around the subject.

      Delete
    2. Salman did present a letter from the Council saying that "religious activity" constitute "Church activity". This was his "proof" against Mattox. However, from the court documents themselves...

      "Plaintiffs indicate that such letter is dated September 2008 and is attached as
      Exhibit “B” to the Complaint. However, there is no Exhibit “B” to the Complaint and no such letter is contained in any attachment to the Complaint. Rather, letters from the City of Phoenix dated February 23, 2007, May 8, 2007, and September 20, 2007 are attached
      as Exhibit 2 to the Complaint."

      http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/arizona/azdce/2:2012cv01219/707005/36/

      Delete
    3. >The neiborhood did testify that there would have been no problem if Salman limited himself to 20 people or so in his house.

      - So our neighbors determine how many guests we can have in our houses, irrespective of the size? Not constitutional. In your opinion, how many guests should be allowed in Ira Rennert's house?

      Delete
    4. Not constitutional.

      Citation, please.

      What you seem to be missing, despite the fact that I've pointed it out to you many times on this issue, is that rights are not absolute -- they have to be balanced with other people's rights. Your right to free speech does not include falsely shouting "Fire!" in a movie theatre, for example. My right to religious expression does not include the right to burn witches at the stake, even if I am allegedly compelled to do so by my holy books.

      So, when two sets of rights collide -- free expression vs. peaceful use of one's property -- the state has to decide how to balance them. That's what zoning laws and public nuisance laws and the like are *for*.

      Ira Rennert can have enough people in his house that the neigbors don't complain -- but if he starts having enough people coming over to clog up traffic regularly, you can bet they will, and then his use of his property will be examined, as he's infringing upon other people's ability to use public property (the roads.)

      Would you prefer to have strict codes determining exactly how many people you're allowed to have, whether they're noisy and offensive or quiet and unnoticeable? Is that really what you want, Rick, because that's what you're asking for, all so you can claim "persecution".

      Delete
    5. Oh, and while we're at it, a question you keep dodging:

      Would you object if your neighbors regularly held skyclad rituals in their back yard, and told you that if you objected, you could avert your eyes or stay indoors? Yet public nudity laws prohibit such things.

      Remember, this is essentially the same situation -- but with you in the position of the neighbor instead of the pastor. So, what's your answer? Or will you continue dodging?

      Delete
    6. R:In your opinion, how many guests should be allowed in Ira Rennert's house?

      Any reasonable number. By reasonable, I mean in accordance with safety regulations and laws about the disturbance of peace.

      Again, the issue is not about that Salman cannot have bible study groups in his home (he could have continued having bible study groups without any consequences). The issue is that the man decided to build a church in his backyard, WITHOUT following the proper procedure.

      Though, I do agree with you that the law is messed in the US. One should not be allowed to build a church in their small backyard.

      Delete
  19. "People wouldn't have objected if he had 20 people coming over for Bible study," Andrea Julius says. "He was doing that previously, and nobody objected. But when he started this expansion plan, well, everybody became concerned."

    And here is a quote from the article Imnotandrei found the link to. The problem is not that he cannot have a bible study group in his home. The problem is that he decided to build a church, without caring for the well-being of his neibors, without concern for building codes and without having any money for such a thing.

    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/4/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice link, Anonymous,

      A neighbor called the fire department because there was a meeting of 20 people in the back yard.

      "When the Fire Department checked it out, they determined the building wasn't overcrowded and left, records show."

      The article goes on to say that the pet-peeves and opinions of the neighbors should not trump the civil rights of people who desire to have religious meetings, rights that are supposed to be well-protected in Phoenix:

      "But the Phoenix city code, like many zoning codes, makes an exception for churches. They're permitted in residential neighborhoods like Salman's. Unlike many cities across the United States, Phoenix doesn't require churches to get a "conditional use" permit. Those permits, typically issued by city councils, require quality-of-life issues to be addressed and public officials to weigh in."

      - "People wouldn't have objected if he had 20 people coming over for Bible study," Andrea Julius says."

      - Well, apparently, according to the actual laws of Phoenix, the personal opinions of neighbors are not supposed to trump the right to worship at home or in a church.

      "Congress, he said, enacted RLUIPA because it believed that municipalities were too eager to listen to neighborhoods — and were needlessly blocking religious communities from building or gathering."

      As opposed to quickly making new laws when a person wants to build a church, as Mattox tried to do, US law requires a non-burdensome approach to accommodating religious worship:

      :In some ways, churches are even easier to build than new homes, thanks to the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Person Act, or RLUIPA. Passed unanimously by Congress in 2000 and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the law bars communities from enforcing any land-use regulation that puts a "substantial burden" on the expression of religious belief."

      Not only did Phoenix try to make the application for a new church more burdensome, they documented it right in the very court records.

      "This application was withdrawn after Mattox moved for a change in the parking requirements for places of worship..."

      Ouch.

      Alan C. Weinstein is the director of the Law & Public Policy Program at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland says the city's decision to break up Bible studies at Salman's house is clearly problematic.

      "Say I just bought a 63-inch TV, and every Sunday at 11 a.m., I have 20 people over my house to worship at the church of the NFL," Weinstein says. "There are probably football fans who do that every Sunday. And if they don't stop that, they can't stop a Bible study that's meeting once a week, either."

      "The stakes are pretty high,"..."Anytime something comes up that has to do with RLUIPA, flashing red lights should go off at City Hall. You just have to be extraordinarily careful."

      Yep, Thanks for the link, Anonymous. It's a great one!

      Delete
    2. R:So our neighbors determine how many guests we can have in our houses, irrespective of the size?

      No, that just shows that no problem would have occured if Salman did not decide to have a church built in his backyard.

      R:The article goes on to say that the pet-peeves and opinions of the neighbors should not trump the civil rights...

      Do brush up with your reading skill, Rick. Read the previous sentence from your quote.

      "When Salman hosted a Passover dinner in the shed already in his backyard, one neighbor called the Fire Department, noting that the shed didn't have a certificate of occupancy or such safety measures as sprinklers"

      The firemen made a mistake at first and did correct it the same day by making the people leave.

      R:Well, apparently, according to the actual laws of Phoenix, the personal opinions of neighbors are not supposed to trump the right to worship at home or in a church.

      No one can trump one s right to worship in a private home. But it is a different case if you want to build a Church. One is allowed to build a Church in their back yard, provided they FOLLOW THE REGULATIONS. Salman did not and got what he deserved.

      R:US law requires a non-burdensome approach to accommodating religious worship

      Yes, and these religious priviledges are unfair.

      R:Not only did Phoenix try to make the application for a new church more burdensome, they documented it right in the very court records

      Yes, that methode was underhanded. That is just to show how much the neiborhood hates Salman. If he had not withdrawn the application and it was denied, he could have gone to court and win the case.

      R:And if they don't stop that, they can't stop a Bible study that's meeting once a week, either

      That is right. Having a Bible study in your home is ok, but it is not ok to turn your home into a Church. You should know the difference between a Bible study and a Church.

      R:Yep, Thanks for the link, Anonymous. It's a great one!

      My hope that you will one day learn to read is shrinking at an outstanding rate... The link was provided by imnotandrei, not me.

      Delete
    3. Well, since Rick appears now willing to accept that article as a useful source:

      In February 2007, Salman told some neighbors he had a permit from City Hall to start construction. He broke ground soon thereafter.

      As it turned out, though, Salman didn't have a permit to build a church. His permit gave him the right to build a garage-like structure, a shell of a building without electricity or plumbing. When neighbors complained that Salman's intentions were far different from what he'd officially indicated, City Hall shut down construction. Salman would have to submit detailed construction plans to the city, and go through formal review, before building anything.


      In other words, he lied about what he was building. He lied, pure and simple, trying to deceive the city.

      And for that, and for persisting in that, he has been punished.

      Your other quote, BTW, shows that Phoenix bends over backwards -- even permitting churches at *all* near homes. And despite all this deference shown to churches, Salman still couldn't pull it off. That's not unconstitutional, that's either incompetent or mendacious.

      Delete
    4. I believe this comment is appropriate here:

      Qui tacet consentire videtur, Rick.

      Delete
  20. >No one can trump one s right to worship in a private home.

    - Well, that is why this case came to light and how the initial judgement was formed.

    1. Neighbors complained.
    2. The home owner was forced to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an arbitrarily decided amount of only 12 people in his large house.
    3. Upon planning for a new building, the city immediately moved to change zoning laws.
    4. In continuing meetings of approximately 15 people, Salman was violating the arbitrary conditions and was therefore fined and jailed.

    There was no constitutional basis for forcing Salman to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an extremely small amount of people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. R:The home owner was forced to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an arbitrarily decided amount of only 12 people in his large house.

      As imnotandrei has pointed out, that is FALSE. The 12 people limit was a punishment.

      R:There was no constitutional basis for forcing Salman to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an extremely small amount of people.

      False dichotomy. No one complained about Salman having bible study groups in his home.

      Delete
  21. Imnotandrei,

    >In February 2007, Salman told some neighbors he had a permit from City Hall to start construction.

    Why is it that you insist on ignoring the most essential points regarding the escalation of public interference and discrimination?

    1. Neighbors complained.
    2. The home owner was forced to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an arbitrarily decided amount of only 12 people in his large house.
    3. Upon planning for a new building, the city immediately moved to change zoning laws.
    4. In continuing meetings of approximately 15 people, Salman was violating the arbitrary conditions and was therefore fined and jailed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why is it that you insist on ignoring the most essential points regarding the escalation of public interference and discrimination?

      I haven't been ignoring them. You've been moving the goalposts, dodging direct questions, and presenting risible claims for what constitutes "constitutional" and what does not.

      To look at your points:

      1) We agree. Neighbors complained.
      2) The limit of 12 was set *later*, as an element of parole. You have repeatedly misrepresented this point.
      3) Planning for which he submitted a false report (claiming it was a "game room), and then which he held services in before inspection (a violation) and did not complete to code (also a violation.) It is worth noting that none of the codes he was listed as infringing were the ones that the Councilman looked to change; the building would not have been up to spec even if the Councilman had never looked at the law.
      4) Salman violated the conditions of his sentence for his previous violations. When you've committed violations, the state can set limits to try and ensure you don't do it again. Simple as that -- or do you object to the notion of parole, as well?

      Now: I ask again, would you object if your neighbors regularly held skyclad rituals in their back yard, and told you that if you objected, you could avert your eyes or stay indoors? Yet public nudity laws prohibit such things.

      It's basically the same situation as Salman and his noise violations. Yet you keep refusing to answer.

      There was no constitutional basis for forcing Salman to decide between building a large public church building or meeting with an extremely small amount of people.

      Yes, there was; he was infringing upon his neighbor's property rights by his own use of his property. The city had to balance those two interests, offered Salman a way to get what he claimed he wanted, which he then refused to take.

      Salman didn't have the money to build a church -- guess what? The Constitution does not guarantee the right to dodge the laws because you don't have enough money to obey them.

      Delete
    2. The situtation is much more ridiculous than that. No one actually complained about Salman having worshippers in his home. The problem started when he decided to build a CHURCH WITHOUT RESPECT FOR REGULATIONS in his backyard and the influx of people skyrocketed.

      Delete
    3. Imnotandrei,

      >2) The limit of 12 was set *later*, as an element of parole. You have repeatedly misrepresented this point.

      - Actually, if you look at the timeline in the court documents, the initial problem was simply stated as "church use" irrespective of the number of people. 5 people meeting for a Bible study was deemed illegal under these conditions.

      The court documents outline a timeline of initial events:

      1. February 2007: “plaintiffs met with neighbors and defendant Councilman Claude Mattox. Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs that they must discontinue the bible studies, because they constituted “church use,” for which plaintiffs lacked the required permits.”

      2. May 2007: “plaintiffs submitted construction plans for a building to be used for worship and bible study.”

      3. December 2007: “defendant Councilman Mattox made a motion to change the parking requirements for places of worship. Because of these changes, plaintiffs had to withdraw their building permit application.”

      http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/arizona/azdce/2:2011cv00646/601259/21

      The series of events is legally problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly. it is highly questionable for a city zoning office to change its zoning codes in the middle of a zoning application. But even more problematic is that bible studies must be discontinued, not because of specific hazards or specific amounts of people were gathering, but simply because this constituted "church use" in their opinions.

      Delete
  22. I detect a pattern here...Rick has been cornered and is trying to change the subject and ignores the posts in his old thread

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous,

      >The problem started when he decided to build a CHURCH WITHOUT RESPECT FOR REGULATIONS in his backyard and the influx of people skyrocketed.

      - You are incorrect. Look at the court documents.

      In May 2007: “plaintiffs submitted construction plans for a building to be used for worship and bible study.”

      Upon submitting an application for a legal public church building in line with all existing codes, the city decided to change the existing building codes:

      December 2007: “defendant Councilman Mattox made a motion to change the parking requirements for places of worship. Because of these changes, plaintiffs had to withdraw their building permit application.”

      - Notice it said plaintif "had to" withdraw the building plans due to the zoning changes. In other words, the new zoning codes blocked a legal application process. Good reason for a lawsuit.

      Delete
    2. Again, that is an account from Salman himself, who proved to be a liar. The newspaper (who you praised and consider reliable) offers a different version:

      "In February 2007, Salman told some neighbors he had a permit from City Hall to start construction. He broke ground soon thereafter."

      http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-01-17/news/michael-salman-wants-to-build-a-church-in-his-backyard-his-neighbors-aren-t-buying-it/4/

      On one hand, we have the testimony of a liar... On the other hand, we have the testimony of a public newspaper, whose reputation you acknowledged personally... Are you going to backpedal here?

      Delete
    3. The court documents, as Anonymous points out, begin thusly:

      We assume as true the following facts alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint

      And even with that assumption going unchallenged, the court found *against* Salman. Does this tell you something, Rick?

      Phoenix didn't even contest the facts because in the case you're citing, the law was enough on their side that the judge dismissed it even *with* Salman's facts. To quote:

      Plaintiffs’ allegations describe only defendants’ repeated efforts to enforce the law, in accordance with the responsibilities of their employment. Such actions alone cannot constitute an agreement to deprive plaintiffs of their legal rights.

      And thus the case was dismissed.

      Delete
    4. 1. The court judgment is based on the presupposition that facts outlined are true.

      2. If facts outlined are true, then the city has engaged in discrimination by blocking plans for a new church by changing zoning plans.

      3. If facts in court judgement are false, where is the court document that rectifies the facts?

      4. According to facts as stated, facts considered more legally valid than statements in a newspaper, Salman was discriminated against, unless someone can show court documents to the contrary.

      5. The fact is, Salman's case was not based on lying or fraud. If so, the case would not have begun with the statement, "We assume as true the following facts alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint."

      6. The court documents outline what the judgment is based on, an unconstitutional opinion: Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs that they must discontinue the bible studies, because they constituted “church use,” for which plaintiffs lacked the required permits.”

      Delete
    5. R:The court judgment is based on the presupposition that facts outlined are true

      It is mostly irrelevant to the case at hand if these facts are true or not. Those are mostly Salman s accusations that have no proof whatsoever in most cases.

      R:If facts outlined are true, then the city has engaged in discrimination by blocking plans for a new church by changing zoning plans.

      Again, that is a claim from Salman himself that needs to be investigated properly. Salman never complained that the city refused to give him a permit to build a church in his backyard.

      However, he did lie several times about the city discriminating against him and refusing his right to have "bible study groups" in his home. (In reality the city denied his right to have church meetings in his backyard shack, that did not conform to regulations)

      R:If facts in court judgement are false, where is the court document that rectifies the facts?

      Again, those facts are mostly irrelevant to the case at hand. Salman build a church in his backyard without a proper permit and was punished for that. Full stop.

      R:According to facts as stated, facts considered more legally valid than statements in a newspaper

      So you are backpedaling now? The newspaper is no longer "reliable" after you ve read into its meaning and understood that it does not support your view? Interesting flip-flop

      But do point out why you consider the claim from the newspaper incompatible with the court documents. Do note that Salman claims that the illegal church in his backyard is part of his "home".

      R:The fact is, Salman's case was not based on lying or fraud. If so, the case would not have begun with the statement, "We assume as true the following facts alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint

      I have already explained to you that those facts are mostly irrelevant to the case at hand. Hence, there was no need for the court to investigate it.

      R:The court documents outline what the judgment is based on, an unconstitutional opinion: Defendant Councilman Mattox informed plaintiffs that they must discontinue the bible studies, because they constituted “church use,” for which plaintiffs lacked the required permits.”.

      Rick, you are either an idiot or a shameless liar. Those "bible studies" with up to 80 participants and that were taking place in Salman s backyard shack (NOT HIS HOME) were illegal since he did not have a permit for them. You do understand the difference between bible study groups and churches, do you? And yes, there is a difference between a game room for personal use and a public building like a Church

      Delete
    6. 1. The court judgment is based on the presupposition that facts outlined are true.

      And he still didn't win. This suggests something about his understanding (and yours) of the law.

      Namely, that the law doesn't allow him to do what he did, and his claims of conspiracy were not supported by his facts. The City of Phoenix doesn't need to "correct the court record" on a case that they've already won.

      Delete
  23. Anonymous,

    >That is an account from Salman himself, who proved to be a liar. The newspaper (who you praised and consider reliable) offers a different version...

    Funny that you challenged me over and over again to read the court documents when you began commenting on this thread. And now that the court documents contradict you, you appeal to a newspaper.

    - "If you would be willing to read the actual court documents you would understand this."

    http://templestream.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-rutherford-institute-challenges.html?showComment=1343303358033#c6698244025458870389

    The court documents state:

    "We assume as true the following facts alleged in plaintiffs’ complaint.."

    And yet actual meetings described between public officials are supposedly to be completely discredited as though no attorneys or officials can corroborate a meeting with officials or the fact that Salman submitted building plans or that the proposal for a building was denied by the city due to zoning changes. It seems you are unaware that every one of those noted acts would have been recorded as a public record which could easily be checked by the appropriate officials.

    You are truly scratching the bottom of the barrel to propose that no records of any of these actions recorded in a court document have never been checked for credibility.

    ReplyDelete
  24. R:And now that the court documents contradict you, you appeal to a newspaper

    Hm...So now you are going to claim that the newspaper, you acknowledged as reliable, is lying and Salman never started the construction of his backyard Church in February 2007? Do I need to remind you that the newspaper s claim is not incompatible with the claims from the court documents?

    R:...or the fact that Salman submitted building plans or that the proposal for a building was denied by the city due to zoning changes.

    Liar, liar, pants on fire. Salman s plans were never denied by the city. He withdrew them HIMSELF. Had he not, he would have received his permit or would have had legal grounds to sue the city for refusing to give him the permit.

    R:You are truly scratching the bottom of the barrel to propose that no records of any of these actions recorded in a court document have never been checked for credibility.

    In that case these facts are irrelevent, it does not matter if they are true or not. They fail to prove any kind of conspiracy against Salman anyway.

    Salman was jailed for failing at multiple occasions to adhere to the lawful demands of the authorities not because of a conspiracy.

    ReplyDelete
  25. >Do I need to remind you that the newspaper s claim is not incompatible with the claims from the court documents?

    - You have shown otherwise. The court assumed that outlined facts were true. It says so explicitly. And the judgments of the court were based on these presumed facts, which reveal a completely unconstitutional judgment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes it did, because the facts were mostly unrelated to the case at hand. The case is about the use of a shed that failed to comply to basic regulations and the failure of its owner to comply to the lawful demands of the authorities at multiple occasions.

      Delete
    2. You've managed to get it completely backwards, Rick, and that's impressive.

      What the court found was that *even* *if* you accepted all of Salman's proposed facts, the law didn't support him. So even if we take Salman's word over his neighbors, he's still in the wrong, legally.

      Now, if Salman is lying, as he has a history of doing, that only makes the court's ruling even stronger.

      Delete
    3. >The case is about the use of a shed that failed to comply to basic regulations and the failure of its owner to comply to the lawful demands of the authorities at multiple occasions.

      - Wrong. According to actual quotes in the court documents, as noted in actual web clips...

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/49509398@N02/7643336510/in/photostream

      ...the case is about a false unconstitutional assumption that private religious gatherings must comply with public church building codes.

      >Yes it did, because the facts were mostly unrelated to the case at hand.

      - No these facts were the underlying reason for the legal actions, as court documents clearly state.

      It's always humorous when relativistic atheists do not have answers how the English language suddenly means something other than what is states. :-)

      Delete
    4. *even* *if* you accepted all of Salman's proposed facts, the law didn't support him.

      - Wrong. The officials in Phoenix clearly never gave Salman a chance, according to court documents. His attempt to make a legal building application was blocked according to the official record.

      As I mentioned to AnonyRus, I take the meaning of the English language to be objectively discernible, unlike atheists who often operate under the false notion that truth is relative.

      Delete
    5. R:Wrong. According to actual quotes in the court documents, as noted in actual web clips...

      Rick, you are an idiot. We have been there before and are running in circles... That is a claim from Salman, who has been proven to be a liar at multiple occasions. And he did hide part of the truth.

      In February 2007 Salman built a Church in his backyard (without having any kind of permits, but still claimed taxe examption status from the IRS). The number of the "bible study group" skyrocketed up to 80 people. Neigbors imideately complained and did point out that the use of that shed (which was not even a "game room" at the time) is Church use.

      That is NOT a private religious gathering. Strangers regularly came to that Church that had no connection to the Salman familly whatsoever.

      Do explain the difference between a Church and a bible study group, Rick. In your context there is no difference between them.

      R:No these facts were the underlying reason for the legal actions, as court documents clearly state.

      Do point wich of the following points are false, according to you:

      1.Salman built a church in his backyard without any permits in February 2007
      2.When it was discovered that he had no permits, he was asked to stop his church meetings.
      3. Salman put forth construction plans for his church in spring 2007 or smth like that
      4. The city changed building codes in december 2007
      5. Instead of waiting for a response for his already submitted papers, Salman withdrew his documents and never bothered to go to court for that matter.
      6. Salman tries to trick the city by changing his church into a "game room"
      7. The fraud was discovered and Salman was asked numerous times to abide to the regulations, but he refused
      8. Salman is found guilty

      Delete
  26. >That is a claim from Salman, who has been proven to be a liar at multiple occasions.

    You and Imnotandrei do not seem to understand what constitutes a legal court case. A legal court case is based upon facts and opinions that are outlined in the actual court documents, not ancillary newspaper articles. Salman’s apparent claims, and explicit claims made by officials, were all presupposed as valid and true in forming the legal final decisions. Until you can understand that, there is no point in going around in circles with you two.

    > Do point wich of the following points are false, according to you...

    - The main and most important point in our debate is your misunderstanding of legal processes. Until you understand and acknowledge that a valid legal judgment is based on a valid legal process, there is no point is even discussing this case with you. It's a waste of time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salman’s apparent claims, and explicit claims made by officials, were all presupposed as valid and true in forming the legal final decisions. Until you can understand that, there is no point in going around in circles with you two.

      You're the one who isn't understanding, Rick -- though I notice that at the beginning of this whole discussion you were quite willing to cite blog posts and PR releases as "evidence" that you are now rejecting.

      And the entire thrust of the Court's decision was that even if Salman's facts were true, they were not enough to support his legal claims. There's a bar you have to get over, and Salman's facts didn't get there.

      ntil you understand and acknowledge that a valid legal judgment is based on a valid legal process, there is no point is even discussing this case with you. It's a waste of time.

      You've repeatedly failed to show where the process was "invalid". You've repeated Salman's claims over and over again but ignored the judge's ruling on the law -- this is not showing an invalid legal process, this is attempting to *ignore* the legal process in favor of results you want.

      Sorry, Rick, but you don't get to declare victory and cut out.

      Delete
  27. >And the entire thrust of the Court's decision was that even if Salman's facts were true, they were not enough to support his legal claims.

    - You are cherry picking your own interpretation of the court decision while ignoring multiple quotes that display both unconstitutional discrimination with regard to property use and illegal actions with regard to the obstruction of legal permit applications.

    >You've repeatedly failed to show where the process was "invalid".

    - The quotes representing the opinions of Phoenix officials and the actions of obstruction are about as clear as one could get. But, as I noted earlier, the contextual meaning of the English language and the use of critical thinking and logical deduction do not seem to count for much when dealing with relativists.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are cherry picking your own interpretation of the court decision

      The court, after stipulating Salman's facts, ruled against him. I fail to see how it is "cherry-picking" to state what the court ruled.

      - The quotes representing the opinions of Phoenix officials and the actions of obstruction are about as clear as one could get.

      Yet, strangely, the court ruled *against* Salman. So, who are we to believe -- the court (and previous courts who have also ruled against him), or you, picking specific quotes out of an entire opinion and claiming that they prove the rest of the opinion wrong?

      But, as I noted earlier, the contextual meaning of the English language and the use of critical thinking and logical deduction do not seem to count for much when dealing with relativists.

      Rick, you use "contextual meaning" and "logical deduction" the way a drunk uses a lamppost -- not for illumination, but support. It's funny how, when the plain language of something disagrees with you, it requires interpretation, but if it agrees with you, it is to be taken literally and clearly. Your hermeneutic clearly is "How can I make this statement support my point" rather than anything regarding truth or consistency.

      Delete
  28. Imnotandrei and AnonyRus,

    1. Ideally, the final legal verdict should be considered just and valid with respect to the widely ‘known’ facts of the case.

    2. The legal process and argument used in forming the legal judgment should be valid and just.

    With respect to the rule of law, do either of you believe a case against a citizen should be considered invalid if the latter is not true?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thirst do point out which of the points about Salman s case I presented you disagree with and do explain why.

      Then we can derail the thread to general ideas about law.

      Delete
  29. 1. Ideally, the final legal verdict should be considered just and valid with respect to the widely ‘known’ facts of the case.

    And, indeed, I do so consider it, as do many others.

    2. The legal process and argument used in forming the legal judgment should be valid and just.

    With respect to the rule of law, do either of you believe a case against a citizen should be considered invalid if the latter is not true?


    You do realize that Salman was the *plaintiff* in this case, don't you? You haven't challenged any of the reasoning the Judge gave, you've just pointed at the facts and claime they were enough. Try arguing with the reasoning, for once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. >You do realize that Salman was the *plaintiff* in this case, don't you?

      - Multiple court documents established a court record and the basis for the ultimate decision to fine Salman and place him behind bars. Do you disagree?

      Delete
    2. Again, that is proof that you never bothered to seriously study the available court documents.

      All the documents from Justia dot com are about the Salmans as plantiffs against the city. I think that the documents where they are defedants are not published for privacy reasons (and do notice that Salman never did publish them on his own).

      The court documents indeed establish a court record, but these documents manly concern the defedant, not the plantiff.

      Now, do point which points in my interpretention of Salman s case you disagree with and why.

      Delete
    3. Multiple court documents established a court record and the basis for the ultimate decision to fine Salman and place him behind bars. Do you disagree?

      Yes, but the document you've been quoting from is tangential to the process of putting him behind bars. It's Salman claiming conspiracy against him in federal court.

      To quote:

      [The state action] is in the very early stages of discovery. No depositions have been noticed, and the deadline for initial disclosures has just recently passed. On balance, economy, comity, and fairness points towards declining to adjudicate plaintiffs' state law claims.

      In other words, the depositions and facts aren't in on the state case. The *Federal* case was dismissed.

      The state case hasn't even reached the deposition state -- where the facts will be re-examined, rather than simply "assumed". The Federal ruling was on the law, which Salman did not have behind him, rather than on the facts -- hence, presuming Salman's facts didn't matter.

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