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Jor-el

The Land of the Free? Not so Much!

340 posts in this topic

This is a little apropos but several weeks ago I saw a short news clip about the government was going to fine people $1000 dollars for throwing frisbees at the beach. This was also somewhere in California I don't remember the exact area. Dangerous things, those frisbees, could put an eye out.

:cry:

It's so terrible. I responded to MW with a huge list of rediculouse fees, taxes, and regulations then I messed up and erased it all. But land of the free this is no longer, and we killed all the braves. We are slowly bein constricted in to a police state that taxes and herasses it citizens so that the only thing we are capable of doing is consuming.

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My guess is neighbours who feel inconvenienced by the cars blocking the street on the bible study night

...bingo you have this sad state of affairs.

Bingo. San Clemente is a beach town. Parking is most likely the main issue here, not the "regular" Christian gathering. Getting a permit is not hard to do. Plus, every city in OC has their own rules and regulations, like the Corona del Mar man who was fighting to keep his chickens...

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Bingo. San Clemente is a beach town. Parking is most likely the main issue here, not the "regular" Christian gathering. Getting a permit is not hard to do. Plus, every city in OC has their own rules and regulations, like the Corona del Mar man who was fighting to keep his chickens...

Right! Parking in beach towns is real tough!

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:unsure:

It is only in legality where it is an issue.

So, how does this not apply? These people are not getting fined for holding the activities. They are getting fined for the consequences.

Put another way, why should they be considered an exception from any other legal entity that is doing the same thing they are doing?

Yeah, laws vary from county to county, state to state, and country to country. Which is why the comment about legality was a little strange. Being that this issue is based in Orange County, California, and in Orange County, California the legal definition of a church is a location specifically designated for religious purposes with three or more regular members and regularly scheduled meetings, Do you believe it would be fair to the other churches to give this one some special exemption? And what would the exemption even be based on?

That's pretty much true for every place in the U.S. as well. Heck, you can even run your business out of your home in most places, as long as you get a permit for it.

I take it you don't need a home business permit to run a home business in Australia? In Texas, I had to get a mobile business permit (I went to other people's houses to sell), which ran me about $40 a year, I think. In Florida, the mobile permit and the home business permit...one was $50 a year and the other was free, but I forget which was which. The problem was that I was not technically allowed to run out of my apartment due to local residential zone regulations (I was in West Palm Beach, Fl. Geriatric capital of the U.S. The old codgers are really crotchety about noise). Still, I did about one party a month, and there were no complaints.

Yeah, although, to be fair, I think the police would appreciate people trying to get permits for that as well (wouldn't put it past some of the blockheads out there in the criminal world).

Yeah, that is really all over the place here in the U.S. There is a well-known town a little over an hour north of where I used to live in Texas that is pretty much entirely nothing but homes with storefronts. Very quaint and nice to visit, your house deed pretty much comes with the store permit. In Sugar Land, though, you are not allowed to have a home business where customers attend at all, simply because the community voted the laws into place to protect it from being over-run with 50 cars every weekend someone throws a market party.

You commented earlier about this being a Nanny state, but I think it is important to emphasize that these are county and state laws that were, largely, voted on by the local businessmen and residents of that area, just as they are everywhere else in the U.S. People decide what they want for the place they live in and protect it by using the legal system. One may claim that these people should be allowed to do what they want in their home, but one should also be willing to listen to the business person who has gone out of his way to comply with the law and zoning requirements. He would, after all, have a valid complaint if the law did not enforce something that he and all the other businesspeople have to deal with.

I would say we are pretty much in agreement, but i have one strong point of disagreement. No of course a house is not a church just because people worship there. That is the sort of nonesense argument used in russia china and other placeses to prevent the free assembly of worshippers. I would have thought that, particularlyy in america, the right to free assembly of citizens especially in a private home was very strongly protected at a federal level. But america is often a weird and wacky place Texas has laws preventing the shooting and lassoing of fish, for example.

How do you mean they are fined for the consequences? Are they fined for breaching the peace, causing a nuisance etc. Or is it actually illegal simply to meet for religious purposes in private house without a permit? If the latter, then the regulation applies to the use of the house not the consequences of its use. My point is that people in a free society should be able to meet and assemble anywhere, but especially in private dwelings, with out ever needing to tell the authorities they are doing so.UNLESS they create a real danger to peace, public order, traffic flow, or the safety of others for example. It is not a religious issue. Those rights should apply to all, for any legal purpose.

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I would say we are pretty much in agreement, but i have one strong point of disagreement. No of course a house is not a church just because people worship there.

Of course not. I already mentioned it before: Legally, (in that part of California, anyway) a church is defined as a place designated for religious discussion with three or more people in regular attendance.

That is the sort of nonesense argument used in russia china and other placeses to prevent the free assembly of worshippers. I would have thought that, particularlyy in america, the right to free assembly of citizens especially in a private home was very strongly protected at a federal level. But america is often a weird and wacky place

It is very strongly protected at the federal level. So much so that the federal government is expressly forbidden by the very First Amendment to interfere with assembly.

There are, however, no absolute rights, and there never have been. At the state level, the county level, and oftentimes, even at the neighborhood level, there are local laws which are created by the locals, appropriately enough, to defend their own rights and interests.

People keep glossing over what seems to me to be a pretty damn important point: These laws did not just materialize out of thin air. These laws were not written by people way up on a hill in a comfy mansion with nothing better to do. Local laws are promoted by locals, and voted on by locals. This isn't about some vague, disembodied, "government" agency out to screw the little guy; This is about the little guy voting in laws to protect himself, his property, and his business, and expecting the government to back him up.

Texas has laws preventing the shooting and lassoing of fish, for example.

Well...yeah. Doesn't Australia have hunting laws?

How do you mean they are fined for the consequences? Are they fined for breaching the peace, causing a nuisance etc.

Usually, although in this case it is specifically about the permit that they were previously warned to get. Basically, they got fined because they did not heed a warning that they need to get a permit to act as a church in location.

Or is it actually illegal simply to meet for religious purposes in private house without a permit?

Never has been, probably never will be. As I mentioned earlier, pretty much all the sites carrying this article with that insinuation tend to be religious in nature. The news sites with the article make it pretty clear that the fine is a business matter, not a religious matter.

If the latter, then the regulation applies to the use of the house not the consequences of its use. My point is that people in a free society should be able to meet and assemble anywhere, but especially in private dwelings, with out ever needing to tell the authorities they are doing so.UNLESS they create a real danger to peace, public order, traffic flow, or the safety of others for example. It is not a religious issue. Those rights should apply to all, for any legal purpose.

That is pretty much what this is. There are some people, who could be described as having a bias or an agenda, who are promoting the idea that this is a religious issue. They don't seem to wonder why the local churches are not joining in the protest. The local churches which, incidentally, follow the local zoning laws and have all their permits.

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Are you saying you guys are above the law?

So lets apply the law, no more barbecues over three people, no more poker nights, no more watching football with your buddies in the living room on a regular basis, after all what applies to the goose should also apply to the gander... its only fair after all.

Oh I can include no more garage sales, and of course, no more sleepovers for the youngsters.

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No, this is a clear cut case of shooting opinions on a news story, without having all of the facts available.

I think we have enough facts available to form an opinion, and it ain't nice where freedom of religion is concerned.

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I live in a suburb and I KNOW that it can be really annoying if someone in the neighbor holds a weekly bible study meeting with thirty cars parked outside the street. Since Jor-El lives outside the US he doesn't seem to know the street situations in the US. We don't have any convenient public transportation leading deep into suburbs, period. It's not like people can take a bus and walk to the study meeting place from the bus stop. It doesn't work that way in America. If you want to criticize then do the homework first.

And if one reads the links I posted you will note that all the cars parked inside the property in question without causing congestion in the street.

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It's so terrible. I responded to MW with a huge list of rediculouse fees, taxes, and regulations then I messed up and erased it all. But land of the free this is no longer, and we killed all the braves. We are slowly bein constricted in to a police state that taxes and herasses it citizens so that the only thing we are capable of doing is consuming.

Thst's about become my view after reading these cases... and guess what, it won't stop there and people will clap and praise while its being done.

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That is pretty much what this is. There are some people, who could be described as having a bias or an agenda, who are promoting the idea that this is a religious issue. They don't seem to wonder why the local churches are not joining in the protest. The local churches which, incidentally, follow the local zoning laws and have all their permits.

The links state that the local group does have a church that is in the area and that is appropriately zoned. What is astounding is that a local group of people cannot meet in a private hime that is large enough for the purpose without needing a permit to do so... if anything this is micro-management.

Another aspect is that this ruling only affects people who in fact have a complaint drawn out against them from anothr neighbour. As such the authorities neeed to investigate the occurence, this was not done, not even a phone call. They simply recieved a fine to pay.

Now what exactly did the neighbour complain about?

It wasn't parking, it wasn't jamming the streets, it wasn't inordinate noise, it was because there was a church next door... even if there wasn't actually one. If there were no bias, this would not have gotten to the stage its gotten.

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So lets apply the law, no more barbecues over three people, no more poker nights, no more watching football with your buddies in the living room on a regular basis, after all what applies to the goose should also apply to the gander... its only fair after all.

Oh I can include no more garage sales, and of course, no more sleepovers for the youngsters.

That would be so true if religion was the government. Oh wait it`s not.

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Here's what the couple's lawyers say on their website:

http://www.pacificjustice.org/news/san-juan-capistrano-backpedals-bible-study-shutdown

City: San Juan Capistrano, CA

Date: 11/22/2011

The Southern California city that issued citations against homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, for holding Bible studies in their home, has reversed course after attorneys for Pacific Justice Institute took the case to court. The city recently dropped its action against the couple and refunded the fines they had paid. However, the city has not yet changed its laws that led to the controversy.

In a letter to the couple, Karen P. Brust, San Juan Capistrano City Manager, who had been working with the Fromms, also stated, “City staff will commence the discussion with the Planning Commission…about the issue of the need to clarify the Land Use Code with respect to places of public assembly and gatherings at single family residences.”

So, as is so often the case, "Fundamentalist Christian" truth turns out to be markedly different than factual truth. I took the trouble to confirm the real facts from a second source,

http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/after-bible-study-brouhaha-a-push-to-change-city-law

It was a zoning dispute, and it will be settled by ordinary, lawful and democratic procedures, consistent with the state and federal constitutions.

And the fact is the OP knew, or ought to have known, that the matter had been settled months ago.

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Here's what the couple's lawyers say on their website:

http://www.pacificjustice.org/news/san-juan-capistrano-backpedals-bible-study-shutdown

So, as is so often the case, "Fundamentalist Christian" truth turns out to be markedly different than factual truth. I took the trouble to confirm the real facts from a second source,

http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/after-bible-study-brouhaha-a-push-to-change-city-law

It was a zoning dispute, and it will be settled by ordinary, lawful and democratic procedures, consistent with the state and federal constitutions.

And the fact is the OP knew, or ought to have known, that the matter had been settled months ago.

This was a poor me religion is being attacked thing. If the OP was in fact what they intended it would have brought in the first ammendment and case solved.

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That would be so true if religion was the government. Oh wait it`s not.

Yet that is what you are agreeing to when you say yeah, to this issue, because if they intrude in one area be prepared for them to intrude in all areas...

One day, you'll be applying for a permit just so you can have a few friends over to watch a game...

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Here's what the couple's lawyers say on their website:

http://www.pacificjustice.org/news/san-juan-capistrano-backpedals-bible-study-shutdown

So, as is so often the case, "Fundamentalist Christian" truth turns out to be markedly different than factual truth. I took the trouble to confirm the real facts from a second source,

http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/after-bible-study-brouhaha-a-push-to-change-city-law

It was a zoning dispute, and it will be settled by ordinary, lawful and democratic procedures, consistent with the state and federal constitutions.

And the fact is the OP knew, or ought to have known, that the matter had been settled months ago.

What?... they said exactly the same thing, the fines were repaid and the laws are going to be reviewed. Which means they effectively won the case... which is good news, and thanks for telling us, it seems a number of us did not know, not just me, but thank goodness you are there inform us of the latest events.

There was no markedly different view. It was not a simple zoning dispute and that is what made the authorities backtrack on their position, that is why they are in fact going to review that law. If it were a simple zoning dispute the law would have been on the side of the authorities and the fines would not have been refunded and they would have been forced to stop meeting at that house.

Maybe it was the hundreds of thousands of emails the city council recieved from all over the world that changed their minds...

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Yet that is what you are agreeing to when you say yeah, to this issue, because if they intrude in one area be prepared for them to intrude in all areas...

One day, you'll be applying for a permit just so you can have a few friends over to watch a game...

So you are falling for the poor me thing twice. It was over parking not religion. I always tell my Jedi Knights to take the bus.

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From the news article I looked up on line...

In Orange County, California, it is illegal to hold a religious meeting in your home.

This is what Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, discovered when they were fined $300 earlier this month for holding a Bible study class on their property.

Officialdom in the county said the couple were singled out because it is considered illegal to hold "a regular gathering of more than three people" on private property. Officials stated that the Fromms require a license to hold meetings in their home.

San Juan Capistrano authorities claim home Bible study is not allowed because it is a "church," and churches require a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) in residential areas. http://blog.alexande...le-study-69211/

So I agree it should be singled out if this is the case... I see no point in being so biased

If other Christians who attend bible meetings, and go to the bother of renting out property, / buildings .. like the Christian group my mother belongs to... They have to pay for their building rental... They have a car park and they also have a permit for their Christian bible meetings... So they do it legally and they do not disrupt anyone.. No complaints can ever be made about how they do it....... I know many small Christian groups all do the same in that respect...

So why should these Christians get treated differently? They have no permit , they are told to get one.. It is unfair for other Christian groups who attend these same kind of meetings and have to pay for permits and rent out buildings that do not disrupt anyone else...Yet a number of other Christians want to avoid all that ... Well if they get fined again that is their own problem...

I remember a family like that years ago.. Rodgers they were by name... They used to have about 30 odd Christians come pilling into our street to attend their own private bible meetings every Friday and sometimes on Wednesdays..

It blocked our street up with cars.. even parking them on the pavements.. No one could get in or out until their meetings were over.. .If you knocked on their door, they hardly would answer.. Most likely knew it was going to be a\ complaint.. So the police had to get involved.. it was unfair to others.. They were ordered to stop...I cannot say what else happened.. All I can say is.. they never did it again... Thank goodness..

It is easy to play the poor wee us we Christians never get a break.. But remember the moment you do, you are only being biased, and you forget that other Christian groups have to do it the legal way... I say if other Christians are doing it the legal way, then they should too ....I see no point in acting like a victim and being biased..

Edited by Beckys_Mom

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So you are falling for the poor me thing twice. It was over parking not religion. I always tell my Jedi Knights to take the bus.

Excuse me, for asking this, but where exactly did you determine that it was over parking?

From what I read, all the cars parked within the property in question.

The Fromms say the non-denominational meetings are well-suited to their home, located on a sizable acreage similar to surrounding homes, and they say they have been careful to maintain low noise levels both inside the house and on the patio. They say visitors who attended the meetings never had trouble finding a place to park on the property, which is large enough to accommodate a corral, barn, and pool.

Section 9-3.301 of the San Juan Capistrano code prohibits “religious, fraternal, or nonprofit organizations” in residential neighbourhoods without a Conditional Use Permit. This prohibition applies to “churches, temples, synagogues, monasteries, religious retreats, and other places of religious worship and other fraternal and community service organizations.” San Juan Capistrano has a reactive code enforcement policy, meaning that officers only respond to complaints.

The Fromms object that the meetings neither serve an organized church nor aim to become one, but are simply a gathering of believers of all stripes.

California homeowner fined for hosting Bible study in his house

There we go... it wasn't about parking.

Edited by Jor-el

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Land use issues.

You might not believe this but I'm in favor of this and have no personal issue with it (the meetings). I think the law is pretty stupid in this regaurd. The couple that have there friends over should be able to but is it an organized meeting that requires a permit.

Someone had to make a complaint or this would be a non story.

Edited by The Silver Thong

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From reading those articles, it is a zoning/city code issue, but that doesn't explain the backstory, namely the how and why the issue came up. If you want to say it was religious discrimination, that's your opinion, but it doesn't sound like the most realistic one.

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It's so terrible. I responded to MW with a huge list of rediculouse fees, taxes, and regulations then I messed up and erased it all. But land of the free this is no longer, and we killed all the braves. We are slowly bein constricted in to a police state that taxes and herasses it citizens so that the only thing we are capable of doing is consuming.

Amen, brother...sad....I think we have totally forgotten our history. I mean, not everyone has, but too many people have imo.

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From reading those articles, it is a zoning/city code issue, but that doesn't explain the backstory, namely the how and why the issue came up. If you want to say it was religious discrimination, that's your opinion, but it doesn't sound like the most realistic one.

I gather that there was a complaint from one of the neighbours who thought it unseemly that so many people met in her neighbours home for church activities... she complained, they were fined...

And by church activities I don't mean that they are a church.

Edited by Jor-el

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I gather that there was a complaint from one of the neighbours who thought it unseemly that so many people met in her neighbours home for church activities... she complained, they were fined...

Well, if that hypothetical situation was correct, one random busybody person would be the one discriminating, and the city just responding, following the law. In that case, peoples claim of the city discriminating against a religious group would be misplaced.

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Land use issues.

You might not believe this but I'm in favor of this and have no personal issue with it (the meetings). I think the law is pretty stupid in this regaurd. The couple that have there friends over should be able to but is it an organized meeting that requires a permit.

And when you have an organized meeting, say your son wants to have his scouts buddies over, will you be getting a permit?

If you don't and one of your neighbours complain, then of course you will willingly pay a justified fine...

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It is truly amazing how the responses in this thread so accurately reflect the exact identical process which made this a news story in the first place.

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