This morning I woke up to see a story in the media world about was (funny since this happened back in June 2012), as far as I could tell at first, the biggest step against Christianity that I have seen in America.
The headline: Arizona Man Arrested for Bible Study
I watched the Fox News clip about the incident and was nearly convinced that I should be riled up about this event. I mean, a 60 day jail sentence plus a fine for studying the Bible together at home? That sounds more like Saudi Arabia than America (albeit their the sentence would be less friendly than some minor jail time).
But I always try to be careful not to jump on the “America hates Christians” bandwagon that Fox News tends to overhype. A lot of what is espoused by conservative radio and tv shows is nothing but fear mongering and overreaction with little attention to facts.
After a little bit of digging this is what I found:
In defense of Fox:
- Whatever the other facts say, the ability for a church to meet in a home has been highly instrumental in its historical development and will always be important.
- Fifteen police invaded the home to take Michael Salman away. Not one or two police, Fifteen. A little overkill I think.
In defense of Arizona:
- A large group of people meeting regularly and collecting money (tithe) is legally allowed in only properly zoned areas.
- This “Bible study” met regularly twice per week and marketed itself as a full fledged Church online.
- These Bible studies regularly had up to 80 people
- Michael Salman claimed tax benefits of a church
- Neighbors had repeatedly complained about the noise and congestion
- Salman had been warned by the city several times, up to six years before, that he was violating city codes
Welll I have to run to work. You can do your own research and let me know what you find in the comments below.
Start at http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/08/05/arizona-man-sent-to-jail-for-holding-bible-studies-in-his-home/ and http://www.examiner.com/article/arizona-man-was-not-arrested-for-bible-study, but don’t stop there.
Picture by Arvind Balaraman and used by permission of freedigitalphotos.net