My mom and her church small group ministry should be glad they don't live in San Diego. Holding regular meetings in someone's home to discuss Scripture and other religious topics without paying thousands of dollars to obtain a "religious assembly" permit apparently violates county regulations there. Rev. David Jones' weekly Bible study typically attracts about 15 people, less than many ladies' bunco or guys' poker nights. But after a fender bender between vehicles belonging to one of the members of the Bible study group and a visitor to a neighbor of Jones, some busybody called county officials to complain. A code enforcement officer was sent to grill Rev. Jones about the gatherings, after which the county issued a formal citation.
Doesn't San Diego county have more important things to worry about- say the $244 million shortfall in the county budget? Or are the two things related? Christians seem to make easy shakedown targets for Californian bureaucrats these days. The city of San Francisco is trying to levy a $15 million tax on the city's Catholic archdiocese on properties transferred from one administrative arm of the archdiocese to another.
The First Amendment should protect religious groups in these types of cases, but unfortunately activist judges have been chipping away at that protection for decades. And with the election of Barack Obama, I don't foresee the situation improving in that regard any time soon in the Federal judicial system.
Let's pray that the San Diego bureaucrats stop persecuting Rev. Jones and his Bible study group!