Monday, June 1, 2009


It has been all over the Internet, and by now you have probably seen the reports or perhaps read some of the angry emails on a number of blogs. In case you have been isolated in the tundra of Northern Canada, here is a brief description of the events.

Pastor David Jones of San Diego was conducting prayer meetings in his home. When one of the people attending a meeting dinged a neighbor’s car, the car owner promptly filed a complaint with county authorities. The pastor was questioned concerning the nature of the prayer meetings. According to news reports the county official asked:

(1) Do you have a regular meeting in your home? (Answer: Yes.)
(2) Do you say amen? (Answer: Yes.)
(3) Do you pray? (Answer: Yes.)
(4) Do you praise the Lord? (Answer: Yes.)

The county employee notified the couple that the Bible study, with an average attendance of fifteen persons, was in violation of county regulations. A written warning followed the interview that listed “unlawful use of land” and told them to “stop religious assembly or apply for a major use permit,” a process that could cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Several people commenting on the event wondered if the county would have had the same reaction if the gathering had been a poker game, a Tupperware party, or if the same people were watching a ball game. After Attorney Dean Broyles of the Western Center for Law and Policy agreed to represent the group and contacted the county officials, Chandra Wallar, County Manager of Land Use, attempted to explain the event as a simple misunderstanding.

I am going to accept Ms. Wallar’s explanation, because there are mix-ups when government employees try to administer the many thousands of laws and regulations in a sensible manner. I think it is important, however, that we should all guard our rights diligently, and make sure that honest mistakes are kept to a minimum.

There can be no doubt that religious intolerance in America is rising. I am a Christian, but I have friends who are Jewish and some others that are Muslim. All of them feel that we have approached a point when the differences in our faiths might have put us on a collision course with government controls, rabble rousing, and fearful people who fail to understand what religion is all about. Those of us who are members of the Three Great Faiths should never forget that we worship the same God, even though it is in separate and distinct ways. We should be tolerant, but also watchful . . .

[Photo accompaning this article is used with permission from FREESTOCKPHOTOS.COM]