The news of an Arizona pastor jailed and fined more than $12,000 for hosting a Bible study group in his home rightfully outraged a great number of freedom-loving Americans. Granted, some facts emerged later in the case that seem to paint the pastor as less than upfront on some peripheral issues, but the fact remains that his first brush with the law emerged from his desire to increase the faith of his friends and neighbors.
It would be bad enough if this had been just an isolated incident, but prosecution (and persecution) of practicing Christians continues, as chronicled in the recent charges against one Florida couple.
The couple invites up to 10 people into their home on Friday evenings for prayer and Bible study, which local government decided warrants a $250 fine per day for code violations. The targeted hosts framed the hypocrisy perfectly, saying nothing is done when just as many individuals converge on a residential location to view a football game.
Technically, oppressive officials claim, the practice of reading God’s word and invoking Him in prayer makes the home in which it takes place a “house of worship.”
Do we have free speech in America? When churches face the possibility of IRS retribution for politically incorrect sermons, and private citizens are afraid to mention the name of Jesus in their own homes, my contention is that today’s liberal elite views the First Amendment as little more than irrelevant words written by out-of-touch white people.
To be fair, many on the left view everything our founders did as irrelevant, but freedom of speech (and with it, freedom of religion) is the cornerstone of our republic – a right without which liberty becomes an impossibility.
Thank God for informed citizens, even in the liberal hotbed of California. After local officials in that state caught significant flak for fining a couple who hosted a Bible study identified by the city as “a regular gathering of more than three people,” they reversed course and adopted state legislation allowing such small meetings to continue without expensive permits and inconvenient regulation.
For every victory such as this, though, how many dictatorial officials are spying into the living rooms of believers across this nation? The truth is that there should be no need for citizens to fight for their right to pray and fellowship with other Christians. That right should never be threatened in the first place!
Just out of curiosity, I wonder how much manpower is being directed toward every home three or more practicing Muslims happen to occupy at the same time. It’s disturbing we only hear of Christians being subjected to such blatant and overreaching religious intolerance.
B. Christopher Agee founded The Informed Conservative in 2011. Like his Facebook page for engaging, relevant conservative content daily.