Bible studies in Florida: As reported in The New American Oct. 8, 2012
Another US family is being fined for the “crime” of conducting a home Bible Study without getting the proper permits. Shane and Marlene Roessiger face a fine of $250 a day from Venice, Florida, after city officials determined that the couple were conducting an unauthorized “House of Worship” at their residence because of the Bible study that brings six to ten individuals there each Friday night.
The Blaze.com wrote September 17 that, according to the Pacific Justice Institute, (PJI), the California based legal advocacy group that is representing the couple in the legal proceedings, the Roessigers have a small Christian outreach called “In Him Healing Touch Ministries”. When they started the ministry, the Roessgers chose to get their mail at home instead of renting a Post Office box. Now, “Venice Code Enforcement officials are using the listing of the residence as the ministries address to build a case against the Roessigers, “explained PJI. Venice officials are fining the couple $250 daily for violating zoning laws by holding the weekly Bible studies.
Kevin Snider the PJU attorney handling the case; informed the city’s Code Enforcement Board that the Roesiggers have since changed the mailing address for the ministry so that it is no longer listed as their home. Nonetheless the couple intends to continue using their home for prayer and Bible study, and the city continues to fine them. Shane told Fox News Radio he has a difficult time understanding “how it is illegal to have a prayer meeting on Friday night with a half dozen people, but it’s alright if I invite the same group on Monday evening to watch Monday Night Football”. PJI President Brad Dacus told Focus on the Family’s Citizen-Link:
“This nation was built upon people being able to gather, pray, and have Bible studies in their homes. Many churches are founded upon that, as a beginning of their churches. For cities to be allowed to get away with this “is totalitarian.”
Dacus said that PJI would not “stand idly by while the local governments run over families for having these types of religious gatherings in the privacy of their homes.
If cities want to fine people and drag them into court or before other tribunals for having prayer meetings, we will be waiting for them.