Sunday, July 22, 2012

Religious Freedom - #4060 - Rutherford Institute Petitions for Writ of Habeas Corpus Asking Arizona Supreme Court to Intervene in Case of Phoenix Man Jailed for Home Bible Study - Rutherford Institute (2) Neighbor Hired Private Investigator to Spy on Jailed Man's Backyard Meetings Following City's Home Bible Studies Ban - Rutherford Institute

PHOENIX, Ariz. —Attorneys for The Rutherford Institute have petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus, asking the Court to intervene in the case of a Phoenix man who is serving a 60-day jail sentence and was fined more than $12,000 for using his private residential property to host a weekly Bible study, allegedly in violation of the city’s building codes. In coming to the defense of Michael Salman, Institute attorneys are challenging the legality of Salman’s imprisonment as a violation of his First Amendment rights to religious freedom and assembly, in addition to challenging the City’s assertion that if a person holds Bible studies or other forms of religious worship at his residence, he is required to comply with all local laws relating to an actual church that is open to the public. Salman appeared in municipal court yesterday on charges that he violated his probation by continuing to hold Bible studies on his private property after being ordered not to have more than 12 people gathered on his property at any one time. The court could impose additional jail time as a penalty. A fact sheet on the case refuting some of the misinformation being circulated, as well as The Rutherford Institute’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus from the Arizona Supreme Court are available at While Michael Salman should never have been charged with a crime for simply exercising his religious beliefs on his own property, to keep him in prison while the question of his basic rights is being considered is the ultimate injustice,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “The continued imprisonment of Michael Salman for simply worshipping God with his family and friends on his own property demonstrates the lengths to which government bureaucrats will go in service of imposing dubious regulations on average citizens.”  Read more.......

Neighbor Hired Private Investigator to Spy on Jailed Man's Backyard Meetings Following City's Home Bible Studies Ban - Rutherford Institute - A recent fact sheet released by attorneys representing a Phoenix man who is in jail after being accused of operating a church on his private property outlines that a neighbor hired a private investigator to spy out the family’s weekly gatherings. The meetings were moved to a building in their back yard after they were informed by the city that they could not host Bible studies in their living room. The Rutherford Institute (TRI) states that it released the fact sheet to counter claims against Michael Salman that were publicized by the City of Phoenix, and to “set the facts straight.” In the sheet, The Rutherford Institute reveals that a neighbor of the Salman’s sought to investigate exactly what was taking place on the property. The private investigator, who was hired by the neighbor’s attorney, allegedly went to the Salman’s house under the guise that he was a friend of one of Salman’s friends who attends the private gatherings in the 2,000 square foot building. “The only time persons unknown to the Salmans attended the Bible study was when a private investigator, under the pretext that he was a friend of another family involved in the Bible study, attended the meeting,” the fact sheet states.  Read more.........

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