California City Says Home Bible Group Must Get Permit
For the second time in six months, the city has ordered a group of Christian worshippers who meet inside homes to get a permit or shut down.
It's the latest incident in which religious groups in Southern California have been targeted by cities for home gatherings, though many of those groups were eventually allowed to meet without obtaining permits.
Rancho Cucamonga is trying to halt Friday night meetings at a home after receiving a complaint in February from a neighbor that 40 to 60 people were gathering weekly in the San Bernardino County location....
1Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;
4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake.
6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.
7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
I've been sent a few iterations of this story via email already. It's being billed in conservative media as yet another instance of a Christian "bible study" being unreasonably forced to seek a permit to meet by a local city.
While that has happened in other cities, after doing a little digging it seems more likely that the actual story here is that a health and wealth church is hosting a lot of it's activities at the husband and wife pastor team's house in a residential neighborhood (including their youth group meetings) and the neighbors complained about having 40-60 people plus vehicles descend on one house every week.
Now whether or not you believe that churches should be allowed to do this, the media need to make clear this is NOT the city persecuting a typical home based bible study. A business or another non-profit would likely get nailed for doing this as well.
On their website, if you click on the calendar of events ( http://shilohtc.org/main/index.php?option=com_jcalpro&Itemid=24 ) you'll find that at least TWO of the church's activities are held at the Pastor and Pastorette's home EVERY WEEK.
That city should leave them alone. However if they have started their own church then they should rent space somewhere to hold the church services instead of holding the church services in a residential domicile.