Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
Pastor David Jones
and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to
their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study — unless they are
willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County.
Good Friday we had an employee from San Diego County come to our house,
and inform us that the Bible study that we were having was a religious
assembly, and in violation of the code in the county." David Jones told
"We told them this is not really
a religious assembly — this is just a Bible study with friends. We have
a meal, we pray, that was all," Jones said.
few days later, the couple received a written warning that cited
"unlawful use of land," ordering them to either "stop religious
assembly or apply for a major use permit," the couple's attorney Dean
Broyles told San Diego news station 10News.
But the major use permit could cost the Jones' thousands of dollars just to have a few friends over.
For David and Mary Jones, it's about more than a question of money.
government may not prohibit the free exercise of religion," Broyles
told FOX News. "I believe that our Founding Fathers would roll over in
their grave if they saw that here in the year 2009, a pastor and his
wife are being told that they cannot hold a simple Bible study in their
implications are great because it’s not only us that’s involved," Mary
Jones said. "There are thousands and thousands of Bible studies that
are held all across the country. What we’re interested in is setting a
precedent here — before it goes any further — and that we have it
settled for the future."
The couple is planning to dispute the county's order this week.
San Diego County refuses to allow the pastor and his wife to continue
gathering without acquiring a permit, they will consider a lawsuit in