I count myself an atheistic agnostic, and yet I find this troubling. I find it troubling because, strangely and ironically, the more extreme Christians and the atheists can both be victims of middle-of-the-road values.


To quote the article:


MISSION VIEJO (CBS) — An Orange County couple has been ordered to stop holding a Bible study in their home on the grounds that the meeting violates a city ordinance as a “church” and not as a private gathering.

Homeowners Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, of San Juan Capistrano, were fined $300 earlier this month for holding what city officials called “a regular gathering of more than three people”.

That type of meeting would require a conditional use permit as defined by the city, according to Pacific Justice Institute (PJI), the couple’s legal representation.

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That is stupid (fining people for what they read and discuss in their own home with other people). It reminds me of the news clip I heard earlier this week that in California they want to make it a law that baby sitters get a 30 minute break for lunch and two ten minute breaks during an eight hour time period. That would mean another baby sitter has to step in while the main baby sitter takes her breaks.


Sometimes I want to tel the government to get the ____ out of my _______.







Good gosh! What next? Mothers all get a legally required break too?

The only way California could enforce this is by somehow making sure babysitters weren't being paid under the table. They can make it law all they want but I know that if I babysit I certainly don't report that income to the government.

That is ridiculous. As an atheist I would vehemently defend their right to meet and discuss/study/pray/whatever they want, in the privacy of their own home. Now if they were gathering something like 1,000 people, ok - that may be a problem. But a few people (I define it as "all of them fit comfortably in the home") then who cares?


And what if they were discussing, oh I dunno, Quantum Mechanics? The upcoming Hobbit movies? The Star Wars mythology?


I find it very disturbing that the subject of their meeting has such a strong bearing on whether they are breaking this silly ordinance or not.

What exactly does atheism (or am I to read extreme atheism?) has to do with any of this and why would this case lend credence to agnosticism?

I fail to see any of the connections you are supposing.

The city of San Juan Capistrano seems to be rather Catholic oriented - carries in it's city motto "preserving the past.." If the accusation is that they are misusing existing city regulations, you'll need a motive. Maybe it is that the Fromms are of a competing denomination. Maybe something even more sinister. Or maybe the explanation is much more innocent and they are just keeping in with Catholic tradition that ordinary folk shouldn't dabble unaided in Biblical exegesis.

But if the Fromms are on a mission and starting their own church then maybe they should consider just following the local rules and get the goddamned permit. It'll probably be a lot cheaper too.

@Albert Bakker   Maybe we should move my reply to the "Are people becoming more thin-skinned?" Discussion. Talk about over-reaction.




Okay, let's just assume you're either being tongue-in-cheek or got fired today. I forgive you, either way.


What "connections" are you supposing I am supposing?


I assumed most people here want the state to stay out of people's lives, whether they are holding a Bible study meeting or a conclave of atheists. What is the city's interest in even KNOWING if three or more people get together behind closed doors? Would three-way sex qualify? A kid's birthday party?


I don't need to know their motive to know that they overstepped reasonable boundaries with a law like that. It may not even be constitutional.

Then I don't understand why you should say 'yet' or what sort of group would you belong to not find it troubling? Then you apparently give a clue as to what you mean by following up by saying that extreme Christians and atheist could be the victims too.

But I'm glad to known that you were just clumsily expressing your aversion against government butting in peoples private sphere. I would leave the petty exaggerations out though, they don't really add to your point.

Well, then let them go to court if it's unconstitutional. They're ruled by Republicans from city to state down there so they got that going for them. Oh wait no, they was being persecuted by them in the first place.

What now? Surrender?

If your response was referencing my post where I say, "As an atheist I would vehemently defend their right to meet....", I began the sentence with "As an atheist..." because of the juxtaposition of my seemingly diametrically opposed (lack of) beliefs and my conviction to defend their right to meet for religious reasons. IOW I wouldn't want the government punishing me for havng a group of atheists - or skeptics, or short people, or left-handed people, whatever - in my home and I don't want to see the government punishing others for meeting either.


If, however, you were not referring to my response then never mind :)

No sir, I wasn't. But I find this case less troubling than the reactions to it, that seem to be predominantly - fortunately there are a few sane minds - knee jerk anti-govt reactions that now and then border on paranoia.

This isn't about home Bible studies, 50 people twice a week is a business. It seems like mr. Fromm might have slightly grander ambitions than just to have meetings at his home to blabber about Bible stuff with friends as you can see from his website.


There might be a bit more to it than it the simplistic "they're takin' away our freedom" tale being (so predictably) reacted to here.

This morning I just wanted to throw a little oil on the fire, motivate people to bring some new facts to the table. I'm pretty much done with this story. There's nothing to it.

I agree.

agreed, the city is just looking to make a buck, and even though the rule states more than 3 people qualifies as breaking the rule, i'll bet they had more than a handful of people at the meetings or they wouldn't have attracted attention. i'm sure there are extenuating circumstances we don't know about. if it was a one time event like a party, it would have been overlooked. but regular meetings in someones home is bound to attract attention, annoy the neighbors (probably parking issues), and eventually be looked into, whether they were studying the bible or not.

Im with you on this.  The law is the law.  Don't complain when you get in trouble for breaking the law, contact your representatives and try to change it.  


I agree it's a silly law but I don't agree that it's silly they got fined for breaking the law.  




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