Arizona Pastor Arrested, Jailed for Holding Bible Study in Home; His Wife Says It 'Defies Logic'
Bible study leader Michael Salman is sitting in jail today after his home was raided earlier this week by more than a dozen Phoenix, Ariz. police officers and city officials. His offense? The city says people aren't allowed to hold private Bible studies on their own property.
Salman was sentenced to 60 days in jail, three years probation and received a $12,180 fine for "the crime."
His wife Suzanne spoke with Fox and Friends this morning to express her shock and disbelief at the entire situation. According to Suzanne, the city told her that her husband was essentially arrested because the Bible study was at a private house .. and that essentially, it's a church. Since they weren't zoned for church, they were told they were breaking the rules.
"It defies logic, honestly. I don't understand ... that something so small got so large like this," Suzanne said. "People do it all over the United States all the time."
John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute believes the family is being discriminated against because of their faith. "The key is -- the Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion ... the right to assemble and talk to each other wherever you want to be - in public or in your home," he said. "The thing that I think is so shocking is that you might expect this in Iran or [some place] around the world ... but happening in the United States, this is so shocking it's beyond belief."
Phoenix City Prosecutor Vicki Hill said in a statement: "It came down to zoning and proper permitting. Anytime you are holding a gathering of people continuously as he does, we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire, and that's really all this comes down to."
What do you make of this case? As Suzanne says in the below interview, is this different than a regularly meeting Tupperware group or the like? And if so, how and why?