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Jewish Journal

OC couple fined for holding Bible studies in home

by Brad A. Greenberg

September 21, 2011 | 7:11 pm

I feel like I’ve read this story before. Never stops seeming ridiculous. CBS reports on an Orange County couple that has been told to stop holding Bible studies in their home, lest they get slapped with another fine:

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.

The Fromms also reportedly face subsequent fines of $500 per meeting for any further “religious gatherings” in their home, according to PJI.

“We’re just gathering and enjoying each other’s company and fellowship. And we enjoy studying God’s word.” Stephanie Fromm told CBS2.

The zoning consideration is a fair one, if the Fromms actually were operating their home as a church. But Bible studies are like book clubs, BBQs and college study groups: They are social gatherings that happen to be religious. Unless we are talking about a house church, they are not operating a 501c3.

(Thanks for the tip, Taylor.)

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