June 1, 2009

Yes It Does Work Both Ways

A big story in right-leaning media over the weekend, apparently, the harassment by San Diego County code enforcement officials of a pastor and his wife having Bible study in their house on Good Friday. I read about it today on tinyfrog (hat tip), who is skeptical of the portrayal of the pastor as lily-white and totally without blame in the situation (referencing additional facts found on snopes):
So, it’s not “a few friends” which sounds like two or three people, but 15 people – which lead to parking problems and a neighbor calling the police. So, here are the things not mentioned in the FOX news story: the actual number of visitors, parking problems, and a neighbor calling the police to file a complaint.
Okay, fifteen people isn't “a few friends” but it is a medium-sized party for a suburban residential area, the sort of thing that if your neighbors do every once in a while you put up with. There was apparently an issue with a neighbor's car door being dinged, and the pastor paid to have it fixed. It's not an unreasonable-sized gathering.

But here's the thing. The pastor can have Bible study if he wants to. Like a lot of volunteer groups, not every church group is wealthy enough to afford standard church accommodations or renting meeting halls for every activity. And it's their Constitutional right to congregate and engage in religious activity. If I get to have a Constitutional right to not worship, they get to have a Constitutional right to worship. It's the same right, and it's as important for them as it is for me. So I say, leave them alone, San Diego County.


Daryl said...

I agree. I saw this circulating among my various outlets for heathen news and thought it seemed unfair. Unless there's more to the story, the government shouldn't be harrassing these people.

DaveBuck said...

My brother sent me the link along with a "Look at the hypocritical atheists" comment.

I agree that the group should be treated like any other group gathering in that subdivision and would suggest the county let the people work things out.