Pastor defies bureaucrats, goes to jail for hosting a home Bible study – Beliefnet.com

Pastor defies bureaucrats, goes to jail for hosting a home Bible study – Beliefnet.com.

I apologize for posting another quick-press article commentary, but I can’t believe what I read in this article. I especially have a problem believing it would happen in Arizona, which has a reputation of being very conservative.

But there it is — a pastor has been jailed for having home Bible studies. My previous next door neighbors held home Bible study, and even though the street was lined with cars, I never thought of reporting them to the police. The cars were parked legally and those who attended never caused any disturbance. Why should it bother me? I wouldn’t have cared if it had been a Koran study or a Rig-Veda study or a Torah study, either — the way I see it, they had every right to meet on their own property no matter what they were studying, even if it had been Mein Kampf or Marx’s Communist Manifesto. What happened to freedom of assembly???

“In such a society, we are all petty criminals… guilty of violating some minor law.”  Boston lawyer Harvey Silvergate, author of Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent, estimates that the average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal.

“Consequently, we now find ourselves operating in a strange new world where small farmers who dare to make unpasteurized goat cheese and share it with members of their community are finding their farms raided, while home gardeners face jail time for daring to cultivate their own varieties of orchids without having completed sufficient paperwork.”

“This frightening state of affairs — where a person can actually be arrested and incarcerated for the most innocent and inane activities, including feeding a whale and collecting rainwater on their own property (these are actual cases in the courts right now) — is due to what law scholars refer to as overcriminalization, or the overt proliferation of criminal laws,” writes Whitehead on his website.
I’m not a libertarian in the Ron Paul sense, but these laws are ridiculous. How is it damaging someone else for me to collect rainwater? Why should I fill out endless paperwork to have guests in my home? I used to live down the street from a houseful of drug dealers. Did they get prosecuted? No, they had “arrangements” with the police. I wonder if drug dealers in Phoenix have similar arrangements? Why don’t the police go after them and leave innocent people alone?


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