The Phoenix, Ariz., fight over a Bible study in a man’s home has spilled over into the state Supreme Court, with a writ of habeas corpus filed by Rutherford Institute asking the justices to intervene and release Michael Salman, who was jailed after repeatedly holding Bible studies at his home.
City officials have argued that he’s violating the zoning code for churches, but he’s argued that his Bible study is for friends and family and he shouldn’t be forced to meet any city code that would not also be applied to a meeting of friends for a card game, a Super Bowl party or any other event.
In the city’s court system, Salman was fined $12,000 and sentenced to 60 days in jail for the zoning and code violations, and Rutherford officials confirm Salman now is in Maricopa County’s “Tents Jail,” made up of military tents on the desert with four towers for security, stun fences around the perimeter and other security features.
“Petition seeks a writ of habeas corpus because he is currently serving a sentence of imprisonment as a result of exercising his right to religious freedom under the First and Fourteenth Amendments,” the writ explains.
City code officials in Phoenix would not respond to WND questions about the issue, and officials in the city prosecutor’s office declined to respond to a message requesting a comment.
But documentation assembled by Rutherford in the case explains that the city has tried to subject the Salman family “to the zoning and building requirements that are meant only to apply to public or commercial buildings, even though the Bible studies were intended only for family and friends.”