According to News Times Phoenix, Micheal Salmon, who arrived at Maricopa County jail to self surrender and serve his sixty day sentence was sent home by jail officials back in mid-June.  Today, July 10, 2012, Salmon began serving his sentence.  Salmon was convicted of several fire and zoning code violations in conjunction with the Bible study he hosts at his home.

In 2009, more than a dozen police officers raided Salmon’s home and the 2000 square foot building in his backyard, Fox News Radio reported in its coverage of the arrest. Micheal contends that his Bible study is not a church, nor is his building a commercial building; but just a regular meeting with friends to study the Bible, but City Code enforcement states that it is in fact a church and therefore in violation of sixty-seven codes.  Some of the violations ranged from not having fire sprinklers, to exit lights above the doors or having handicap parking.  In an earlier report, Salmon explained that his guest do not park on the street, they are friends who come to visit in his private home.

“If I had people coming to my home on a regular basis for poker night or Monday Night Football, it would be permitted,” he said. “But when someone says to us we are not allowed to gather because of religious purposes – that is when you have discrimination,”  said Michael Salmon.

Tony Perkins of Family Research Council told Fox News Radio:

“Any time religious freedom or the freedom of speech is infringed upon, Americans should be concerned.  We are seeing jurisdictions using zoning ordinances to crack down the exercise of religious freedom.”

Salmon and his attorney plan to file a motion with the U.S. Ninth Circuit of Appeals Court in hopes to quash the sentence, reports Ray Stern of the News Times.

Salmon’s wife, in a video made in response to her husband’s arrest, pointed out that God is faithful and the Micheal will be sharing the Gospel to those in jail.  She courageously thanked those who have reached out and who are praying for them as they stand for what the believe is their right as American’s, to worship God, with others, in the privacy of their own home.  The video documenting the tearful good-bye can be found here.

8 comments
  1. How exactly does the Phoenix city code define a church?  And was Salmon ever given a simple warning before being arrested? 

    Regardless, everything else being the same, if Salmon had been hosting a Koran study instead, does anybody really think he would’ve been arrested?  😉

    1. This conflict has been going on for several years. Several warnings and discussions have happened and the whole ordeal is much more complicated than the article indicates. It is all results from the investigation of a neighbors complaint. Why weren’t the officials and neighbors interviewed? It’s called balanced journalism. Both sides are being ridiculous. This is a matter of stubborn meets inflexability. No religious persecution going on here. Let’s get all the facts.
      Romans 12:18 If possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all men.

      1. Is that a problem?

        It’s HIS backyard for heaven sakes. People build additional rooms. garages and workshops in their backyards all the time.

        As long as it’s not an eyesore and they don’t create a lot of noise before 9am or after 9pm, then nosey neighbors and HOA / zoning nazies should have no input into the matter.

    2. Yes, he would have been arrested if it had been a Koran study. His arrest had nothing to do with the free exercise of religion. It wasn’t discriminatory at all, and anyone who thinks it is needs to take a look at the facts.

  2. It’s a shameful double standard that the prosecutor let the “Occupy” protesters go free on trespassing and destruction charges, which normally involves jail time, but zoning laws (which normally results only in a fine) puts a pastor in jail for inviting people into his house, even though it was remodled to accomidate the people and their vehicles to prevent them from parking in the street.

    Thirty or so people can safely exit the double doors the pastor had installed, plus I assume it has ample windows and a back door to escape from if there is a fire. Commercial buildings normally have windows that do not open, and thus do need sprinklers in case of fire.

    Pastor Salmon’s friends should set up a defense/family support fund web site -i would certainly contribute.

  3. Have you seen the aerial views of the property?  The building is within
    feet of a neighbor and includes a parking lot. The building does not
    meet fire code, building code or zoning code.

    If your neighbor a
    2000 square foot church, temple or synagogue you’d object. Why
    should the city ignore the complaints of neighbors?

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