You read that right. The city of Gilbert, Arizona , population ~ 200,000, is forbidding Bible studies in private homes.
Pastor Joe Sutherland of the Oasis Truth Churh was told in a letter from the code compliance officer Steve Wallace that people were not allowed to meet in a home for church activities under the city's developmen Code. A letter was send ordering the group to "terminate all religious meetings... regardless of their size, nature, or frequency".
They are insane. That would include discussions about the church, praying about the church or it's members, discussions about the upcoming sermans which the pastor is surely working on between the pastor and any member of his family who lives in the home. You read that right. If the pastor discusses an upcoming sermon with his wife inside his home, then they are criminals according to the idiotic City of Gilbert.
A city letter confirmed, "Given that the church is considered to be religious assembly, and given the LDC provisions prohibiting that use on Local streets without Use Permits and prohibiting it in single family residential structures, it follows that the church meetings cannot be held in the home."
"The assembly activities associated with the church, including Bible studies, church leadership meetings and church fellowship activities are not permitted," wrote Mike Milillo, the city's senior planner.
As a resident of Arizona but not the city of Gilbert, I want to encourage every person living in Gilbert, to start a Bible study right now. And post a flyer on your front door announcing it. Invite your neighbors. When everyone violates this idiotic code, and flaunts that violation, it'll be changed. A retraction is not enough. The code must be changed.
I also encourage all the residents of Giblert to find out which members of your City Council voted for this idiotic code which violates the 1st Amendment to the United States Constitution and make sure you get them out of office even if you have to run yourself! It's not a big city. You can do this!
Contact these individuals mentioned in the article:
Development Services: All Divisions
90 E Civic Center DrGilbert, AZ 85296
Mike Milillo - senior planner cannot be found on the website of the City of Gilbert but here is the general contact information:
Development Services: Inspection & Compliance Division
90 E Civic Center Dr
Gilbert, AZ 85296
Main Phone: (480) 503-6700