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Beliefnet News

California couple fined $300 for holding home Bible study

A southern California couple has been fined $300 dollars for holding Christian Bible study sessions in their home, and could face another $500 for each additional gathering, according to the internet website the Blaze:

City officials in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. say Chuck and Stephanie Fromm are in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.

The Fromms appealed their citations but were denied and warned future sessions would carry heftier penalties. A statement from the Pacific Justice Institute, which is defending the couple in a lawsuit against the city, said Chuck Fromm was also told regular gatherings of three or more people require a conditional use permit, which can be costly and difficult to obtain.


“How dare they tell us we can’t have whatever we want in our home,” Stephanie Fromm told the Capistrano Dispatch. “We want to be able to use our home. We’ve paid a lot and invested a lot in our home and backyard … I should be able to be hospitable in my home.”

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  • http://Whathappenedtoseparationofstateandreligion? Pat Reynolds

    Now we are involved in dictatorship?! You take prayer out of schools, God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, and now we cannot have Bible Studies in our home. We don’t live in China, Russia, North Korea but in America, the Land of the Free. You need to seaprate the government from religion. Give us back our freedom!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Charlie McCullough

    Big Brother is here, I can’ believe it ! Are we the home of the free or the home of the SS ? Free Speech is a right. The ACLU should be banned ,tared and feathered!!!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Desert lady

    Buy the permit. Problem solved.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Karen

    We are seeing more and more of our freedoms taken away. This is nothing compared to what’s coming. Once Jesus returns, which could be any day now, the AntiChrist will take over and everyone will be under his rule. This is nothing what we are seeing now. God help us to be ready when He comes.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment BARBARA

    Does Capistrano need the money that badly? What is the matter with those people? If I want to hold a Bible meeting in my home that’s my business..Maybe holding a booze party should be fined but not reading the Bible.People we need to stand up for our rights and kick the s**t out of the ACLU crackpots.Or do away with them period.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment David Ameen

    Sieg hiel mein furrer! Or is it Big Brother or commisar? All dictators look alike to me.
    Welcome to Amerika and the People’s Republic of California

  • Moorthy

    GOD’s permission is not a necessity but YES from insane officials is an absolute necessity. I cannot understand as to how the couple would affect the neighbourhood by holding a small congregation in their house ???

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment bluebuss

    give unto ceasars what is ceasars. = follow the law of the land.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment sandra

    pray for this nation,and unleash the power of the holy spirit on this land and bring peace that passes all understanding in the midst of this storm give it to our LOrd He will handle all situations. love those who persecute and pray and God will move the mountain. Pray unceasingly don’t fret love

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment chiquita

    you no we are in the last days. more and more people want other people not to love god.

  • http://None Patsy Davis

    Patsy Davis in Charlotte, N.C. Fining a family for holding Bible studies in their home is RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!! Are the Christians of this Nation going to be hunted down like animals and fined just because they are worshipping God in their own homes??!?! WHAT IS GOING ON IN THIS NATION OF OURS!!!!??? For those people who are atheists, I feel sorry for them. They will never feel the peace that God gives His Children.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Allan

    As long as the Fromms do not demand a tax exemption for their home, I can’t see where the problem is.

    Is “Fromm”, the German word for “pious” their actual name?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Harmon Wheeler

    It Is Pretty Bad When A City Tells You Can Not Have A Bilble Study In Your Own Home With Several Of Your Friends. This Is Not Freedom Of Speech This Is Dicatorship. This Country Was Founded On Religion.We Are Not In Another Country This Is America. Have A Bless Day.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment

    I totally agree, it’s your house and you pay taxes , you should be able to do as you please in your own PLACE OF SECURITY!!!
    But, as we all know California is a state of nothing but free loaders & anti-Christ people so I would say pay the stupid permit and then pray with your group that the lord open the eyes, hearts & minds of these people that are against you worshiping in your own home.
    God Bless,
    grace from Florida

  • http://abc Jonathan N Gardiner

    When I first saw this headline I said; is America becoming like China?
    I pray to God that they do not or worst than China.I try to understand the reasoning behind this but cannot found none.
    All I can say to the Fromm’s be of good courage and remain strong in the power and might of our great God.

    These are the times we as true Christians
    will suffer severe persecution for our faith in God.

    Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses,so do these also resist the truth,men of corrupt minds,reprobate concerning the faith.
    But they shall proceed no further;for their folly shall be manifest unto all men,as theirs also was.
    But thou hast fully known my doctrine,manner of life,purpose,faith,long-suffering love patience.
    Persecutions,afflictions,which came unto me at Antioch,at Iconium,at Lystra,what persecutions I endured;but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
    Yea,and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
    But evil men and seducers shall become worse and worse,deceiving and being deceived.2 Timothy.3:8-13.KJV.

    Yes,it is true we must obey those in authority according the the word of God we also will suffer Persecutions for our faith in God by ungodly men.

    Which nation of this world will help to lead the rest of nations in the way of righteousness of God the creator of heaven and earth and all that thereis in?

    If it’s not,Us,the Christians people then who?

    Be strong and courageous to every Christian throughout the four corners of this our God and great King earth.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marie

    God said these things were going to come about because of our disobedence. Those that love God and that are doing their best should know this was coming. Now is when we have to put on the whole armour of God and stay close to him. God said he would never leave nor forsake us…and he won’t.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Fred Sayin

    Municipial Code 9-3-01 in San Juan
    Capistrino, CA is in violation of the Bill of
    Rights (first 10 amendments) of our Constituition. Many people need to reread the “freedom of religion” clause: This country is not allowed to tell U.S citizens they must be a member of the state church llike England did- however a government is not allowed to inhibit religious practices.
    The Constitution has greater authority then the municipial code of a town or city. Also
    many people make this error: “Freedom of
    Religion” and “Freedom of Worship” do not have the same definition.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Paul Lorenzo

    First thing that comes to my mind is the days we had more than 3 at a . How come nobody threatened us with a TICKET? Or what about the more than 3 people at gatherings to watch the almighty MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL games? Stephanie cannot imagine one person creating living hell for others…..What about the person who was so offended at the the site of the cross on public lands near L.A. Calif. that he sued whoever and won. THe city had to remove the cross that had bought so much to so many since the 2nd World War. One man offended by something he didn’t like. Probably vomitted nightly thinking of that cross on public lands!!!!!!!!!!!!Realize there exists those who think we who believe in Jesus, and His teachings, are stupid idiots for believing so. I wonder why is it okay for those people to be so sure there is no God when they have no more proof that there isn’t than those of us who believe there is a creator????? I only have one question for God. HOw can you say we are created in your image and then create people who are so full of hatred????

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Evelyn Simpson

    It’s a DAM!!!!! SHAME that we have come to this in the United States. And we wonder why so many awful things are happening to this country. We were a country that was built on God’s protection, and wonder why he has forgotten us. We let all of these other nationality come and corrupt us with their gathering and beleif. But, the thing we have held so precious has been taking away from us in every matter. We are not allowed to pray in public, in our schools, or even say God in our Pledge to our flag. What is wrong with this country. We might as well be living in a communist country, where people have no rights.
    But I give GOD all the Glory in my life.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Christal Stewart

    This sounds to me like their religious rights are being infringed upon. The devil is a lie, keep praising the Lord and teaching his word. God Bless.

  • http://EqualRights,Period! David

    Even though I’m not Christian, there’s nothing wrong with a person practicing a simple religious prayer at home with friends, relatives or love ones. As long as it’s “not” live sacrificing & anytype of demonic mess. There shouldn’t be no law telling a Jewish,Christian, or even Islamic that they can’t have a private prayer service at there crib.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment noel

    people seem to hate God so much and anything that has to do with Christian when amercia was at its best is when God was taught in our homes school and christian belive was fallowed in one nation under God.God bless america

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment lee eyster

    I agree with you completely! We as christians are losing more and more of our God given rights. We should have the samr rights as atheists or any other religious denomation. Keep up the good work, spread the good news of Jesus, shout it from the rooftops God Bless your bible study group

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment ieroy teske


  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mo

    Ridiculous!!! We used to hold a bibly study at a restaurant on our lunch break and nothing was ever said to us.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment KatsBrain

    This may shock most of you, but right here, typing this out, is a Pagan, Humanist, leftist who totally agrees with you that this is outrageous! I will give you a moment to absorb that, since, judging by a lot of the comments here, it seems that many of you think that any non-Christian is out to get you….

    Has it sunk in? Okay, I will continue now. If there is no noise or parking problem, or any other nuisance to the surrounding neighborhood, you should be able to host however many people you want, whenever you want, for any (legal) reason. If what the Fromms’ say is true, and parking and noise were not a problem, then I would tend to agree that someone may have some personal vendetta against them. Whether their vendetta is religious in nature or not is unclear, so I will withold judgement on that.

    Believe it or not, though, most non-Christian Americans (even atheists, who don’t happen to have a book to sell) are very firmly supportive of Christians’ right to practice their faith. Christians do not have sole grazing rights on the Constitution. It protects all of us, and Americans of all religious backgrounds have a real interest in keeping it that way. That means we should all fight to protect each other’s rights as well as our own. Otherwise, one day, as the poem goes, people will be saying, “When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.”

    Don’t make the mistake of assuming that what you read on Christian-slanted websites or watched on FOX news is 100 percent fair in representing non-Christians or non-Tea Partiers/non-Republicans. Most of us understand that freedom of religion applies to every religion, Christianity included. Now,”Rendering unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s” is indeed important, and must happen, but when “Ceaser” starts trying to take away fundamental human rights that apply to everyone, then it is time for all of us to raise our voices and demand a revision of the laws and ordinances.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment sherryl

    If there can be private gatherings regularly for partying and immoral acts on a regular basis, surely a bible study where the guests don’t leave drunk or high wouldn’t be such a threat to Orange county officials. Come on people!!!!! This is crazy!!!!!

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