A Phoenix, Arizona man may be going to jail for 60 days and from where he is standing, his only crime is loving God and gathering together with others who also love god.
Michael Salman does not only have to worry about spending two months in jail, but he also has to worry about more than $12,000 in fines and three years of probation which a judge has ordered, all because he has insisted on using his home for weekly bible study and religious meetings.
What some might call weekly meetings, others may call church and that is the problem that Salman is facing. The Phoenix city prosecutor’s office charges that Salman violated city building codes by having a regular gathering in his home.
It has been five years since Salman has been fighting the city’s charges against him. The escalation began in 2009 when his home was raided by the police and city inspectors.
Salman has always insisted that he is only exercising his religious freedom and the city is attacking him for that.
His wife, Suzanne Salman said, “We want to stand for not only our beliefs but for every believer in Phoenix that wants to host a Bible study in their home, that they can do it without fear of the city coming in and saying, ‘No, this is no longer just your home. This needs to become a church.’”
Salman has likened his weekly Bible studies to weekly poker games but Arizona courts have ruled against him over and over. He is charged with running a church out of a private dwelling.