A Phoenix, Ariz., Christian who has held Bible studies in his house for years, often in the face of city threats not to do so, will remain in jail for having those studies, after the state Supreme Court today refused to intervene.
Officials with the Rutherford Institute today announced the court had denied a petition for a writ of habeas corpus that had been filed.
Michael Salman is serving a 60-day jail sentence and was ordered to be fined some $12,000 for using his private residential property to hold a weekly Bible study. The city said his offenses involved city building codes, but his defenders have pointed out that those codes are for commercial properties, and the city does not apply them to football parties, social gatherings and other events that are held in homes.
A statement from the Rutherford Institute said attorneys were “are undeterred and will continue their legal efforts to challenge Michael Salman’s detention in Tents City Jail in Maricopa County as a violation of his First Amendment rights to religious freedom and assembly.”
Salman’s defenders are challenging city claims that if a person holds Bible studies or other forms of religious worship at his residence, he is required to comply with all local laws relating to an actual church that is open to the public.