Michael Salman was sentenced to 60 days in jail over home bible studies and has finally started his jail time.  Salman was sentenced to 60 days plus fined $12,180 and given three years probation for his refusal to stop Bible studies at his home.

Salman began Bible studies in his living room in 2005 and was told in 2007 that he had to stop due to code violations.  A few months later firemen broke up their Good Friday fellowship claiming  they were in violation of building codes.  20 people were eating at this Good Friday event and were threatened with arrest if they didn't disperse.  This type of harassment continued until Salman built a structure in his back yard to accommodate the Bible study group.  Firemen once again descended on the property and found 67 violations including failure to have a handicap exit ramp and failure to have exit signs.

I understand having to enforce code violations but sixty days in jail, three years probation and a fine.  I think this is going way too far.  As Mike Salman said,

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

I agree wholeheartedly with Salman.  If he were having drunken orgies that would be one thing but Bible study is something else.  What are these people in Phoenix afraid of?  Are they afraid that neighborhood will be too quiet and set a good example?

At the beginning I mentioned Salman had finally begun his jail time.  Finally, because he turned himself in earlier but officials refused to jail him at that time.  The Phoenix New Times reported that Salman had gone to the Maricopa County jail in June to voluntarily start his sentence.  The newspaper said Salman was turned away, attributing the action to city officials potentially “losing their nerve.”  Salman has been waiting for a date to report since that time.

For once I would agree with the ACLU jumping into a situation and defending someone's right to free speech and freedom to worship.  Maybe when some hate group moves to Phoenix and starts regular meetings they'll wish for the return of Mike Salman.