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Fla. city official's threat called 'war on Jesus'

Discussion in 'News & Current Events' started by Revmitchell, Mar 13, 2015.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell Well-Known Member

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    LAKE WORTH, Fla. (BP) -- A south Florida church has received notice from local officials that it must obtain a business license or shut down, even though federal and local laws exempt churches from obtaining such licenses.


    Common Ground Church, which has been threatened by city officials, held a prayer rally for local government on the steps of Lake Worth, Fla., City Hall March 3.
    Common Ground Church photo
    "That's a violation of the First Amendment, but number two, it's a violation of their own code," Liberty Counsel chairman and founder Mat Staver said, "because churches [in Lake Worth, Fla.] are not required to get business licenses."
    Common Ground Church was told by Lake Worth city officials that it would have to cease its activities and pay up to $500 per day in fines if it did not obtain a business license by March 2, Staver told Baptist Press. Since that time, the city has opted not to enforce its demand, saying instead that the church, which meets in a coffee bar owned by the pastor, must obtain only a "use license" that regulates the number of people permitted to gather.

    The city still claims Common Ground technically needs a business license, Staver said. He noted the Liberty Counsel will file a lawsuit if Lake Worth tries once again to enforce its policy. But even the use license requirement represents inequitable treatment of the Florida Baptist Convention church plant, he said.

    "If you're running a coffee bar, there's no limit on the number of people in Lake Worth," Staver said. "If you're watching Monday Night Football in the coffee bar, there's no limit. But if someone stands up, reads the Bible and prays, now the city of Lake Worth wants to put a limit on the number of people that can participate in worship. That's not only unconstitutional, but it violates their local code."

    Pastor Mike Olive called the city's treatment of the congregation "a war on Jesus."

    http://www.bpnews.net/44367/fla-city-officials-threat-called-war-on-jesus
     
  2. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    Can't tell what the real issue here in this poorly written piece. They make mention of some city code requiring a business license, but don't reference it or give the wording of the code.

    Obviously statements like "If you're running a coffee bar, there's no limit on the number of people in Lake Worth" are untrue. Any business establishment like a coffee bar has a maximum occupancy. You can't just pack unlimited people into a building.
     
  3. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member

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    .........................................
     
    #3 kyredneck, Mar 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2015
  4. targus

    targus New Member

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  5. kyredneck

    kyredneck Well-Known Member

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    OK, I'll cease. Trying to give him every opportunity to clarify before I articulate my conclusion.
     
  6. Salty

    Salty 20,000 Posts Club
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    If anything - it would also come under fire codes.
     
  7. matt wade

    matt wade Well-Known Member

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    Along the same lines, go and start a work to build a new church building. I guarantee you need to file permits, build out necessary parking spaces, etc.

    By the reasoning of the pastor in this story, that would be an infringement on the first amendment.
     
  8. go2church

    go2church Active Member

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    Is this a coffe bar or a church? It sounds like the city is wanting to license the coffe bar part, couldn't really tell from article.
     
  9. go2church

    go2church Active Member

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    Re-reading article. It still isn't exactly clear, what is included in the business license? I'm not sure. Being tax exempt doesn't mean you are exempt from all fees, they sent the same letter to the First Presbyterian church which is over 100 years old, so it's not a new business type thing.
     
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