Phoenix Man Faces Jail Time for Home Bible Studies

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A Phoenix man is facing 60 days in jail for holding Bible studies in his home.

In addition to two months in jail, Michael Salman has been ordered to pay more than $12,000 in fines and three years of probation, all for using his private home to host weekly religious meetings.

The Phoenix city prosecutor's office said he violated city building codes by hosting a regular gathering in his home.

The battle between the Salman family and the city has been going on for about five years. In the summer of 2009, nearly a dozen police, along with city inspectors, raided their home.

The Salman's say the city is attacking their religious freedom.

"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,'" Suzanne Salman said.

Salman said hosting weekly Bible studies is the same as anyone else hosting weekly poker games.

But Arizona courts have consistently ruled against him. They declared he was running a church out of a private dwelling and said the city did not violate his constitutional rights to religious freedom.

--Originally aired July 9, 2012.

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