People should take a minute or two to look behind the Facebook posts and forwarded e-mails to actually learn what is really going on before they blindly accept whatever somebody tells them, and especially if they then forward it on themselves. It would reduce the amount of junk floating around on the internet, and maybe help keep you from looking like a fool.
I seldom open forwarded e-mails, and then only if they come from people I know and trust. But lately I’ve had a dozen or more from people wanting Bad Nick to comment on the case of poor Michael Salman, of Phoenix, Arizona, who Fox News portrayed as an oppressed man persecuted for being a Christian.
According to the story making the rounds, police raided Salman’s home and arrested him simply for holding a Bible study in his home, and he was sentenced to 60 days in jail. What a travesty! Civil libertarians are up in arms and right wingers are saying this is one more example of how the Obama administration is destroying our American way of life. Some are saying that in America today, it’s okay to have a poker party or a Tupperware party, but not to worship God.
Well, maybe not. Let’s look at the facts. Salman was not arrested for having a small Bible study at his home. He was arrested for 67 misdemeanors for building code violations related to holding “religious” services in a separate building on his property, a structure that he originally claimed was going to be a garage, and then a game room. A structure that is not zoned for a church, that violated city building codes, and where he regularly had as many as 80 people come for his “Bible” studies several times a week. (When was the last time you had 80 people at a poker party?)
All of this in a residential neighborhood. Apparently Salman felt that his rights to worship as he chose superseded his neighbors’ rights to privacy and to enjoy their homes in peace and quiet, or to protect their property values.
But let’s look just a little deeper at all this. Apparently Michal Salman isn’t just a religious person trying to love the Lord and share the word, who maybe got a little overzealous in his method of worship. One who, by the way, does not pay taxes on his home because it is a “church.” So when it comes to paying taxes, it’s a church, but when he gets rousted for holding church services in a building not zoned for it, he’s only having a simple Bible study in his house.
According to an article in the New Times in Phoenix, Salman has a criminal record that included gang involvement and serving time in prison for a drive by shooting, in which he was convicted of firing several shots into a house. I guess with that kind of background, thumbing your nose at local zoning ordinances designed to protect lives and property values is no big deal.
The New Times also reported that in 1994, Salman filed paperwork claiming that due to his religious beliefs, he did need to obey the law in the United States.
All this took place last year, but Michael Salman, the reformed gang member and ex-con turned preacher, apparently still has problems obeying the law. Earlier this year he pled guilty to felony theft and forgery charges for defrauding AHCCCS, the state’s Medicaid program, out of over $73,000 for medical coverage for himself, his wife, and children. As part of the sentence, the New Times reported that Salman ponied up $73,800 to reimburse the state.
I think I’m going to form my own mobile church. One in which I can pull up to a fuel island and top off my motorhome’s tank and not pay for it, because I’m not subject to silly laws like stealing.
Still, I know there are people who will ignore the facts and keep forwarding the same crap, because Glen Beck said this guy is a victim. And even though this was a local issue in Phoenix, it’s obviously Obama’s fault. After all, if it’s on the internet it must be true, right?
Tags: Bible study, Civil libertarians, drive by shooting, Facebook posts, gang member, Glen Beck, Michael Salman. Fox news, Obama administration, oppressed Christians, Phoenix New Times, welfare fraud, zoning violations