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 Apparently Salman felt that his rights to worship as he chose superseded his neighbors’ rights to privacy and to enjoy their homes in peace and quiet, or to protect their property values.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?

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32 Comments on Take Off The Blinders

  1. Robert says:

    Right-On Nick. You hit the nail on the head… IMO, this is the number one cause of the divisiveness we sadly have in our country today. So much b/s being spread around. Once upon a time, we could have legitimate disagreement but still have intelligent discussion and debate about real issues based on the facts. Nowadays, so many people believe whatever comes up on their computer screens, and unbelievably it bleeds over to our elected representatives. Propaganda has never seen better days… Great post.

  2. Pat Wilson says:

    Pull the lid back on most of these stories and that’s what you find. Thanks for telling it like it is Bad Nick.

  3. Lisa J. says:

    My dad was a preacher and put on a face for the community that would have you believe he was God’s right hand. But behind closed doors he was a drunk who beat his wife and kids, molested both of his daughters, and drove my brother to suicide. I’ve never set foot in a church since and never will. I don’t need a building or somebody at a pulpit to tell me how to worship.

  4. Ken Woodbury says:

    Yes, Nick, drink the Kool Aid. The devil stirs it and Obama pours it. People like you will wake up some day and wonder what happened to the world we were raised in.

  5. Lynn Howell says:

    Yeah he sounds real religious to me!

  6. Michael Rivera says:

    I live in the Phoenix area and followed this story. At first I sympathized with this guy but it turns out he’s nothing but a conman scamming the system. But people still believe all the stories about how bad he’s been abused by the city.

  7. Malia Lane says:

    This does not belong in “Bad Nick” blog – nothing even remotely bad about your sharing this. It’s good, simple truth with supporting facts, and not emotional hype – plus, as usual, very well written. There are so many examples of this kind of crap, I really enjoyed your slant on this one!

  8. Wendy T. says:

    Yes it IS religious persecution! You are losing sight of the real issue here. This country lives by the separation of church and state. Therefor the state (government) has NO authority to try to zone, control, or dictate what this man does or how he choses to worship. What’s next, saying Catholics can’t hold mass or Jews can’t have synagogs? Read the Constitution!

  9. Jim@HiTek says:

    Just more proof that ALL religions are corrupt and should be abolished for the silliness they are. Pretend friends for grown ups? Really? In this day in age?

    Folks can pretend all they want, but giving money to these charlatans is like throwing it in a hole in the ground. And by ‘these’ I mean ALL religious leaders, of ALL religions.

    Tax exempt? Why? Do unicorns get tax exemption too?

  10. Jim@HiTek says:

    BTW, Nick, excellent post!!!

  11. Steve says:

    All preachers in my long life experience, are con-men. Some have been conned and try to convince others to do good. Most are doing the conning. All gods are man-made constructs. Superstition and mind control. Nothing more. I don’t need a god to be a good and moral individual.
    Try not to think for yourself. It’s god’s will. Pray for me. Dog bless you.

  12. Rick Osgood says:

    So if somebody wants to rape women or molest kids or burn puppy dogs it’s okay with youWendy, as long as that’s how they choose to worship their god?

  13. Rick Stevens says:

    Thank you for the facts, Nick.

    I think you could have a complete “Bad Nick” series on how Fox News provides partial truths to give their followers “news” to satisfy their particular agenda. A friend of mine suggests we’ve lost the power of “critical thinking” in this country. I think we either lack or ignore the “common sense” rule. If something just doesn’t seem to make sense – like a police force arresting a “Christian” – then there’s a very good chance it may not be completely true, and you need to investigate.

    What is one’s agenda or mindset that would read the facts you’ve presented, Nick, and come away thinking the Constitution has been violated and that there are powerful figures in the country today who would love to do harm to Christians? Probably they want to return to a time when blacks knew their place, homosexuals didn’t exist, and people who didn’t share the same religious belief were just plain out of luck.

    I thank God there are people that don’t drink the Fox News Kool-Aid on a daily basis. I really see this at the heart of what’s wrong in this country. Folks, we’re not going back in time to a point where ignorance reigned.

  14. Sandy Stoltz says:

    Wake up Wendy. This guy is a thief and a conman who is using “religion” as his excuse for stealing and please don’t forget he doesn’t want to pay taxes either. But then again, you can’t fix “stupid” so think what you will.

  15. Gina says:

    I am trying to think if I was his neighbor..Parking, Noise and Traffic. I live in the city, and I have at most 4 spots (parking slanted). If they come to his home “church” two by two, you would have 40 cars at this house in a residential neighborhood? What the heck is he thinking? And where are 80 people going to the bathroom after church service? 40 people slamming doors and walking to the guys house, 80 people talking in his yard etc, several times a week? This has got to be breaking every kind of neighborhood code! This boggles the mind that he thought he could get a way with it. The neighbors probably can’t get out of their driveway when this illegal church lets out either!

  16. Mike says:

    Thanks Nick:
    I left the ministry, because of some of the very issues this case brings out. This can destroy the very faith we try to Live by. Most ledgitimate ministers are sincere and provide a much needed service to to us. we must always keep our eyes and faith on Gods love and not mans foolishness. The media will preach to it’s choir, but should be more careful in their research. I watch Fox News, and appreciate their attempt to balance the news, but can’t excuse the lack of indepth coverage.
    I hope Steve and Jim can rekindle their faith in the creator that loves them.

  17. Right on, Nick. There are many deductions taken, many privileges claimed, and way too many questionable activities done in the name of God. He must often look down and shake his head.

  18. concerned in Florida says:

    It would appear that two disciples of Michael Salman have identified themselves. Wendy T and Ken Woodbury are the kind of people I would not want to live near. I wonder how soon they will start their own “church/tax shelter” and rip off medicare?

  19. Mark Krieger says:

    Sounds to me like instead of targeting the Tea Party and other such groups the IRS should take a long hard look at churches and those who call themselves preachers. Drive through any town in America and you will see elaborate churches that cost 10 or 20 times what the houses in that area do and they don’t pay one penny in taxes. God doesn’t need cathedrals he wold prefer that money be spent on good works for the needy. But its all about greed and ego on the part of those running the churches. Last Christmas we went to services with friends at their huge church in Minnesota that had stained glass windows, new carpeting, a sound system that would put a rock band to shame and all kinds of other fancy appointments. The preacher was begging for money to build a covered heated garage for him and his staff, and for money to self-publish his “testament” and people were throwing $20 and $50 bills into the collection plates. But just down the street a family had lost their home to a fire and no mention was made to help them out.

  20. Sandy H. says:

    All I have to say is that more wars have been fought, more lives ruined, and more injustice done under the guise of religion than anything in all of history. I was raised a Christian, but that doesn’t mean everything, or even most things, that people do in the name of God are good. Its people like this who turned me away from organized religion.

  21. fossildreamer john says:

    Wendy, Here’s how it works
    . OH FORGET IT, IF YOU CAN’T UNDERSTAND NICK’S VIEW POINT, I WON’T EVEN TRY TO EXPLAIN MY VIEW’S

  22. Jarhead 1 says:

    Exactly, Mark. I bet this clown in Phoenix never spent a penny to help anybody in need. It’s all about him just like with most of them. But as Nick said, people jump on the bandwagon without questioning the source because they are too lazy to do any research or don’t want their minds muddled with facts that don’t agree with their preconceived beliefs.

  23. Janet says:

    Two things: Thank you for validating what I have felt for a long time. Started out years ago trying to reply to all the junk I received and tell people that what they were forwarding wasn’t even true or had been circulating the internet for years. Gave up on that.
    Also, years ago I spent some time working for three different church offices. The things I learned there took me so far away from ever wanting to be part of a “formal” church. The corruption, lies, deceit, etc made me realize that they are no better than the total sum of the rest of the planet. They are not blessed, nor special.
    You speak the truth, you give facts. I read the responses to your blog and shake my head that a few apparently just can’t read, or absorb what they’ve read…….they missed the whole point. Very scary to me that some of these people exist out there.
    Keep up the good works…..much appreciated!

  24. Jim Walter says:

    Wow, me thinks most of you are missing what I consider the main point of this blog… the bias of Fox News. Conservatives think all of media except Fox is liberal and biased. Well, Fox is right wing and biased, hence the “arrested for preaching the bible”, without giving the full story. The guy is breaking the law, and it doesn’t matter if he’s having bible classes or pagan rituals. Good eye-opening post Nick.

  25. Mike says:

    Jim. Yes Fox is biased to the right, just as “MSNBC, Media Matters , etc are biased to the left. I just prefer the right than left. That’s the great thing about our country and how we balance things. They both get it wrong often.

  26. Jim@HiTek says:

    Would have to disagree with part of your post, Mike. If you’re able to watch ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN news all on the same night, you’ll notice that they all tell the story about the same, with coloring right or left. But the essentials of the story are correct and more often then not, true. With Faux News, that is often not the case. Their main purpose seems to be nothing more then inciting furor for conservative causes amongst the uneducated masses. News is suppose to be un- or moderately- biased. With the comedy show Fox News, aka Fake News, it’s anything but.

  27. Mike says:

    Jim
    I will agree with some of your post, but take exception to ,” the uneducated masses”. I honestly don’t think they watch Fox News on a regular basis. I will not get sucked into an exchange with you on the social income makeup of news listeners. Lets just agree to disagree and do our best to individually help those we come in contact with have a better day.
    Mike

  28. Jim@HiTek says:

    Agreed. I symbolically remove the offending characterization. Snip.

  29. Sal & Bonnie says:

    Hi Guy’s : First I agreed to what you said about him , next would
    like to Wish Terry a Happy Birthday and many more . God Bless.

  30. Linda in NE says:

    Good post, Nick. Just because this guy claims to have a church in his backyard doesn’t really make it so and I’m sure glad I’m not his neighbor.

    I was never indoctrinated as a child and grew up pretty free of religion. I read all the Sunday School leaflets my cousins brought home and grew up thinking anybody can talk to God so why would I need to go to a church (and help pay for its upkeep) and have a minister or priest act as a middle man (and help pay him for doing so)? As an adult who read history I soon learned that religion is one of the main reasons for bloodshed around the world down through history. Attending church is a nice cozy feeling, everyone is so friendly and welcoming, but I know deep down that if I stand between any of those nice, friendly people and the almighty dollar they will trample me to get to it. So needless to say I’m not a church goer and talk to God in my own way…..no interpretation needed, thank you.

  31. Jerry says:

    Happy Birthday Terry! I always enjoy reading how much Nick cares
    for you. You make a great pair.
    Regarding the “news” on TV, etc. Don’t you all know it is controlled by the big money (the likes of those running the FED).
    They tell us what they want us to hear for their bosses benefit
    Who by the way also run the country regardless of who is in office.
    Personal bad experiences with various “churches” and religious groups doesn’t all add up to a bad God. The one true Church includes believers that are real Christians.
    There are many local churches that do represent God properly and follow His ways and are not after your money. I know because I attend one. Find one and learn the truth.

  32. Sharon Ortloff says:

    I appreciate all the work you put in to verify stories like this. I question people who only see 1 sentence and not the paragraph. Bravo Nick. Also a very Happy Birthday to Miz Terry!

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