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News Link • Religion: Unregistered Churches

San Juan Capistrano family fined for holding Bible study in home

A San Juan Capistrano family has been fined for holding regular Bible studies in their home in violation of the city's zoning code. A religious legal nonprofit group has taken up the family's cause, calling it a case of religious freedom. The city of San Juan Capistrano has fined Charles and Stephanie Fromm $300 for their regular Bible study groups, according to a statement from the Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute. The couple appealed the fine and was told subsequent fines would be enhanced if they continued holding the study group without a conditional use permit -- a specialized permit allowing the activity under prescribed conditions, according to the statement. City spokeswoman Cathy Salcedo declined to be interviewed by The Times. But in a brief email, she was emphatic the city does not prohibit home Bible studies. Instead, the Fromms' case, she wrote, is about when a residential area has been transformed into a place where people regularly assemble.

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