In his rebuttal article, Dixon states that “Salman represents the Lord Jesus Christ.” This may be true, but I do not believe that Jesus would engage in such practices as having his flock play loud music to the point of disturbing the peace, block driveways, impersonate a police officer as part his pastoral duties and go on to a neighbor’s property and intimidate the person to the point to where they feel compelled to obtain a restraining order. In short, being a pastor does not give one the license to act irresponsibly towards one’s neighbors. If Mr. Salman were operating a day care center out of his home and Salman and his clientele were engaging in the same alleged behaviors, the neighbors would have the same concerns. This case is not about curtailing religious worship, this is about preserving some level of tranquility in a neighborhood, regardless of the activity.
Contrary to what Mr. Dixon may write, I never stated that people should be seeking relief, on either side, with the courts or any other governmental agency. Salman’s city councilman wanted to informally mediate between the neighbors and the church. Would it have hurt either side to attempt to privately work out their differences? Regardless, I was very clear on the point of not involving the government when I previously wrote “Clearly, a judge will ultimately decide this issue. In this era of judge made law, all of us may lose a lot more when this issue is finally adjudicated than either Salman or his neighbors.”
Mr. Dixon is clearly correct when he states that there are forces in the world that want to eliminate the right of Christians to freely practice their religion. I just don’t believe that the Salman case is the appropriate example to hang one’s hat on. To chase this windmill could result in the loss of credibility for one’s cause.
If Salman v. Phoenix ever makes it into the courts, a judge may decide what constitutes appropriate religious worship. And if that does not frighten the proverbial cross off of your local church building, then you better check your pulse for signs of life
If Mr. Dixon and Pastor Salman dispute the facts, as I have presented them, and want a venue to further tell their side of the story, I will be happy to give them airtime on my radio show.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.