County Official Defends Home Bible Study Citation
County Official Claims Home Bible Study Citation Was Not An Attack On Religious Activity
Last Updated: 1483 days ago
A local pastor is outraged because he says the county wants to shut down his Bible study group, but the county says he has it all wrong.Thursday, for the first time, a San Diego County official sat down with 10News, to respond to the allegations.The story of pastor David Jones' claims against the county has grabbed national attention.The county official said Jones has got it all wrong and tried to explain the curious line of questioning the county had for the pastor.Jones said he has been hosting weekly Bible studies in his Bonita home for the past five years, but it wasn't until last month that someone complained about the sessions and county code enforcement went out to investigate.Every Tuesday night about 15 people drive to Jones Bonita home to eat dinner and discuss the Bible. They usually park on Jones' property, he said, but sometimes that parking spills out into the cul-de-sac.Last month, someone filed a complaint about the number of cars.A county code enforcement officer visited the house and asked Jones' wife about the weekly Bible studies."She said, 'Do you say amen?' and my wife said, 'Well, yes,'" Jones recalled."And she said, 'Do you say praise the Lord? she said, 'Well, yes but what does that have to with it?'" Jones said.10News asked the county official about the officer's line of questioning."Did the officer actually do that? Is that part of the requirements to ask those questions?" Reporter Joe Little asked."Obviously, I wasn't there, so I can't tell you exactly what was said. However, what our officer was trying to do is establish what the use is so that we know what regulations to actually utilize," explained Chandra Wallar of the county's land use and environment group.Wallar said it's the officers job to determine what kind of event is hosted at Jones house to decide what part of county code the event falls under."The Bible studies are one that's probably in a very gray area," Waller said.That gray area may be causing the problem. Wallar said the county only cares about how any event impacts the surrounding neighborhood."We want to make sure -- whether they're on a public road or a private road -- that they're parking safely; that we can get fire trucks in; that we can get police vehicles in," Waller said.Jones' attorneys told 10News it sounds like the county is backing away from their original warning.In April, Jones received a written warning for "unlawful use of land" and was ordered to stop hosting his "religious assemblies.""They can stop religious activities in the courthouses and that but they're trying to stop prayer in my house," Jones complained."We honestly don't care what people do inside their homes. That's their business. That's their private right," Wallar said.