A family in Pennsylvania has been ordered by its town to stop hosting Bible studies on their private farm.
The Sewickley Heights Borough have accused Scott and Terri Fetterolf of using their 35-acre farm as a place of worship, a place of assembly, and as a commercial venue, according to Todd Starnes.
In October 2017, they were served a cease-and-desist order. Recently, the Independence Law Center filed a federal lawsuit against the town alleging that it has violated the U.S. Constitution.
“The borough has no business overseeing a group of people reading and discussing a book together on private property – even if that book is the Bible,” attorney Randall Wenger said in a statement.
The Fetterolfs said they were threatened with $500 a day fines plus court costs for conducting Bible studies at their home, as well as for having meetings where religious songs were sung, and including hosting religious retreats for church leaders, seminary students, and for holding religious fundraisers.
“Government should not target religious activities for punishment, particularly when similar secular activities are permitted,” attorney Jeremy Samek said. “In America, no government can categorically ban people from assembling to worship on one’s property.”
The lawsuit states that while the town submitted the cease-and-desist order to the Fetterolfs, Sewickley Heights Borough at the same time permitted political rallies and a Harry Potter event to take place.
The lawsuit accuses the municipal government leaders of violating religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and equal protection.
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