Bible Group Gets Apology from the County
Reported by: Elex Michaelson
Last Update: 6/03 9:47 pm
San Diego County has apologized to a pastor and his wife who were cited and told to get a permit for a
weekly Bible study session held at their Bonita home.
In a letter dated Wednesday, the county's chief administrative officer Walter Ekard said the citation should
never have been issued and a permit is not required.
Ekard blamed the mistake on "unclear language in the zoning ordinance." He also said the county is taking
steps to improve its policies and procedures.
In April, David Jones and his wife Mary were told they could be fined $100 to $1,000 if they didn't comply with
county codes that prohibit holding religious assemblies without a major-use permit.
Five to 27 people attend the gatherings.
SAN DIEGO - Members of a San Diego prayer group say local government
is trying to regulate whether they can pray with friends in a private home.
The county's chief executive vehemently denies the claim.
The Jones family has hosted a weekly bible study at their Bonita home for
the past five years. Usually, anywhere from 5-25 or so friends join them for
dinner and bible discussion every Tuesday night.
But now they say county land use officials want to put a stop to their weekly
religious gathering, by requiring them to purchase an expensive permit.
County officials say the problem is parking. "I deeply regret that a routine code enforcement issue has
transformed into a debate over religious freedom in San Diego County," said County Chief Administrative
Officer Walter Ekard in a statement Friday afternoon.
On Good Friday, April 11, the family was surprised to find county officials at their door.
"She asked me if we sang songs, said Amen, praised the Lord or not. I don't even think I answered because I
was so taken aback" said Mary Jones.
Jones said the "insinuation" was questions over whether the services were "of religious n