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California City Demands Churches STOP Providing Counseling and Teaching Music!

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The city of Palo Alto, California is cracking down on churches that are doing anything other than worship.

Therapist Jill Cooper, who works out of The First Baptist Church, counsels teenagers struggling with thoughts of suicide. The church has been told all its tenants have to get out in a few weeks, or face severe fines. Jill must go says the city!

Jill received a letter from the city last week informing her that she has until Sept. 30 to leave.

California City Demands Churches STOP Providing Counseling and Teaching Music!

 

The First Baptist Church has been on the same street corner in Palo Alto, serving the poor and needy, for 125 years.

After a brief, informal meeting with city code enforcement officers earlier this year, Pastor Rick Mixon suddenly got a sternly worded letter from the city. They told him he must cease all non-religious activities.  In addition, his tenants, which include a music school, a psychologist, and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, must get out or face severe fines.

The city is blaming zoning laws.

CBS San Francisco reports:

The First Baptist Church has been on the same street corner in Palo Alto, serving the poor and needy, for 125 years.

But after a brief, informal meeting with city code enforcement officers earlier this year, Pastor Rick Mixon suddenly got a sternly worded letter from the city, telling him he must cease all non-religious activities, and that his tenants, which include a music school, a psychologist, and the Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, to get out by August 17 or face severe fines.

Mixon said, “In order to operate here, to keep it looking good, looking nice in a nice neighborhood, we need to rent the space. It represents about a third of our budget right now.”

For years, the church has rented the space on the second floor to music classes, choirs, dance clubs, and hosted dinners and weddings.

The problem is that the neighborhood is only zoned for residential use.

The neighborhood has been “only zoned for residential use” for decades so this stinks to high heaven. This is a direct attack on Christianity and religion.

One neighbor was quoted: “I live around the corner from the church. They are a good neighbor and I don’t see any issues with traffic or parking.”

Another stated: “I live a block from the church, and have never been inconvenienced or disturbed by the activities that apparently require enforcement. ”

Still another: “Just to make sure I am reading this right: The city of Palo Alto, apparently egged on by residents of this neighborhood, is cracking down on singing children and youth counseling?”

Pastor Mixon said that what happens in a church is not what just happens on Sunday mornings.

He states that the church will lose about $120,000 from its budget. It will likely have to shut down.

Mixon said, “So it’s a different understanding of church in 2017. So there’s this bigger issue the city has to come to grips with. Otherwise they’re going to be putting every church in Palo Alto out of business.”

Jill Cooper pays about $1,400 a month for her office. That rent is well under market. It helps keep her care affordable. When she is gone, suicidal teens will suffer the consequences of government over-reach.

The city said in a statement, “Our goal is to balance neighborhood concerns with our zoning laws, and to find a solution that works for everybody. We are asking the Church to apply for appropriate permits where possible, and to help relocate those activities that aren’t allowed in residential neighborhoods.”

Insanity!

 

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About Author

Scott Osborn is a Writer, Preacher, Political activist, as well as the Social Media Director for the TV Comedy Show, The Flipside with Michael Loftus. Scott hosts several radio shows, including the wildly popular “Conover U” starring Rodney Lee & the Preacher..

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