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BIBLE BUST!
The David and Diane Reiter Story.


 Every week, nine to 15 women would gather at Diane Reiter's Denver home for Bible study, prayer and dinner. The meetings were hardly disruptive as there was no loud music, speeches or other noise. Yet in October 1998 the Denver zoning administration served Reiter a cease-and-desist order citing a municipal ordinance which prohibits more than one "prayer meeting" a month in a private home.

Reiter and her husband David, an assistant pastor with a nondenominational ministry, were shocked by the order. The Bible meetings were simply a private affair organized by Reiter that had nothing to do with her husband's ministry work. Reiter's guests typically parked 10 cars, all legally, on the street. The couple had received a couple of complaints about the parking but it hardly seemed to constitute a neighborhood nuisance. Kent Strapko of the Denver zoning administration says that such once-a-month rules are issued after neighbors complain about parking and noise, and can apply to any activity from book club meetings to poker games.

But when the Reiters appealed the cease-and-desist order to the zoning board of appeals, the director of the board, Janice Tilden, told the Reiters that the problem wasn't the cars, it was the fact that they were holding a prayer meeting. The Reiters' attorney, Jay Sekulow, says that Tilden told the couple that had Reiter been holding a book club meeting, then it would probably have been "no problem."

The Reiters have filed a lawsuit in federal court charging the city of Denver with violating their constitutional rights to religious freedom. Says Sekulow, "The idea that a zoning authority can restrict the number of Bible studies at a private home is incredible."
Source: American Center for Law and Justice

 

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