Posts Tagged ‘bells’

Let the Church Bells Ring

March 8, 2010

ADF has been representing Bishop Rick Painter, pastor of Christ the King Church in Phoenix, Arizona.  The City of Phoenix convicted Bishop Painter for violating the City’s noise ordinance and sentenced him to 10 days in jail (suspended) and 3 years of probation.  The City claimed that the church bell noises were unnecessary and disturbing even though the noise ordinance allows louder noises than the church bells – things like ice cream trucks and loudspeakers.

And if convicting Bishop Painter for ringing church bells was not enough, the City of Phoenix threatened St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish with prosecution for ringing its church bells.  Shortly after Bishop Painter’s conviction, two Phoenix police officers and two City Prosecutors visited St. mark in response to a neighbor’s complaint.

ADF appealed Bishop Painter’s conviction and also filed a federal lawsuit against the City on behalf of a group of churches, including Christ the King Cathedral, St. Mark, and First Christian Church in Phoenix.  On March 4th, 2010 the federal court issued an injunction prohibiting the City from enforcing its noise ordinance against “sound generated in the course of religious expression.”

This is a great win.  No pastor should ever be sentenced to jail for ringing church bells.  Churches have been ringing church bells for centuries and, as far as we can tell, this is the first time a pastor has ever been sentenced to jail for ringing church bells.

The federal court recognized the absurdity of the City’s actions and recognized that the noise ordinance was unconstitutional.  Let the church bells ring!