MCSO: No, Michael Salman's "Right to Hold Bible Studies in Jail" Wasn't Violated
See also: Michael Salman wants to build a church in his backyard
See also: Michael Salman is not in jail for having Bible studies in his home
See also: Michael Salman claims his "right to hold Bible studies in jail" was violated
Not only does the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office say ex-gang member/Pastor Michael Salman's "right to hold Bible studies in jail" isn't being violated, the Sheriff's Office didn't even know this was a complaint until we told them about it.
Salman's attorneys from the Rutherford Institute issued a "warning" to Sheriff Joe Arpaio, claiming Salman -- who's currently serving a 60-day jail sentence in Tent City after he was found guilty of 67 misdemeanors -- was threatened with punishment for not working on Sundays, and claimed jail staff broke up Salman's Bible studies.
Believe it or not, it sounds like Salman's just looking for reasons to shout about religious persecution again.
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"Since being detained in the Tents Jail [sic], Mr. Salman has begun leading Bible studies for and with his fellow inmates," the letter to Arpaio says. "On a recent night, the number of attendees grew to more than 20 men, causing the guards to direct them inside to a day room. However, after a short time, the group was directed to disperse by the guards and locked down."
MCSO Sergeant Brandon Jones tells New Times that he hasn't received a full report from the jail captain on what happened, but says the only reason this meeting would've been broken up -- aside from some sort of rowdiness -- is if the tents went on lock-down, which appears to be the case based on the letter from Salman's attorneys.
Jones says lock-downs often occur when there's some sort of security threat, and not only was jail staff not trying to shut down Salman's Bible studies, it was actually facilitating them in an air-conditioned room.
Again, Jones says Salman "hasn't mentioned anything about [any issues]," so the letter we forwarded to him was the first anyone had heard about it.
As for the job situation, the attorneys' "sources" relayed to them that jail staff had told Salman he would be tossed "in the hole" if he failed to show up to work.
Salman's refusing to go to work on Sunday due to his religious beliefs, although the attorneys state that they were "able to clear up this particular matter."
The Sheriff's Office cleared that one up for us pretty quickly. Everyone gets a job; just about everyone is told they're going to "the hole" if they're not going to work.
Jones says after Salman explained why he was refusing to go to work, his job assignment was changed so he doesn't have to work on Sundays.
And that busts another myth that Salman's passed along.
As Salman cried that he was going to jail just because he was trying to share the Bible with some friends, places like Fox News bought into his story in its entirety.
There's a reason Salman's in jail, and it's not because government officials, judges, or anyone else hates Salman's right to religious freedom.
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