Church Bells vs. Noise Limits in Phoenix

Sunday, September 06, 2009
Bishop Rick Painter

Three churches in Phoenix are suing the city over its anti-noise ordinance that has prevented clergy from ringing church bells. At first the churches defied the local law by ringing the bells, some as often as every hour on the hour from 8 am to 8 pm. But that got the local bishop, Rick Painter, into legal trouble, and he wound up receiving three years’ probation and a suspended 10-day jail sentence. Christ the King Church officials say they stopped ringing their bells “for fear of future prosecution.” That church, along with St. Mark’s Catholic Church and the First Christian Church, filed a lawsuit claiming the city is violating the churches’ constitutional rights by denying an aspect of their religious practice. Attorneys for the churches point out that the noise regulation includes an exemption for ice cream trucks, but not churches.

-Noel Brinkerhoff
Churches Sue Phoenix for Right to Ring Bells (by Jamie Ross, Courthouse News Service)
St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish Phoenix, et al v. City of Phoenix (U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona) (PDF)


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