Pastor Jailed Over Noisy Church Services

Neighbors complained in South Carolina
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 13, 2014 9:35 AM CDT
Pastor Jailed Over Noisy Church Services
Pastor Johnnie Clark.   (Richland County Detention Center)

A pastor in Columbia, SC, is spending two weeks in jail because neighbors complained that his church services were too loud, reports WLTX. Johnnie Clark's Rehoboth United Assemblies Church has been around for 25 years, but recent downtown development has led to conflict with neighbors in newly built homes nearby, explains the State. Those neighbors say worshipers are singing, dancing, shouting, and drumming too loudly for their tastes, and police have issued dozens of tickets to the church for violating noise ordinances.

The church, for example, is supposed to keep things hush-hush between the hours of 8pm and 8am, but one of its services start at 7:30pm. "Does that mean we only have 30 minutes to worship?" asks Clark's wife, Harriet. "I can't believe it, jail time, for serving God." Her husband ended up in court this week and was convicted after a three-day trial of "unlawful sound amplification." Harriet Clark says the church will look into sound-proofing the church, if it can afford it. (Read more Johnnie Clark stories.)

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