Before May of this year, Christ the King Church in Phoenix, Arizona, rang its church bells every hour on the hour from 8 am to 8 pm seven days a week.  Since June, however, the bells have tolled a lot less.  The church’s  bishop, Rick Painter, was convicted in June on two counts of creating “an unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise.”  The judge suspended the sentence of ten days in jail and three years’ probation.

The City of Phoenix Prosecutor’s Office charged Rick Painter with 2 counts of a Phoenix City Code Violation of § 23-12 for creating “an unreasonably loud, disturbing and unnecessary noise.” The listed dates of violation are March 16, 2008 and March 26, 2008. The charges were a result of neighborhood complaints of the church bells ringing every half hour on the March 16th date of violation and hourly on the March 26th date of violation.At all times, the neighbors complained the bells were ringing at a high volume. Though the complaints list a single date, we do that for legal reasons, but the neighbors testified the ringing was ongoing and continues to this day.

See TV channel for more, including a video interview of the bishop.

Christ the King and two other Phoenix churches — have filed suit in federal court against the city for violating its First Amendment right to practice its religion unfettered. They argue that Phoenix’s noise ordinance has an exception for ice-cream trucks. They’re asking for the same treatment.

Channel 15 bought a noise meter from Radio Shack and tested the noise levels at three locations near the church and found

Each time the levels came in lower than the traffic noise in the area. Several times our meter indicated that it was “lo”, too low to even register on our device.