In 2009 Rick Painter, Bishop of the Phoenix, Cathedral of Christ the King was charged with disturbing the peace and given a 10-day suspended jail sentence and three years probation for two counts. His crime – he caused the church’s bells to ring 13 times a day. St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish of Phoenix and First Christian Church of Phoenix joined Christ the King and sued in federal court to over turn the ruling. Last week Judge Susan Bolton ruled that Phoenix could not prevent the church from tolling its bells because the bell ringing is “sound generated in the course of religious expression.” Translation: when the church rings it’s bells it is a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Given the severe budget deficit Phoenix now has, I wonder how much time and money the Phoenix sound police has spent to date protecting the public from church bells? Will Phoenix waste more precious resources by appealing the decision?