LAKE WORTH, Fla. (BP, TAB) — South Florida’s Common Ground Church, Lake Worth, has received notice from local officials that it must obtain a business license or shut down, even though federal and local laws exempt churches from obtaining such licenses. Liberty Counsel chairman and founder Mat Staver said, “That’s a violation of the First Amendment, but number two, it’s a violation of their own code because churches [in Lake Worth, Fla.] are not required to get business licenses.” The church, which meets in a coffee bar owned by the pastor, was told that it would have to cease its activities and pay up to $500 per day in fines if it did not obtain a business license by March 2, Staver said. The city has not enforced its policy, but claims Common Ground needs a business license. Pastor Mike Olive called the city’s treatment of the congregation “a war on Jesus.”
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