07/09/2012 United States (The Christian Post) - Michael Salman, the pastor from Phoenix who was fined and sentenced to jail for holding Bible studies in his home, started his 60-day jail sentence at 10 a.m. today.
The preacher asked for prayers as he left his wife and six kids to report to Maricopa County Jail.
"I have spent time with my family this morning praying, crying and saying our goodbye. My heart is broken, but glory to God," Salman wrote on his Facebook page this morning. "Our God wil take care of us and my family. Please pray for us! Until God opens the prison's door, I will be with you all in prayer and spirit."
Salman was found guilty of code violations for hosting Bible studies on his 4.6 acre property, which he has been doing for the past 7 years. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail along with three years probation and ordered to pay a $12,180 fine.
His wife, Susanne, was nervous about her husband being away for two months but stood by their decision to hold the Bible study gatherings.
"Last time it was hard, and we know it will be hard again — being a single mom with six kids," she told Christian News Network. "[But], no matter what happens, and no matter what comes, we have to stand for His word."
Salman, an ordained pastor and owner of a burger restaurant, believes that he was discriminated against for his Christian faith. He said the city of Phoenix would probably allow gatherings for poker or football, but not those for religious purposes.
"They're cracking down on religious activities and religious use," Salman told Fox News Radio last week. "They're attacking what I as a Christian do in the privacy of my home."