A disabled Horseshoe Bend resident appeared in Horseshoe Bend City Court Feb.19 where Judge Dwayne Plumlee ordered him to remove a sign advertising his church from his front yard by Feb. 22 or face possible jail time and fines.
Just hours before his court appearance Daniel Grover maintained that his constitutional rights are being violated. Grover has been attempting to start a church in his home but he said the city informed him he could not. He said, "Bottom line is they didn't want a church here." He explained that he wants to obey the law but he answers to a higher principle. He said if God calls him to do this he will. "Let the chips fall where they may," he said.
On Jan. 4 Grover received a citation from the city for violating city ordinance 7.32.07 which states in part -- "no sign shall be placed on residential property except temporary for sale, for rent, open house, and garage sale signs which shall be of dimensions not to exceed 24-inches by 18 inches."Grover's 4-foot by 8-foot sign advertises his church, a food bank and shelter.
Grover said he has three objectives for his church: to get the Lord's word out; to benefit the poor people, help abused children, help battered women and to provide sanctuary to those in need; and to see his church grow. He said he would like to have a permanent building to hold church services.
Grover held his first church service April 8, 2001, and has had a service every Wednesday and Sunday since that date.
He said, "Everyone has a constitutional right to have freedom of religion." He said the laws are unjust and decided to stand up for his rights. He said the poor people are given a hard, rough time by the government.
He said he leads a quiet life and has no desire to cause trouble. This may be a test from God, he added.
At age 35 Grover was a victim of a stroke that left paralysis on his left side. He said his prognosis was grim, his wife abandoned him and left with their five children.
Grover said he was in a wheelchair and was bitter about his circumstances, but then he realized that nothing happens, good or bad, without God's permission.
After a year of physical therapy, his wife and children gone, he said he had no choice; it was either starve to death or learn to do for himself. He said a person doesn't realize what they can do until they are pushed and their options are either sink or swim.
Grover, who was formerly a machinist/welder and a logger, had his own logging business when he had his stroke. He said he has a degree in sociology and attended Lake Superior University.
According to Police Chief Fred Mitchell, the city had received several complaints from neighbors about the noise from Grover's church services that were held in his front yard.
Mitchell said Grover has complied with the judge's orders. He said the city was not seeking jail time but wanted to make him aware that he was not in compliance with the law.