SWANTON – When the local town health officer declared Chris Judge’s barn “uninhabitable” and informed the tenants that they would need to vacate, Judge made a quick call to his lawyer and immediately began to prepare a defense. Knowing this day was coming, Judge had already been gathering materials hoping to show religious persecution in court, and now he says he is ready for the fight.
“Oh, I knew it would happen eventually,” says Judge. “Christians have been persecuted since there ever were Christians. It’s part of our identity. If we aren’t being persecuted, then who are we? From the Romans feeding us to the lions, to the emotional attacks that forced us to start the Crusades, to the witches of Salem who were always trying to hex us, Christians are always under attack. And in such a Godless state as Vermont, I knew it was only a matter of time before they told me I wasn’t allowed to live the way the Bible says to live.”
According to Judge, the Bible contains several references to people living in barns with animals, sleeping on hay, and not having adequate heat or running water. His defense closely matches the report, which cites several major code violations in the barn, including no heat, no water, a leaking roof, no windows, doors that do not lock, no smoke or carbon detectors, and no fire exits. Overall the inspector found 144 violations, each of which would be enough for the tenant to legally take action, but Judge is refusing to fix any of it.
“Jesus didn’t have a fire exit,” Judge says with a smile. “Jesus didn’t have heat, and he turned out okay.” When it was pointed out that Jesus was essentially homeless and was then executed at age 33, Judge didn’t waver at all. “Well, he recovered, didn’t he?”
The state has yet to comment or to issue any sort of statement on Judge’s case, and for now the family that was living in the barn is looking for other accommodations, although housing can be hard to find.
“This just goes to show the level of government interference around here,” says Judge, his voice rising for the first time. “They’re going to put these nice folks out on the street! In my opinion, a leaky old barn is better than no barn at all.”