Tuesday, February 27, 2007

US Christians win one, lose one

Free Speech for Christians Upheld in Ohio

There have been quite a few cases of Christians being harassed by police when they publicly proclaim messages against abortion, homosexuality etc. See e.g. here. One hopes that police nationwide will be a bit less likely to do that after a recent case in Ohio upheld the right of anti-abortion campaigners to display images of aborted babies:
" Today, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, Ohio, unanimously ruled that a three-hour police detention of law-abiding, pro-life demonstrators presented valid constitutional claims under the First and Fourth Amendments. The Court reversed a lower court's decision in favor of the law enforcement officers.

Robert Muise, the Thomas More Law Center Trial Counsel handling the case, successfully argued that the lengthy detention - so that the FBI could "gather intelligence" on the pro-life demonstrators - violated the demonstrators' Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable police searches and seizures. He further succeeded in showing that the police violated the demonstrators' First Amendment rights by targeting them for disfavored treatment because they were "anti-abortion."

Peaceful Street Preaching not Protected?

Both freedom to exercise religion and free speech protection were ignored by this judge:
"A new federal court decision in the case of the Philadelphia Eleven could send Christians' free speech rights another step towards extinction, according to group members who have been told police officers had a right to silence their biblical messages at a public homosexual festival.

The decision came in a civil rights lawsuit brought by members of that team, including Repent America director Michael Marcavage, who sued the city and a homosexual-festival sponsor after group members were cleared of criminal charges for their actions at the 2004 "Gay Pride" public street festival in the downtown area.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence Stengel dismissed their civil rights claim, concluding that a "permit" granted by the city to the homosexuals allowed police to silence the Christian activists' message on public streets.

A municipal permit trumps the constitution??

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

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