Friday, September 21, 2012

Jesus Talk Outlawed in New Orleans, Arrests Made

A new city ordinance in New Orleans against religious free speech in public after dark is being challenged in federal court after repeated arrests of Christian preachers.  The most reviled incidents of speech hyped by the media involve calls for repentance of sinful behavior, such as homosexuality.

For background, read Religious Liberty & Anti-Christian Totalitarianism in America

UPDATE 10/15/14: Houston Lesbian Mayor Subpoenas Opposition Pastors' Sermons

Also read about the California Pastor Arrested for Reading Bible in Public and about how Police Boot Christian from Festival in Buffalo NY as well as Police Halt Bible 'Noise,' Preacher Sues City

UPDATE 7/26/13: City council ends "aggressive solicitation" ban on preaching after dark, but Paul Gros lawsuit continues

-- From "Bourbon Street 'no preaching' law challenged" by Michael Kunzelman, Associated Press 9/20/12

In his federal lawsuit, New Orleans pastor Paul Gros claimed the city's "aggressive solicitation" ordinance sets unconstitutional limits on free speech.

The measure makes it a crime for anyone to "loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise."

The lawsuit said Gros was a "professing Christian" and pastor of Vieux Carre Assembly of God Church in the French Quarter, a block from Bourbon Street. Gros has been preaching on the French Quarter's streets for 30 years and doesn't intend to harass anyone or solicit any funds, his suit said.

. . . police arrested several preachers on Bourbon Street during the Southern Decadence gay pride festival.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "THIS isn't allowed even on Bourbon Street" by Bob Unruh, World Net Daily 9/20/12

“Religious speech is just as important, and just as protected by the First Amendment, as speech about any other subject at any time of day,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Joseph La Rue. “New Orleans cannot make criminals of people simply because they want to talk about their faith.”

The lawsuit, which also seeks an injunction halting enforcement of the ban, says the prohibition “is unconstitutional on its face and as applied… It is a content-based restriction on speech but is not narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest.”

“Because of the existence of the Religious Speech Ban and the penalties prescribed for violating it, Pastor Gros did not attend the Southern Decadence event that occurred this past Labor Day weekend. He feared arrest. And Pastor Gros soon learned that his fear was well-founded, discovering that several people communicating a religious message were arrested or threatened with arrest for violating [New Orleans ordinance] 54-419.”

“City Officials in New Orleans have chosen to criminalize speech about faith while allowing just about every other conceivable topic to be discussed and exposed,” said La Rue. “It’s not up to the government to decide the topics we can and cannot discuss. The First Amendment protects an individual’s freedom of speech.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "National Evangelistic Group Denounces Arrest of Christians in New Orleans, Calls for DOJ Intervention" by Heather Clark, Christian News Network 9/17/12

As previously reported, this past Friday, Pastor Troy Bohn of Raven Ministries and five members of his ministry team were arrested while ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the large crowds that were reveling on Bourbon Street, a popular section of the city that is known for its preponderance of bars and strip clubs. After being marched down to the 8th Precinct, three of the Christians were cited for violating the city’s “Aggressive Solicitation” ordinance, which primarily serves to curb the aggressive solicitation of donations.

“New Orleans’ ‘Agressive Solicitation’ ordinance is not only unconstitutional, but unGodly, as it is nothing less than an attempt to silence the public proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is being used as a tool to protect wickedness and criminalize righteousness,” said Repent America director Michael Marcavage. “New Orleans, which has seen great suffering, remains a city full of lawlessness, and is now targeting the messengers of mercy that God has sent into its streets. God is patient, but his judgments are sure.”

Repent America states that it will now be sending a letter to the United States Department of Justice to request that the government intervene by halting the enforcement of New Orleans’ “Aggressive Solicitation” ordinance as it pertains to free speech.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Nine preachers arrested at Southern Decadence" by Katherine Fretland, The Times-Picayune 9/4/12

Nine preachers were arrested Saturday after police said they yelled anti-gay slurs [in other words, quoting the Bible] over bullhorns during a demonstration at Southern Decadence, an annual celebration of gay culture in the French Quarter. Patrick O'Connell, 45, Rolando Igleasias, 31, Cesar Chavez, 22, Daniel Hoogerhuis, 26, Danny Guevera, 20, Larry Craft, 52, Montes Diego, 32 and Gary Brown, 33 were arrested on suspicion of aggressive solicitation, a city law passed last October.

French Quarter activist Leo Watermeier, who has long opposed the vitriolic demonstrations by religious fundamentalists at Decadence, took pictures of the incident outside of Tropical Isle. Some of the preachers carried signs tagged with, but police said they did not know the exact organization the men represented.

The Vieux Carre Assembly of God Church in the French Quarter usually allows the preachers to use the church as a base where they can get water and rest, said Pastor Paul Gros, who said he believes the city ordinance violates their free speech rights. "I'm not saying I approve of everything they say and do," Gros said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.