Monday, December 24, 2012

Florida Police Muzzle Pastor, So He Sues City

Bill Adams, the leader of Smyrna Baptist Church, attended the annual Pensacola PRIDE Festival on June 16, 2012 at Seville Square Park where homosexuals celebrated mock weddings, and while standing on the public sidewalk, quietly handing out Christian calendars, the police told Adams to either stop or be arrested, so he quietly left.

For background, read Police Boot Christian from Festival in Buffalo NY and also read Jesus Talk Outlawed in New Orleans, Arrests Made as well as California Pastor Arrested for Reading Bible in Public

-- From "Pastor sues City of Pensacola for alleged free-speech violations" by Eric Heisig, Pensacola News Journal 12/12/12

Attorneys at the Memphis-based Center for Religious Expression filed the federal suit on behalf of Bill Adams, who presides over the church on Pensacola Boulevard between the Marcus Pointe and Ensley areas.

Pensacola Police Chief Chip Simmons and Lt. Rodney Eagerton are named as defendants.

Adams is asking a judge to rule the officer’s actions were unconstitutional, as they prevented him from exercising his First Amendment rights.

The suit also asks the judge to order the city not to use a “heckler’s veto,” defined as government agencies curtailing free speech in an attempt to prevent outbursts from those who may be offended.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Pastor Suing Pensacola for Denial of Free Speech" Posted at ABC WEAR-TV3 12/13/12

According to the legal action filed in the US district court, Adams and a group from Smyrna Baptist Church went to the Pensacola Pride Festival at Seville Square June 16th to hand out this two-sided calendar showing the church location and containing a religious message.

Adams says someone from the event approached him and told him he could not hand out literature on the sidewalk around the square.

The Pensacola Police were called in and Adams says officers told him that if he didn't move across the street [to where there were no people] he would be arrested.

To read the entire article above and view the TV news video, CLICK HERE.

From "Seville Square Censorship" posted at Center for Religious Expression 12/11/12

[The lawsuit is] seeking relief from a policy that allows groups who obtain Special Event permits for Seville Square Park to squelch disfavored speech in the park and on bordering sidewalks. . . .

Though the Festival in the Park event was free and open to the public, and the bordering sidewalks remained public thoroughfares throughout the event, Pastor Adams was not allowed to hand out calendars with an evangelistic message on the back. CRE wrote a letter to various city officials on June 22, 2012, requesting relief from the ban, so Pastor Adams could return to the sidewalk and share his views during the 2013 Festival in the Park, but no official responded to his plea.

[CRE Chief Counsel Nate] Kellum emphasized the benign nature of Pastor Adam’s speech. “Pastor Adams was not there to protest or denigrate anyone. He only sought to engage in friendly discussion, while handing out free calendars and sharing his faith. His opinion cannot be banished from a public domain just because someone happens to disagree with it.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Supreme Court Rules for Pro-lifer with Fetus Photos as well as Pastor Wins Free Speech Lawsuit Over Mall