Author Topic: Today’s Court Decision Is A Huge Victory For Religious Liberty  (Read 228 times)

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Today’s Court Decision Is A Huge Victory For Religious Liberty

"The beauty of the First Amendment rests in its tolerance of all viewpoints..."

Avatar of B. Christopher Agee   B. Christopher Agee — June 13, 2014

Photo Credit: maveric2003 (Creative Commons)   

After they were arrested nearly two years ago for sharing the Gospel on a sidewalk during a gay pride parade, street preachers Joseph Faust and Ramon Marroquin embarked on a legal battle to clear their name and enshrine their First Amendment rights. That fight ended in victory this week as a Fort Worth, Texas court dismissed their convictions.

The ordeal began in October 2012, when the pair preached – using only their own unamplified voices – as the parade passed. When police believed they were attempting to cross a barricade, reports indicate they were arrested while still standing firmly on the public sidewalk.

Authorities asserted the preachers were interfering with the officers’ duties, despite the fact that plenty of other onlookers were apparently allowed access to the area beyond the barricade. Fortunately for the duo, advocates with the Rutherford Institute took on their cause and presented a case that ultimately led to the favorable appeals court result.

 A legal team argued that Faust and Marroquin had their right to free expression curtailed due to their religious affiliation.

The court’s decision concurred, explaining the “skirmish line” guarded by police “prohibited all members of the church from exercising their right of free speech merely because of their association with the church.”

While expressing his disapproval of the officer’s actions, Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead celebrated his clients’ court victory.

“For police officers to take it upon themselves to prevent American citizens from exercising their First Amendment rights on public sidewalks simply because the officers don’t like their message or the particular religious beliefs,” he said in a press release Friday, “moves us out of a constitutional republic and into a police state.”

According to his assessment, however, the appeals court “recognized that the beauty of the First Amendment rests in its tolerance of all viewpoints, no matter how politically incorrect, unpalatable or inappropriate they might appear to others.”

Photo Credit: maveric2003 (Creative Commons)

"Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim tribute to patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness -- these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. . . . reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principles."
George Washington

"Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become more corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters."
Benjamin Franklin

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