Free Speech on Trial – Christians arrested for praying silently at Gay Event

Posted on February 28, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Gay Agenda, Liberal Idiots, Nanny State, Political Correctness, Religion |

I find this unbelievable!! Think about how many events have protestors who are screaming, shouting, holding vulgar signs, etc, and they are not stopped due to ‘freedom of speech.’ But when Christians show up at a public event to SILENTLY PRAY, they are discriminated against and free speech doesn’t apply. Very scary!!

Prayer warriors at ‘gay’ fest on trial
Police told Christians they had no speech rights in public park

Posted: February 28, 2008
10:01 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily
A trial is scheduled to begin today in Elmira, N.Y., and lawyers for the defendants say it will be a test of whether the First Amendment affirmations of freedom of speech and freedom of religion still are valid in the United States.
“Choosing to exercise your First Amendment rights in a public place is not a crime,” Joel Oster, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund said. “The government has no right to arrest citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights in public.”
At issue is the arrest of several Christians at a “gay pride” event is Wisner Park in Elmira in 2007. Julian and Gloria Raven and several others entered the park to pray silently for the participants of the event celebrating homosexual behavior.
Officials with the ADF noted that the materials advertising the event said everyone was invited and it was open to the public. “The group did not draw a disorderly response from event participants,” the ADF said.
(Story continues below)
However, an Elmira police sergeant had told the group they were banned from the park. They were not allowed to “cross the street, enter the park, or share their religion with anyone in the park,” according to the ADF.
The group’s members later were arrested and accused of “disorderly conduct.”
“It seems oxymoronic to say that by walking silently in a public park, with heads bowed, these people somehow disturbed the peace,” Oster said. “From the sit-ins of the 1960s to today, courts have repeatedly ruled that the police cannot arrest those who peacefully express their message in public places.”
While the facts of the case make it seem relatively minor, the ADF said the issue is nothing less than the United States’ freedoms of speech and religion.
“If this violation of these Christians’ rights is allowed to stand, the First Amendment rights of all people of faith are in jeopardy,” the ADF said.
When the Christians were arrested, officials with Elmira justified their actions to WND.
Assistant Police Chief Mike Robertson told WND that the members were accused of a “combination” of allegations, including the “intent” to cause a public inconvenience, a “disturbance” of a meeting of persons and obstructing vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
He also said at the time that the accusations would include taking part in “any act that serves no legitimate purpose.”
Raven had told WND his group assembled to pray for three hours the night before Elmira’s “pride” festival in promotion of the homosexual lifestyle.
“We have a legal right to be at an event held in a public square. We’re not a hate group,” he said. “We’re Christians and we’re going to be there to pray.”
He said he contacted police, who told him he had no free speech rights in the public park.
“The female officer, she said, ‘You’re not going to cross the street. You’re not going to enter the park and you’re not going to share your religion with anybody in this park,'” he told WND.
“When she said that, for the first time in my life as a Christian, I felt now my freedom of speech is threatened or challenged,” he said. “I was being told I could not share my religion with anybody in that park.”
Raven said he told the officer “she was violating the Constitution that she had sworn to uphold, and she was very agitated and adamant, and couldn’t look me straight in the eye.”
Raven asked for the justification for such a threat and was not given a response.
He said his team of Christians then went into the park, and they were arrested within three or four minutes.
He said if the situation is left unchallenged, the city of Elmira will be in the position of being able to control the content of people’s messages in a lawful assembly – or even thoughts if they are nearby.
“We didn’t say boo to a goose, still we were arrested,” he said.
The local newspaper reported the arrests came just “moments” after Elmira Mayor John Tonello delivered a speech “celebrating diversity.”
And the actions prompted some immediate criticism from newspaper readers.
“I was appalled and disgusted by the gay stories strewn through the paper. What was even more disturbing was the way the city acted. Since when is it illegal to sit on the ground in a public park and recite Bible verses? Are they not protected by the same Constitution that allows gay people to have their gay pride event. These Bible thumpers had their constitutional right to free speech and assembly trampled on by the city. They should not have been arrested,” said Kevin Raznoff.
Robertson told WND the Christians “certainly” have a right to assemble, but not on public property when there’s an “organized” event there. Asked repeatedly about how the “disturbance” statute relates to First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech, he did not answer.
“Obviously, they caused a disruption to an event that was taking place,” he said.
But Raven confirmed to WND the Christians did not approach a single person, did not speak to anyone and did not even make any audible statements until after they were arrested.

LINK: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=57607

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16 Responses to “Free Speech on Trial – Christians arrested for praying silently at Gay Event”

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I sent a copy of this to several News Organizations asking why this has not been covered in the news.

Good thinking, Tony. Let me know if you hear anything back from them.

This is a disturbing, pitiful story. How did things get to be like this? What’s fair about having civil rights for gays who are open but not having rights for Christians who are open?

Some of the most aggravating, misguided, just-plain-wrong issues today are promoted under the disguise of “celebrating diversity.” What a loaded phrase , what propaganda that is.

I used to think that people of faith, people with morals, were the majority in this country. When they were there was respect for minority rights. Now practicing Christians are in the minority and their rights are not respected.

Gays don’t want religion anywhere near them, since it states that they are immoral people. They want to continue with their hedonistic “If it feels good, do it” lifestyle.

Catholic brothers and sisters, we know that it is a mark of the Church that we suffer persecution for our Faith. As Our Lord told us: “they persecuted Me first, they will persecute you also…” To those who style themselves as Christians but are not Catholic I should like to say that our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against Powers and Principalities. What do you expect your prayers to do for those who flagrantly flaunt their sin before others? They have proven their hatred for God, so remember what Our Lord says: “do not cast your pearls before swine…lest they turn on you…” And again we read Our Lord telling us “go to your private room, close the door and pray to God in secret, Who sees everything in secret…” These people who are God’s enemies are our enemies too, but He has commanded us to pray for them. Pray in reparation for the sins they commit against God’s infinite goodness, and ask God to grant them contrition for their sins. Forget about having recourse to the US Constitution and its amendments…if those who framed the constitution were not in the friendship of God…what good could they possibly accomplish with ink on paper what many have refused when God carved Ten Commandments in stone.

That’s because the friggen ACLU is making being a Christian a crime. Like you said people can be all kinds of vulgar ( you ever see in the news how PETA hires strippers to protest for them ?!? ) but the respectful ones who are praying of all things are the ones they target.

so, let me get this straight (no pun intended): if you are gay and not a christian, you can say all the foul mouthed stuff you want, show public displays of lewd acts, and that is free speech: but if you are a christian, quiet and praying or witnessing, then you are a criminal and dont have free speech…at a PUBLIC event in which EVERYONE, NOT excluding christians, was invited? ok. where is the common sense in this? and the police are violating a federal law….failing to uphold the constituion and violating 1st ammendment RIGHTS; not priveledges.

better said than I, Craig. well done, good and faithful servant. I was in the flesh, not the SPirit.

These rouge cops (rouge because the second they break the law, they are no longer recognized as peace officers, but common criminals) should be arrested for kidnapping, civil rights violations, assault (if they touched anybody) assault with a deadly weapon (if they had firearms on them) unlawful imprisonment, and gang related activity (if there was more then 1 of them).
These X cops/criminals should be sued for everything they own, and their pensions should go to their kidnap victims. The only people that actually broke any laws here are the so called police.

arrested for praying quietly at a gay pride party.. man the law is $@#^ messed up now they should have arrested the freegin gays.

Listen. im a bible person strickly. but a human is still a human gay or strait. I dont agree with any protest that has to do with any subject. But for a freak’n person to be praying in public and get arrested. I’de like to see a mafo try and arrest me for ANy thing stupid like that! its a wrap for that bacon patrol. This is what were letting our government do. is arrest for anything so they can get their money. Greed my friends, Greed!
Somethings need some real change.

HI EVERYBODY, THIS IS GLORIA RAVEN, SIGH-NING IN (WITH A SIGH). TODAY, 3/23/2010 JULIAN RAVEN, MY HUSBAND IS IN JAIL BECAUSE HE REFUSED TO PAY THE $90 FINE IMPOSED UPON HIM BECAUSE HIS OFFENSE WAS NOT DISMISSED WHEN TAKEN TO THE COURT OF APPEALS (YOU MAY WANT TO ASK YOURSELVES…THEN HOW COME HIS WIFE, GLORIA IS NOT WITH HIM IN JAIL?…BECAUSE THE COURT OF APPEALS (HON. JUDGE HAYDEN) DISMISSED, YES I SAY DISMISSED THE CHARGES AGAINST ME BECAUSE IT WAS RULED TO BE AN UNLAWFUL ARREST! HOORAY! BUT WAIT..THEN HOW CAN JULIAN’S CHARGES NOT BE DISMISSED, WHEN HE AND I WERE LAYING FACE DOWN IN THE GRASS, DEMONSTRATING THE SAME, IDENTICAL BEHAVIOR??!! HMMM!? IS THIS SOME KIND OF A “SAVE FACE” MOVE ON THE PART OF THE COURT SYSTEM…”WE WERE WRONG FOR THE ARREST, BUT NOT TOTALLY WRONG…WE’LL JUST SLAP ONE OF YOU AROUND INSTEAD OF ALL OF YOU…ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?” I TELL YOU, FELLOW CITIZENS OF AMERICA, THAT NOW IS THE TIME, MORE THAN EVER IN THE HISTORY OF YOUR COUNTRY TO STAND UP FOR YOUR HISTORIC FAITH AND KEEP ALIVE THE VISION OF YOU FOREFATHERS WHO PENNED THE GREAT DOCUMENTS THAT STILL GOVERN THIS NATION. BUT KEEP IN MIND…IT IS NOT THE LEGAL SYSTEM THAT WILL SAVE THIS COUNTRY…IT IS FAITH IN GOD ALONE AND SERIVCE TO GOD THROUGH RIGHTEOUS, PRAYERFUL ACTION…STAND UP FOR WHAT IS MORAL, RIGHT, JUST, GOOD, HOLY, INNOCENT AND DO IT IN PEACE…IN FEARLESSNESS…IN LOVE….AND OUR SOVERIGN LORD ABOVE WILL BLESS YOU. DO NOT ACT OUT OF HASTE….BUT PRAYERFUL, DELIBERATE ACTION…..THE MORAL FIBERS OF THIS ONCE GREAT NATION ARE DETERIORATING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES…WHO IS GOING TO STOP THIS DETERIORATION….I AM……..EACH MAN/WOMAN MUST DO HIS/HER PART IN THE WORLD DIRECTLY AROUND HIM/HERSELF….IF YOU SEE OR HEAR SOMETHING THAT IS WRONG…SAY SOMETHING! DONT JUST SIT QUIETLY AND DO NOTHING OR THINK THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL DO IT….ESPECIALLY IF YOU CLAIM TO BE A LOVER OF GOD AND A LOVER OF THE TRUTH….IF YOU LOVE THE TRUTH…STAND UP FOR THE TRUTH….JESUS SAID “I AM THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE…NO MAN/WOAM COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME”

To Whom It May concern,

This is Rev. Robert Wright, Editor for http://www.Christian.com which is a social network made specifically for Christians, by Christians, to directly fulfill Christian’s needs. Christian.com has many great features aside from the obvious like christian TV, prayer request or even find a church/receive advice and to offer the ENTIRE christian community an outlet to join together. We have emailed you because we have interest in collaborating with you and your blog to help us spread the good word. I look forward for your response regarding the matter,

Thanks!

God Bless

|Rev.Robert Wright|Christian.com|
|1 International Blvd.|Mahwah, NJ 07495|
|rev.robertwright@gmail.com|

Thank you for this, appriciated!
Greets,

Thank you for this, appriciated!
Greets,
תיירות גאה

I am an atheist and a gay rights supporter, but I would support this case because it’s not about gay rights or anything like that, it’s about free speech. Once we use the gov to shut up the Christians, who’s free speech is lost next? Freedom of speech is the bedrock of all of our other freedoms and can not be eroded or attacked for any issue no matter how passionate it is.


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