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August 30, 2005

Free speech applies to all.

by Feòrag

United States: Certain fundies are always harping on about the evils of the ACLU, but tend to be strangely silent when that organisation supports the First Amendment rights of Christians, as well as everyone else. Take the case of Shawn Miller, who spent 109 days in jail for quietly preaching to his family, away from others.

My wife, our two children, and I had been going for three months to this same abandoned gas station without any incident. We were simply having a quiet Bible study on Sunday morning. The bank across the street is closed. There are two churches (Baptist & Methodist) on opposite corners from us. There is a minimal amount of car traffic and no pedestrian traffic. We are NOT there to be heard. We are simply there trying to let our light shine. We are NOT yelling at anyone because there is no one around. Sure, cars pass and see us, but there is no way we are disturbing them since we are 15 feet away from the sidewalk. This police officer decided to pick on us that day for some unknown reason. Officer Smart, Officer Wilson, and an animal control officer were in the parking lot adjacent to us at about 9:45 and they stayed for about 20-30 minutes. Then they all left. A sheriff's deputy watched us for about five minutes a week before that day. Many police cars had driven by throughout the previous months WITHOUT incident. Officer Smart then came back at 11:05. I went over to him and extended my hand and said, What is the problem, officer? He said, You need to tone it down. I said, I am preaching to my family and we are not bothering anyone. This is free speech and you can not stop me. He said, We have been getting phone calls about you pointing and yelling at cars. I said, I was not yelling at cars and was not pointing and I was not bothering anyone. This is free speech and you can not stop me. If you have a problem with me being on this property, I will go to the sidewalk.

He is also accused of resisting arrest, because he surrendered to the police.

I was standing on the sidewalk looking at the officers. Officer Smart said, Come back here. I did not want to get arrested for trespassing, so I stayed where I was. I said, No, I am staying on the sidewalk because it is public property. He then came towards me. I have seen the TV show COPS. I thought it best to get on my knees and put my hands in the air to show that I was not resisting arrest.

Comment by Shawn Miller to Common Ground with the Religious RightDispatches from the Culture Wars, 28th August 2005. See also ACLU Defends Another Street PreacherDispatches from the Culture Wars, 28th August 2005.

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Posted in Hypocrisy at 00:29. Last modified on September 28 2006 at 23:43.
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Comments

1: Posted by: Gert | August 31, 2005 4:07 PM

Hey, praying in the streets, now there's a real serious offence [sic]! Sounds more like something Whitehall would dream up...

How on earth do they justify detaining a person for four months for talking to his family about the Management in the Sky? What else are disused gas stations for?

Was he charged with anything (couldn't find reference to that)? What were these coppers thinking? The Imaginary Manager continues to work in mysterious ways...

But if this post comes out convoluted as well, I'm gonna start praying myself (in a public lav)...

2: Posted by: Feòrag | August 31, 2005 8:04 PM

"praying in a public lav" really does sound like a euphemism, you know. Still, I hate to tell you this, but the apostrophes are still coming out garbled.

3: Posted by: Red Wolf | August 31, 2005 10:39 PM

The ellipse came through as text, so it appears to be mostly working.

When I turned these settings off on the work PC yesterday, I went back in and found the horrid software had turned some back on. Word 2003 seems to have all its settings under one tab, but Word 2000 has them in AutoFormat and AutoFormat As You Type.

4: Posted by: Gert | September 1, 2005 4:39 PM

When I turned these settings off on the work PC yesterday, I went back in and found the horrid software had turned some back on. Word 2003 seems to have all its settings under one tab, but Word 2000 has them in AutoFormat and AutoFormat As You Type.

No, I checked that and it did not happen on my machine. I have unchecked all the As You Type options as well but remain fearful of the use of the dreaded apostrophe.

Playing with one-self in a public lav, now that would be a euphemism. No, not really.

Wax lyrical

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