Go Back   Fratching! > General > Church and State

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes

Street Preachers at Tour of Lights
  #1  
Old 12-06-2012, 01:47 PM
Ghel's Avatar
Ghel Ghel is offline
Apathetic Atheist
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 765
Default Street Preachers at Tour of Lights

There's some street preachers based in Duluth, MN, who are notorious for their behavior at public events. I previously ran into them at Grandma's Marathon (named after the restaurant chain, not because grandmas run in it, necessarily). Their methods include standing on a stepladder and shouting at crowds as they go by, while a second person stands nearby with a huge sign listing Bible verses saying how everyone who doesn't believe exactly the same things they do is going to burn in Hell.

Last year, during the Bentleyville Tour of Lights, they were kicked out several nights for blocking traffic (there's only one path through the tour) and shouting at little kids about sex and drugs ("I used to be a fornicator! I used to be a drug addict! Then I found Jesus!") while they're trying to toast marshmallows or wait in line to visit Santa.

So the street preachers sued the city. The city argued that Bentleyville was renting the park from the city, so during the Tour of Lights, the park became private property and the staff of Bentleyville could decide who could attend and who couldn't. (Even though it's a free event.) The judge disagreed, saying it was still a public park.

So this year, the city set up an area outside of the park labeled a "free speech zone." The preachers were instructed to only preach within that area. So they sued again. And the judge said they couldn't be limited to that "free speech zone."

http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/eve...cle/id/251886/

I think they were right to sue the city. They have the right to preach. However, I also think that Bentleyville staff should be allowed to throw them out if they're being disruptive, as they have been in the past. Blocking traffic and refusing to move should be a valid reason to throw them out, at least for the night. Yelling at kids about sex, drugs, or violence (at what's billed as a family-friendly event) should be a enough to get them thrown out for the season.

This shouldn't be about their first amendment rights. It should be about disturbing the peace.
__________________
"The future is always born in pain... If we are wise what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world." --G'Kar, "Babylon 5"
Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old 12-06-2012, 03:02 PM
TheHuckster TheHuckster is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,432
Default

I agree that, besides disruptive behavior such as blocking traffic, they have the right to preach. However, if you are repeatedly disruptive, I see no problem with issuing a ban from the park in much the same way one can be banned from a library if they are a repeated troublemaker.

I do think the way they worded the sign "Free Speech Zone" is a bit poor, though. The city is basically saying, "Your first amendment rights are invalid except HERE" which is very off-putting.
Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old 12-06-2012, 04:26 PM
daleduke17 daleduke17 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 807
Default

Have the police come get the preachers for disorderly conduct. They've already been told to pipe down (you can still talk, but please be respectful), and they are still causing a ruckus, so dis-con them.
Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:07 PM
AmbrosiaWriter's Avatar
AmbrosiaWriter AmbrosiaWriter is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 433
Default

I agree that as soon as they become disruptive it's not longer about free speech. They should not be able to block traffic. Little kids should not have to be chastised and harassed when all they want to do is be in awe and wonder that happens around the holiday season. Free speech means you're allowed to stand up and make your voice heard, it does not mean that you can force other people to listen to you via harassment.

Though, I have to say, a group tried that at an event in my hometown when I was little, and my mom swears I made the most adorable cat butt face before starting to kick one of them in the shins for telling me I was going to hell. They pretty much stopped when all the adults would either straight up ignore or would tell their children, "These are crazy people, and you don't want to be like the mean, crazy people do you?"
Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old 12-07-2012, 07:56 AM
Seifer's Avatar
Seifer Seifer is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 424
Default

The preachers are allowed to be bigoted assbags, but the city is also allowed to have them arrested for disorderly conduct and harassment. It's not about arresting them for what they're saying, it's about arresting them because they're interrupting the proceedings and getting in the way.
Reply With Quote

  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 02:50 PM
Ghel's Avatar
Ghel Ghel is offline
Apathetic Atheist
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 765
Default

Part of the problem with this case is that it seems the city's lawyer wasn't arguing that the preachers were being disruptive. He was arguing it as being a private venue. I think it would have been decided differently if the city's lawyer had argued it from either the preachers being disruptive or the preachers infringing on the other guests' first amendment rights.

On the latter, the preachers' blocking traffic makes the other guests a captive audience. There's only one route through the tour, so the other guests can't avoid the preachers. They can't even leave the event to avoid the preachers, because guests are discouraged from going backwards through the tour. That's how I would have argued it.
__________________
"The future is always born in pain... If we are wise what is born of that pain matures into the promise of a better world." --G'Kar, "Babylon 5"
Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 01:11 AM
daleduke17 daleduke17 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 807
Default

You keep driving, albeit slowly. Push your way through the idiots.
Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old 12-08-2012, 02:46 PM
protege protege is offline
Super Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 2,183
Default

Dale, some of that happened here...when the anti-war protesters decided it would be a good idea to block traffic during rush hour. Yeah, interfering with people getting to work is a *great* way to get them to join your cause Instead, they got their asses handed to them by angry commuters, not to mention by a few business owners who couldn't get their deliveries because of the barricades those idiots had set up.
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:39 PM
Rageaholic Rageaholic is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 2,814
Default

If you're threatening people with hellfire, you've crossed a line.
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old 12-09-2012, 06:07 AM
Mr. Anubite Mr. Anubite is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 65
Default

Not to mention that if they were banned, they would advertise it all over the country as OMG LOOK THE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS ARE BEING PERSECUTED!!!111!ELEVENTY!11!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
first amendment, free speech, lawsuit, street preachers

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT. The time now is 01:20 AM.


vBulletin skins developed by: eXtremepixels
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.