City ignores Court Order and is denying Christians’ the right to speak in public park, only in a designated Free Speech Zone
This is not unique; cities all over the country have jumped through every possible hoop they can find to deny Christians and Christians only their free speech rights. Liberals kicked God out of the Public Square in 1948 and in liberal minded cities they mean it literally, Christians are not allowed to be beneficiaries of the First Amendment – they may not use public sidewalks or parks or squares to promote the Christian message.
Note I said Christian, they would not dare deny Muslims that right, quite frankly mostly out of fear. The other religious groups are not big enough or much interested in evangelization and not part of the problem, as these cities see the issue. They are being quite successful in denying free speech to Christians and will run like the scalded liberals dogs if even one atheist complains.
These same cities will fight like junk yard dogs for and support those in favor of abortion or gay rights to have their rights of free speech protected, even denying Christians the right to come near those events if they have any intention of peacefully handing out Christian literature. To liberals free speech only applies to liberals and even then, free speech, any political protests around Obama or other Democrat leaders are often denied by forcing them so far away that they can neither be seen or heard.
The city of Duluth, Minn., which was ordered by a judge to allow free speech in a public park, now is accused of ignoring that order in a court filing asking a judge to rule city officials in contempt of court.
An “Emergency Motion to Enforce Preliminary Injunction and Hold Defendants in Contempt” has been filed in U.S. District Court in Minnesota by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which a year ago fought the city in a battle over free speech rights.
At that time, the court ordered that the city could not ban the First Amendment when people wanted to talk about their Christian faith at a public park during the so-called “Bentleyville Tour of Lights,” an annual event in the city.
The order was obtained last year after the city banned people from peacefully talking with passers-by and handing out Christian literature.
But police in Duluth, on the orders of city officials, this year have been enforcing the prohibition on speech again, the filing alleges.
“The government cannot ban the First Amendment in a public park just because event officials don’t like the message that a person is sharing,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, who is co-counsel in the case with Nate Kellum of the Center for Religious Expression. “The court ordered the city to respect the First Amendment, but it is not doing so. We are therefore asking the court to enforce its order and hold the city in contempt. It has disregarded both the court’s order and what the order sought to protect: the constitutionally protected freedom of citizens to engage in non-disruptive speech in a public place.”
ADF reported that Steve Jankowski and some of his friends went to the public property just days ago where the free event was being held and were told by a police officer “that they could only engage in their free speech activities in a designated ‘First Amendment zone’ outside of the area.”
The men were threatened with arrest, ADF said, even though the location, event and city were subject to the court’s injunction at the time. ADF said the city was “ignoring” the court’s instructions.
ADF lawyers noted that the city explained that it changed the “agreement” and thus canceled the court’s order.
But in a letter to ADF, Nathan LaCoursiere, an assistant attorney for the city, said, “it is the city’s position that the previous injunction issued in this matter no longer applies.”
The judge’s original finding said that the city park where the events are held “is and remains a public park, and therefore a traditional public forum, despite the agreement between the city and the promoters of this event.”
And he noted, “The city has failed to set forth any government interest served by prohibiting plaintiffs from exercising their First Amendment rights.”