Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God : the powers that beare ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Romans 13:1-2
Therefore, Know Ye the Law!
A friend of mine shared these assorted case law’s that are applicable to open-air preaching and I wanted to share them with all my evangelical friends. I’m sure this is not an exhaustive list, but there are some pretty good citations here. Perhaps it might be wise to have a copy on hand to share with anyone (police or otherwise) who would like to squelch your free speech. I’m posting these for informational purposes only. Please be responsible and do your own research and do not rely solely on this data. I am not a lawyer. I provided clickable links so you my delve further into each. As always, go out in the Spirit, and not your flesh.
Leafleting, Preaching, & Displays
We have the right to pass out literature, to preach, and to displays signs on public areas. Coates v. Cincinnati 402 U.S. 611 / Edwards v. S. Carolina, 372 U.S. 299 / Furr v. Town of Swansea, F. Supp 1543
We have a “guaranteed access” to streets, parks, and other “traditional public forum,” and mere inconvenience to the government will not outweigh our free speech interests. Hague v. C.I.O. 307 U.S. 496.
Our freedom of speech may not be prohibited merely because it offends some listeners. Cantwell v. Conn, 310 U.S. 296 / Simon & Shuster v. New York State Crime Victims Bd, 502 U.S. 105 / N.Y. Ties v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254.
A city may not consider the listeners reactions when permitting free speech activity. Forsyth County v. The Nationalist Movement, 505 U.S. 123.
Hecklers do not have veto power over a speakers right of free speech, and police must control a crowd rather than arrest the speaker in order to maintain order. Cox v. Louisiana, 379 U.S. 536.
We have the right to be protected by law enforcement, if the crowd is offended by what we are preaching, and becomes hostile. Hedges v. W.C.U.S.D. No. 118, et al. 9F.3d 1295.
We have the right to be loud enough to be heard. Saia v. New York, 334 U.S. 1948.
Permits are not allowed to be used to restrict a speakers right of free expression, and permits may not be used as a prior restraint on free speech. Kunz v. New York, 340 U.S. 290.
Gathright vs. City of Portland, 9th Circuit, affirming that just because a private group leases or permits space in a park or other traditional public forum, they may not then preclude your gospel preaching from that venue at that time.
A free speech lawsuit is a Federal case, and allows to sue police officers and/or guards in their official capacity, and as individuals. Freedom Restoration Act, Title 42, Section 2000aa.
A free speech lawsuit will subject the police and others involved, to pay our damages and all of our attorney’s fees. 42 U.S.C. && 1983 and 1988.
Calif Supreme Court help that the Calif Constitution protects speech & petitioning, reasonably exercised, in shopping centers even when the center is privately owned. Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74 (1980) 447 U.S. 74. No. 79-289. Argued March 18, 1980. Decided June 9, 1980.
Shopping malls and their common areas. The commons areas outside each individual privately owned store is “public fora” (a public area used for “communicating thoughts between citizens and discussing public questions,”)
(Hague v. CIO, 307 U.S. 496. 515 (1939) The City of Los Angeles tried to restrict free speech activity in a particular part of a park at the famous Olvera Street, which was mainly used by merchants. The 9th circuit said otherwise.
*I am not a lawyer. I am Christian trying to operate within the parameters of the law. This post is not intended to be legal advice. Please know the laws where you live and do your best to evangelize accordingly. Oh, and exercise your religious freedom before you lose them.