Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Court hears case of Georgia man arrested for sharing gospel in public
A federal court has been asked to grant a preliminary injunction in the case of a Georgia evangelist who was arrested for handing out Christian literature.The case involves Fredric Baumann, who was arrested by police in Cumming, Georgia, last April for distributing religious literature on a public sidewalk. Police used a "parade ordinance" as justification for the arrest. The parade ordinance requires people to get permission from the government before holding an event. However, David Cortman of the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says parade ordinances do not apply in such cases. (See earlier article)"What the government cannot do is require you to get permission first, before you're allowed to engage in that speech," says Cortman. "Under a parade ordinance, it only makes sense if you're going to have an actual parade, if you're going to close down the street, you certainly want to get the police protection and all arrangements made ahead of time."But Cortman says the problem in this case is that officials are applying an "ordinance meant for large parades" in order to stifle the free speech of one man. He says U.S. citizens should not have to ask permission to speak in public venues. The ADF attorney says that doing so would allow the government to censor speech with which it does not agree. Baumann spent two days in jail for violating the parade ordinance. ADF attorneys have since asked for the preliminary injunction, which would allow Baumann and others to share their faith in public without having to gain permission from government authorities.
As in the days of Noah....