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Joined: 2003/8/29
Posts: 29


Dont know if anyone has posted this already or not but here it is.

'Philly 5' Are Free!
Philadelphia Judge Clears Christian Demonstrators of 'Hate Crimes' Charges

By Allie Martin
February 17, 2005

(AgapePress) - All charges have been dropped against four Christians who were arrested in October for sharing the gospel at a pro-homosexual event in Philadelphia. Charges pending against a minor who was also arrested at the time are expected to be dismissed as well.

Last fall, Philadelphia police arrested 11 Christians as they were taking part in street witnessing on a public sidewalk at a "gay pride" event. Charges were dropped against six of the believers in January, but the four adults and one juvenile -- all members of the group Repent America -- faced serious charges under Philadelphia's "hate crimes" laws. Those five were charged with criminal conspiracy, "ethnic intimidation," and riot. In a case that brought national attention, each of the five faced as much as 47 years in prison if convicted.

Now charges have been dropped against the four adults. On Thursday (February 17), Court of Commons Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe dismissed the charges, ruling that peaceful expressive activities like those of the Christian demonstrators are fully protected by the First Amendment. She also stated that prosecutors were unable to make even a minimal showing of any criminal conduct.

The defendants were represented by the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy (CLP), a legal group based in Tupelo, Mississippi. While the CLP says it is "pleased and relieved" with Dembe's ruling, the firm's chief counsel says the city must be held accountable.

"The next chapter of this story is just beginning," says attorney Steve Crampton, "and that is, our federal lawsuit against the city for what we believe to be an intentional effort to suppress First Amendment rights."

The CLP is calling for the Department of Justice to investigate what it describes as "corruption and profound abuse of power" by city officials as they pursued the case against the defendants. "[T]he city clearly continued to prosecute the Christians with a vengeance during the hearing with bad faith arguments," states a CLP press release.

"Frankly, the 'hunters' have now become the 'hunted.'" says Crampton. "We intend to ask hard questions and vigorously pursue discovery to figure out exactly why these charges were ever leveled in the first place."

Crampton maintains his clients were targeted simply because of their message -- one of hope through a relationship with Jesus Christ for those wishing to leave the homosexual lifestyle.

"Under any other circumstances with any other speakers on the public streets, [the case] never would have even been filed, much less gotten to this stage," the attorney contends. He notes that the defendants spent 21 hours in jail -- "one lady [spent] ten days in jail," he says -- and faced a "very real threat of losing 47 years of their lives for doing nothing but sharing the truth" on the public sidewalk in Philadelphia.

"There has been a grave injustice visited upon them," the attorney adds, "and we intend to vindicate those rights in federal court."

Crampton says he is hopeful charges against 17-year-old Lauren Murch will be dropped during a hearing on Friday morning. The City of Philadelphia indicated it may appeal Judge Dembe's decision.


 2005/2/17 18:21Profile

Joined: 2003/4/18
Posts: 777

 Re: 'PHILLY 5' ARE FREE!!!!

Sweet, Praise God! It's kind of like Paul turning around to look at the Roman soldier and asking, "Is this how you're supposed to treat a Roman citizen?"

Jeremy Hulsey

 2005/2/17 18:30Profile

Joined: 2003/8/29
Posts: 29


ha ha ha, I like that.


 2005/2/17 18:32Profile

 Re: 'PHILLY 5' ARE FREE!!!!

I've been deliberating over this post for a while, and now that the charges have been dropped, I have to ask this question (and it's not to you dear Robbie)...I wonder if there isn't a more effective loving witness of Christ that we can make towards the gay and lesbian community in America......just a question.

As I sit here, two things occur to me, the first is that we, born-again followers of Christ, that's the we, we can adjust the monikers, meaning, didja notice I called them "gay and lesbian"?

I'm not talking about namby-pamby politically correct knee jerk terminology, I'm talking about addressing folks in a respectful tenor that will convey the love of Jesus, and they want to be called "gay and lesbian"...are they "homosexual"? yes. Does a white evangelical talking about the "radical homosexual agenda" turn them off? absolutely.

the other day, I was thinking and reflecting on the life of Jesus, and how he actually sat down and ate with the fouliest fonkiest sinners of the day, the publicans and tax collectors.

who would he sit down and eat with today, who are the lowest in terms of the church?

we gotta be more like Jesus, or more and more are gonna fall into the abyss.

How can we, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, make the witness MORE LIKE CHRIST?

just a question....beloved.

 2005/2/17 20:48

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