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Denny
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 199
Virginia

 Judge drops all charges against Philly Christians

Judge drops all charges
against Philly Christians
Adults who evangelized at homosexual event vindicated, teen girl likely off hook tomorrow

Posted: February 17, 2005
12:33 p.m. Eastern


 2005 WorldNetDaily.com

In what is being hailed as a victory for free speech, a judge in Philadelphia today dismissed all criminal charges against four Christians who were arrested for evangelizing at an outdoor homosexual event.

Judge Pamela Dembe of the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas dismissed the charges, saying that she found no basis whatsoever for any of them.

"We are one of the very few countries that protects unpopular speech," Dembe said after viewing a videotape of the arrests. "And that means that Nazis can March in Skokie, Ill. ... That means that the Ku Klux Klan can march where they wish to. We cannot stifle speech because we don't want to hear it, or we don't want to hear it now."

As WorldNetDaily reported, on Oct. 10, a group of 11 Christians was "preaching God's Word" to a crowd of people attending the Philadelphia "OutFest" event and displaying banners with biblical messages.

After a confrontation with a group called the Pink Angels, described by protesters as "a militant mob of homosexuals," the Christians were arrested and spent a night in jail.

Eight charges were filed: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways.

None of the Pink Angels was cited or arrested.

After a preliminary hearing in December, Judge William Austin Meehan ordered four of the Christians to stand trial on three felony and five misdemeanor charges. If convicted, each could have received a maximum of 47 years in prison. One female teenage protester faces charges in the juvenile justice system, but those charges likely will be dropped tomorrow.

"The judge saw this case for what it is," Joe Infranco, senior counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said in a statement. "This was the right response to an outrageous abuse of power to silence speech that some people didn't like.

"What took place here was a government crackdown on disfavored speech. The OutFest participants staged a national coming-out day on a public street using public funds, and then they tried to say it's a private event. That didn't make any sense, and neither did the actions of the police. …"

Bruce Fahling is senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy and has worked on behalf of the Christians in the federal courts.

"We are pleased and relieved for our clients that justice has finally been done in the criminal system, and though it is apparently slow and rusty, the system still works," Fahling said in a statement.

"This ends only the first chapter in the 'Philadelphia 11' saga. The next chapter is federal action against the officers and city of Philadelphia. We are still calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the corruption and profound abuse of power that we have seen in Philadelphia."

Dembe is the judge who last month removed the bail requirement that the defendants stay at least 100 feet away from any homosexual gathering.

[url=http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=42905]WorldNet Daily[/url]


_________________
Dennis Green

 2005/2/17 21:26Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Judge drops all charges against Philly Christians

Glad to hear that there is still some sanity out there. In all honesty couldn't fathom this going through in the first place. It would have been beyond absurd, beyond even the charges.

But now that it has, am left to wonder about the continuance of pursuing the matter further.

Quote:
"This ends only the first chapter in the 'Philadelphia 11' saga. The next chapter is federal action against the officers and city of Philadelphia. We are still calling for the Department of Justice to investigate the corruption and profound abuse of power that we have seen in Philadelphia."


There may be more to it than we know and not to get off on another controversy, but couldn't they just forgive them?


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Mike Balog

 2005/2/17 21:53Profile
sermonindex
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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 37631
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11

Online!
 Re:

[img]https://www.sermonindex.net/images/forum/2004/may/featured_news.gif[/img]

[b]Philadelphia Judge Clears Anti-Gay Group of Hate Crimes[/b]

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - A judge dismissed charges on Thursday against four anti-gay Christians accused of violating hate crime laws when protesting at a gay street festival, saying free speech rights allowed them to do so.

Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe said the four members of "Repent America" exercised their right to free speech when they refused to move away from the city's gay pride "Outfest" last October.

The protesters used bullhorns and placards to warn festival participants that they would suffer eternal damnation for their homosexual behavior. After a noisy, nonviolent confrontation with gay people, they were charged with incitement to riot, and violating a 1982 Pennsylvania law that bars inciting hatred on the basis of race, color, religion, nationality or sexuality.

"You cannot stifle free speech because you don't want to hear it," Dembe said. "Many of these messages may be repulsive and offensive but people are allowed to make them.

The right to free speech extends to neo-Nazis marching in towns where Holocaust survivors live and to the Ku Klux Klan, the judge told a packed courtroom.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2005/2/20 11:58Profile
Denny
Member



Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 199
Virginia

 Re:

Being a person who ministers on the street on a regular basis, I also ask myself this question at times.

There have been many times when I could have brought charges against people who assualted me or those with me. I never have.

The issue here is somewhat different. It isn't whether we forgive or not. I have already spoken to my arresting officer (Feb 17) to let him know that I harbor no hard feelings toward him.

The issue here is whether the law is being abused to prosecute Christians unlawfully. We are a nation ruled by law. When the authorities break the law, they must be held accountable just as we, the citizens.

I see a great difference between personal forgiveness and seeking to make the authorities obey the law they they have been sworn to uphold. Our form government affords us the ability to rein in individuals and agencies that are acting unlawfully. The actions taken in Philly by the police are not isolated. Christians who speak out in public in Philly are often arrested and harrassed. This is unlawful.

In a nation that does not allow us to appeal to "Caesar", such as China or Cuba, we would have to stand for the truth whether the cost is high or not. In America, we have the right, under our form of government, to "require" the unlawful actions of the police to cease. This is where the courts come into play.

I am still working out all of my own views regarding the matter of lawsuits and am still open to hear an opposing view. I think a suit can be brought for good purposes or for wrong motives.

Pray that we and our lawyers pursue that way which brings the most glory to the Father.


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Dennis Green

 2005/2/22 17:19Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re: Forgiveness

Hi Denny,

Thanks brother. Appreciate your output here since you were directly involved and sensed there would be much more to it than that.

Maybe part of what I was thinking was in the fear that this would or could end up getting built up in the media again this time with more misunderstanding of intent as the matter is pursued. In one way wouldn't what happened now basically cause them to look a lot harder at the issue anyway? I don't really know brother, but can sense your dilemma and hopefully we can all take to heart what you said here:

Quote:
Pray that we and our lawyers pursue that way which brings the most glory to the Father



Will do this.


_________________
Mike Balog

 2005/2/23 0:12Profile
Angyl
Member



Joined: 2005/1/26
Posts: 153


 Re:

Denny,

Brother I'm glad you handled this situation so well. I agree with you asfar as taking further action against those who perpetrated the TRUE crime here. If we sit idly by and let such corruption continue without rebuke or reproach, evil will be emboldened and such actions will continue unabated or even get worse. We need to send a message that this type of illegal activity...even from law enforcement...will not be tolerated.

More power (and my prayers) to ya.

 2005/2/24 13:20Profile





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