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hayleyanne
Eleven Christians were arrested on October 10 for praying, singing, and reading scriptures during an annual "gay pride" event known as "Outfest" in Philadelphia. Four out of the eleven were ordered to stand trial because they were seen quoting scripture on a video. The charges include three felony (criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot) and five misdemeanor charges. If convicted, they could face up to 47 years in prison. The City of Philadelphia has labeled the Bible hate speech and called Bible verses "fighting words." (see links below)


Here is a link to the video that recorded their actions:

Philadelphia 5 video

Here's the gist of the story. Most of my links are biased, because the mainstream media really hasn't picked up the story until now. Philadelphia has a gay pride event called 'Outfest'. Michael Marcavage has organized this group (Repent America) that goes around and tells sinners to repent or go to Hell. Repent America has been arrested several times before for going to events like this.

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event. Repent America clearly broke this law, IMO. They went into the middle of the event and started quoting Bible verses and singing hymns. Although no violence occurred, attorneys directed the police to arrest Repent America members for inciting a riot.

Instead of simply being charged with misdemeanors, the lawyers asked the DOJ to charge Repent America with hate speech (Bible verses) and instruments of violence (a bullhorn). Because of this, these guys are facing 47 years in prison each and $90,000 in fines.


http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/inpublic.asp

http://www.ks-ra.org/thirdcircuit.htm

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/printer-...RTICLE_ID=41705

http://www.afa.net/clp/ReleaseDetail.asp?id=81

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article....RTICLE_ID=42287

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article....RTICLE_ID=42337







Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible
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Ptarmigan
Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible


I couldn't really say much on question 1), not really knowing what the difference is, but for question 2).....

a) Can people be charged with hate speech if they quote from the Qu'aran ?
Because if America, as an officially secular country exempts quotations from the Bible from ever being 'hate speech' then the holy books of all recognised religions then have to be equally exempted.

cool.gif The Bible is not universally recognised as objectively true. So anything in the Bible is essentially an opinion..of both the person who wrote it and the person who reads it and is taking meaning from it. If you are a Christian then you may believe all of it or you may believe some of it and interpretations vary hugely. So by quoting the Bible, someone is relaying an opinion, not an objective fact. Why then should it be any more exempt from hate speech than any other collection of opinions?
hayleyanne
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jan 14 2005, 08:43 AM)
Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible


I couldn't really say much on question 1), not really knowing what the difference is, but for question 2).....

a) Can people be charged with hate speech if they quote from the Qu'aran ?
Because if America, as an officially secular country exempts quotations from the Bible from ever being 'hate speech' then the holy books of all recognised religions then have to be equally exempted.

cool.gif The Bible is not universally recognised as objectively true. So anything in the Bible is essentially an opinion..of both the person who wrote it and the person who reads it and is taking meaning from it. If you are a Christian then you may believe all of it or you may believe some of it and interpretations vary hugely. So by quoting the Bible, someone is relaying an opinion, not an objective fact. Why then should it be any more exempt from hate speech than any other collection of opinions?
*



I didn't mean to imply that the Bible was off limits because some people view it as the word of God. What I was asking was: How could the Bible verses (which state that a person should refrain from homosexual conduct) be construed as "Hate Speech"?
Julian
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 14 2005, 04:31 PM)
How could the Bible verses (which state that a person should refrain from homosexual conduct) be construed as "Hate Speech"?
*



Easy - shout them in the middle of a Gay Pride rally you've been legally barred from attending. Just the same as if they'd gatecrashed a private Wiccan event and started mouthing off about not suffering witches to live.

It isn't the words they spoke that constitute the "hate speech", it's how and when they chose to say them.

I'm not really saying this is a ruling or a law that I agree with - if we must have laws limiting free speech, I prefer laws that ban verbal incitement of third parties to hatred, rather than ones that simply bar people from expressing their own hatred - but I don't see how anyone can say it isn't a reasonable ruling in application of that law.
Artemise
hayleyanne,

No links are posted, or none are in any kind of working order. We cannot take this as 'gospel', lol. Please provide useful information so that we can debate other than just an open, unsubstantiated accusation.

Thanks.
quarkhead
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 14 2005, 07:31 AM)
QUOTE(Ptarmigan @ Jan 14 2005, 08:43 AM)
Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible


I couldn't really say much on question 1), not really knowing what the difference is, but for question 2).....

a) Can people be charged with hate speech if they quote from the Qu'aran ?
Because if America, as an officially secular country exempts quotations from the Bible from ever being 'hate speech' then the holy books of all recognised religions then have to be equally exempted.

cool.gif The Bible is not universally recognised as objectively true. So anything in the Bible is essentially an opinion..of both the person who wrote it and the person who reads it and is taking meaning from it. If you are a Christian then you may believe all of it or you may believe some of it and interpretations vary hugely. So by quoting the Bible, someone is relaying an opinion, not an objective fact. Why then should it be any more exempt from hate speech than any other collection of opinions?
*



I didn't mean to imply that the Bible was off limits because some people view it as the word of God. What I was asking was: How could the Bible verses (which state that a person should refrain from homosexual conduct) be construed as "Hate Speech"?
*



It could have been the Leviticus 20 bit, which many evangelicals have held calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. Of course, translations are always open to interpretation, but on the surface, this verse does seem to call for execution. They could have been shouting that one.

As for question one, it really depends on the circumstances of the case; I'll wait a bit until the truth can be sifted out from the media hoopla.

As for two, of course. If there are hate speech laws, then there are definitely parts of the Bible which qualify! Such laws don't bar one from reading or saying anything, only from saying them in the wrong place at the wrong time to the wrong person.
yehoshua
  1. Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?

    Hmm hmmm.gif . Last time I checked we had the freedom of speech in this country. I guess my question is did these protesters have the right permits? Or could they be covered by the event coordinators permit?

    QUOTE(Julian @ Posted Today, 07:57 AM)
      Easy - shout them in the middle of a Gay Pride rally you've been legally barred from attending. Just the same as if they'd gatecrashed a private Wiccan event and started mouthing off about not suffering witches to live.
    I am gonna have to disagree with this point. If we never allowed are protesters to scream then we would not be allowing freedom of speech. Look at the RNC or the DNC. At the RNC people were carrying dolls of Bush hanging from a noose. Does this mean treason? Is this hate speech? Nope. Just people so emotional expressing their views.

    I think what we have here is a bit of an argument between those who choose a gay life style verses those who choose against the gay life style. As the gay activist like to point out, they're civil rights are being violated. Will the supreme court allows black protest in white neighborhoods, white protest in black neighborhoods, so it will allow gay protest among heterosexuals, while allowing heterosexual protest among homosexuals.

    Who cares what they are screaming if they don't kill someone. The reason to 'outlaw' hate speech is to outlaw 'hate' crimes. Does this mean that every group I disapprove and feel 'threaten' by I can claim they are speaking hate speech? Very well then I feel threaten by the homosexuals having a protest to coming out. I think they may force me to come out. And if I don't they will have me arrested for saying no. Ridiculous? Yes. That is what this whole 'hate' speech thing is.

    Solving? Add on the permit a check box that says there might be hate speech. Then when that box is checked extra security will need to be paid for by event organizers. Secondly if you a group with well documented 'hate crimes' against or by you, then that box must be automatically checked. Case solved. With the extra police force, anyone acting outside the means of civil order will be arrested.

  2. Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible

    No quote ever is a hate speech, even if the quote said "Vote or Die." To me there is no such thing as 'hate' speech, just ultra sensative people afraid of the actions that hate speech leads to.
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 14 2005, 09:25 AM)
Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible

1. The probable cause for a violation is totally in the judgment of the DA on most any violation of law, from accounts I’ve heard on Fox News the DA is biased against Christians.

Your link didn’t work and the only thing I saw on Fox News was a clip of the Christians on bullhorns and the gay group gathering around them with foam insulation to obscure the bullhorn.

The accounts on the O’Reilly program didn’t sound as if the Christians had said anything to incite a riot but was really raining on the parade for the gays.

I think these people should get very good legal council and I think the city should consider not issuing permits for the gay activities until appropriate police control be established to handle a half dozen militant Christians. My nephew was in that parade maybe he has a link of the full incident? I’ll be back.


2. I wasn’t even aware there was such a thing as hate speech, how does that fit into the constitution? I know screaming fire in a theater is an instance where freedom of speech is limited but a person cannot say unpleasant words about another person? Guess that will have to be addressed in the high courts whether the “hateful” words were just made up or read from the bible. Is it against the law to call a gay an “F” word? How about a black person an “N” word? Are the rules the same if you are also gay or black or black and gay or do you still break the law?

Doesn’t this sound like a convention of 2,000 bald guys being solicited by a half dozen aggressive hair transplant specialist?

Edited to add the last sentence.
brianlarry
The question for a conservative Christian to ask himself is this: What legal action and punishment would be appropriate for Islamic activists who used the same methods amongst a group of Christian demonstrators who were legally assembled?

Regarding hate speech--If someone quotes a text that says "convert or I will strike in god's name"--does the fact that they are quoting a religious text mean that the courts shouldn't consider their words a threat?

I don't believe whether one is quoting or not is relevant. If one means the words he is saying--what difference does it make where he got them? We are responsible for our words. If those words do not go beyond our right to free speech, then they are protected by that right. If we mean them as a threat and therefore violate someone else's rights then they are illegal regardless of where we found them.

Finally, don't get me wrong, there is a clear difference between saying "God will strike you down" or "God will send you to hell" or "God will punish the infidels"
and
"God wants us to kill the infidels" or "God says we must strike...". or "I will____ in the name of God".

The first group are warnings about actions that may be taken by a supreme being we do not control. It's likely one's opposition doesn't agree he will do those things and doesn't believe the people speaking have any real understanding of god's intentions (or whether he even exist).

The second group says they intend to carry out the purpose of god--take matters into their own hands. Regardless of whether the words come from "texts" or not, regardless of whether they are quoting or not--they are responsible for their words (and threatened actions) and responsible if they violate the law.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(Artemise @ Jan 14 2005, 11:09 AM)
hayleyanne,

No links are posted, or none are in any kind of working order. We cannot take this as 'gospel', lol. Please provide useful information so that we can debate other than just an open, unsubstantiated accusation.

Thanks.
*



Done and done. Sorry about that! The hyperlink didn't carry over with my cut and paste and I was in a hurry this morning when I posted them. I can't pull the video link for some reason.
Google
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(brianlarry @ Jan 14 2005, 05:27 PM)
Regarding hate speech--If someone quotes a text that says "convert or I will strike in god's name"--does the fact that they are quoting a religious text mean that the courts shouldn't consider their words a threat?


The report I watched on Fox news displayed the Christians saying we love you, you are sick, we love you and that is why we want to help you. That is raining on a gay parade. Perhaps the words you refer were also spoken.

I worked as a Military Police for years and am not familiar with hate speech. In the military we have provoking speech and gestures offence that involves the provocation of action from an otherwise docile party. However, when dealing with threat the ability to deliver is always in the forefront. If a 100 pound woman threatens a WWE professional wrestler she is going to rip off his arm and beat him senseless with it then it is not assault or provoking. If the reverse were true then it places the weaker party in fear. When a cop confronts a man with a knife of near equal size and weight his firearm is not first choice, he must subdue with least possible force, perhaps a nightstick or pepper spray.

With the size of the crowd in comparison these Christians were raining on a parade and incapable of inflicting harm to the mass crowd other than hurting their feelings. It sounds like free speech to me, but I could be wrong. Kind of like the bald convention being beat up by a half dozen hair transplanters they can only distract from the event and nothing more.
hayleyanne
QUOTE
It isn't the words they spoke that constitute the "hate speech", it's how and when they chose to say them.

I'm not really saying this is a ruling or a law that I agree with - if we must have laws limiting free speech, I prefer laws that ban verbal incitement of third parties to hatred, rather than ones that simply bar people from expressing their own hatred - but I don't see how anyone can say it isn't a reasonable ruling in application of that law.


I certainly hope that is the law! They can quote anything they like -- the dividing line ought to be what it is under the 1st amendment-- I.E. Unless they are "fighting words" meant solely to incite violence -- the speech is protected.


QUOTE
It could have been the Leviticus 20 bit, which many evangelicals have held calls for the death penalty for homosexuals. Of course, translations are always open to interpretation, but on the surface, this verse does seem to call for execution. They could have been shouting that one.

As for question one, it really depends on the circumstances of the case; I'll wait a bit until the truth can be sifted out from the media hoopla.

As for two, of course. If there are hate speech laws, then there are definitely parts of the Bible which qualify! Such laws don't bar one from reading or saying anything, only from saying them in the wrong place at the wrong time to the wrong person.


I hope the "hate speech" law does not infringe on our constitutional rights under the first amendment. 1st amendment law says we don't regulate speech based on its the content. Speech loses its protection however, if it is meant to incite violence. The law calls this "fighting words". IMO -- let them shout out leviticus from the old testament -- or kill all the infidels from the Koran-- I don't care and I would expect that our constitution protects it. Unless of course these words were meant solely to incite a riot. IMO these people were proselytizing--not trying to incite a riot. Their speech should be protected. If they broke the time, place and manner restrictions on their speech then they should be charged with a misdemeanor. But a felony? I think there is some bias at work against Christians here.
brianlarry
QUOTE(Ol Sarge @ Jan 14 2005, 10:16 PM)
QUOTE(brianlarry @ Jan 14 2005, 05:27 PM)
Regarding hate speech--If someone quotes a text that says "convert or I will strike in god's name"--does the fact that they are quoting a religious text mean that the courts shouldn't consider their words a threat?


The report I watched on Fox news displayed the Christians saying we love you, you are sick, we love you and that is why we want to help you. That is raining on a gay parade. Perhaps the words you refer were also spoken.
*



I actually agree with you and I doubt the quote I used above was actually spoken. I was using an extreme possibility to demonstrate that whether one is "quoting scripture" is irrelevant. One is responsible for one's words and intent.

If harsh words were spoken they were probably more along the lines of "God will punish you" than "I will punish you in God's name" (vastly different as I pointed out later in my post). Hopefully neither phrase was used.
bigmrpig
I don't feel where something is quoted from is relavent to anything. If I quote a book that says that all half-asian people are sinful and deserve to die (I use this example in an attempt not to offend anyone; I myself am half-asian), it's still racism even if I'm only quoting, and yelling this out in a public square should definitely be against the law. Especially if I knew an innumerable amount of half-asians would be present.

Now this is slightly different, because gays are not a race, but as I understand it, they are protected under hate crime laws (at least where this incident occurred, I believe. I read about it somewhere but unfortunately do not have the link or any proof, but the point stands that it is said out of hate whether they are protected or not).

But if I was with a bunch of my straight friends, and a few gays came up and starting yelling through a bullhorn that according to a book they were holding, my attitude was wrong and I will be eternally punished for it, I would unquestionably want them arrested. It is simply not an acceptable thing to do.

The other issue I find with this is that they seemed to have no goal other than to cause controversy and spark hatred between Christians and gays. They surely would have known that yelling through a bullhorn that being gay is sinful would never convert anyone, especially in an area where so many people were gay and everyone disagreed with the beliefs. It doesn't even have the possibility of peer pressure to cause conversion.

But on to the legal point, I do disagree with them being put in jail for so long. Although this is a maximum penalty as I understand it, assuming guilty of all charges, and I somehow doubt they will get anywhere close to 40+ years in prison, just because it's possible.

Imprisonment at all though? Is that acceptable in this case? I believe it is. Public hatred, even if it's disguised as an attempt to convert (which offends me greatly in itself, where these people are using their right to free speech to say that others' inarguably legit use of freedom of religion is wrong, since the use of free speech in such a way is far more questionable than the religious side).

I also believe imprisonment is a perfectly valid punishment because they were, in effect, attempting to destroy the gays' rights to peacably assemble. Saying that the cause they are peacably assembling for is wrong in such a hostile fashion as going in and yelling with bullhorns and big signs is simply not acceptable in my view. They have the right to make a lifestyle choice, they have the right to choose not to have the beliefs of the Christians, they have the right to peacably assemble, and they have the right to persue happiness. There is no way in my mind that the Christians' use of free speech in an attempt to disrupt all of said rights being used by the gays can be argued acceptable.
hayleyanne
The threshold test for "fighting words" is much higher than to ask whether the man was sincere in his attempt to convert. It truly looks to whether the speech was violent and intended to incite violence.

Here is some description of the doctrine of "fighting words" from a great link (cited at the end)


QUOTE
Generally, if an individual engages in any threatening conduct in addition to verbal assaults, a fighting-words charge is more likely to stick. Many courts will look to the totality of the circumstances to see if profane or insulting language was accompanied by any threatening behavior or conduct. Some courts find that police officers are held to a higher standard in terms of whether the speech is likely to lead to an immediate breach of the peace. For example, in its 2000 decision in Martilla v. City of Lynchburg, a Virginia appeals court wrote that “the First Amendment requires properly trained police officers to exercise a higher degree of restraint when confronted by disorderly conduct and abusive language.” In other words, a disorderly conduct or breach of the peace charge may more likely be considered fighting words if the recipient of the communication is not a police officer.

In a series of decisions, the Court has curtailed the fighting-words doctrine. Before the end of the decade, the U.S. Supreme Court gave First Amendment protection to a controversial speaker in Terminiello v. City of Chicago. Arthur Terminiello, an ex-Catholic priest, was charged with disorderly conduct after he gave a racist, anti-Semitic speech in a Chicago auditorium to the Christian Veterans of America.

More than a thousand people were outside the auditorium gathering in protest of the meeting. Terminiello criticized the protesters and then criticized various political and racial groups.

Local police charged him with breach of the peace, defined by the trial court as any “misbehavior which violates the public peace and decorum.” The trial court instructed the jury that “misbehavior may constitute a breach of the peace if it stirs the public to anger, invites dispute, brings about a condition of unrest, or creates a disturbance.”

City officials argued that Terminiello could be punished because his speech constituted fighting words. The city’s argument carried the day in a state trial court and two state appeals courts. However, in May 1949, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the conviction by a 5-4 vote. Writing for the majority, Justice William Douglas noted that the lower courts had analyzed the issue as whether the speech constituted fighting words under Chaplinsky.

However, Douglas decided the case on the overly broad nature of the jury instructions.

In one of the most cited passages in First Amendment jurisprudence, Douglas wrote:

Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute. It may indeed serve its high purpose when it induces a condition of unrest, creates dissatisfaction with conditions as they are, or even stirs people to anger. Speech is often provocative and challenging. It may strike at prejudices and preconceptions and have profound unsettling effects as it presses for acceptance of an idea.


http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/Speech...=fighting_words

I have been posting recently on a French board. Over the past couple months I have truly come to appreciate our freedoms as Americans and how we truly have free speech and expression. This has given me a new found respect for the ACLU. Our Constitution protects the speech of this man -- even though he may be a self-promoting hateful idiot. And I am thankful for that --- and the ACLU wink.gif
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(bigmrpig @ Jan 14 2005, 09:18 PM)
I also believe imprisonment is a perfectly valid punishment because they were, in effect, attempting to destroy the gays' rights to peacably assemble. Saying that the cause they are peacably assembling for is wrong in such a hostile fashion as going in and yelling with bullhorns and big signs is simply not acceptable in my view. They have the right to make a lifestyle choice, they have the right to choose not to have the beliefs of the Christians, they have the right to peacably assemble, and they have the right to persue happiness. There is no way in my mind that the Christians' use of free speech in an attempt to disrupt all of said rights being used by the gays can be argued acceptable.

In my early life my parents raised me in the same religious belief of that the Christians at the event felt compelled to “help” the misguided gay people. This religion believes that if you are told the truth of God’s word as they understand the truth and refuse him you will then be damned to hell.

The purpose of the Christians at the gay event was not harm no more than the religion sending people out to neighborhoods to pass out literature in their attempt to do all within their power to save your, or a single soul.

The eleven Christians were heard saying, “you are sinners, we and all humans are sinners but we have a chance for forgiveness for our sins.” Hardly a hateful message yet unwelcome at an event celebrating the opposite of what the Christians were selling or offering. The Christians felt compelled to share the information with the sinners, these same groups visit jails, and soup kitchens and hospitals to share the word their book compels them to solicit. Yes, some of the messages are bitter pills but not presented to persecute the gay gathering but to convert them to believing in the promise they believe in and are compelled to share.

To place your desire to see these Christians in jail for the harm they caused consider this, my half brother and his wife are like thinking to these Christians pending jail. Their son and his soul mate are gay and attended the gay pride celebration. The act on the part of the Christians was that of love towards other humans and pleading with them to save their soul from eternal damnation, as they understand their religion. It was rain on the parade of the party to hear such a serious message in an otherwise festive situation. Apparently this was not the first time the problem had occurred and the “authorities” had been carefully briefed as to “probable cause for a crime(s)” by a higher authority possibly the DA.

This incident is actually unfortunate because the majority of Christians know no harm was intended and by arresting these eleven people a wall will be built of separation by those possessing less love for their fellow man than the ones arrested and the gays will lose ground on becoming mainstream welcome.
Victoria Silverwolf
It's very hard to find any information about this incident that does not come directly from the Religious Right. Here's the best I could do:

"Philadelphia Four" drawing nat'l attention


EDIT: Sorry, registration is required to view the above article.


This appears to be an editorial, so I'm still having trouble getting any hard facts about what happened. I certainly agree with this statement, however:

QUOTE
It seems to us the D.A. must prove that the actions of the Christian protesters, no matter how repulsive, were, in the words of the U.S. Supreme Court, "likely to produce a clear and present danger of a serious substantive evil that rises far above public inconvenience, annoyance or unrest."


I am not a fan at all of laws against "hate speech." When in doubt, the right of free speech must come first. Make no mistake: I think the opinions of the Christian protesters are horribly, terribly, utterly wrong. I also have to give them the right to express these opinions.

To answer the questions directly:

1. Unless there is some evidence that there was behavior that was clearly disruptive or harmful on the part of the protesters, I would agree that this seems to be a huge over-reaction on the part of the police. Nothing new here; police almost always over-react to protesters of any kind.

2. As I said, I don't like "hate speech" laws at all anyway. If we must have such laws, the source of the speech is irrelevant. To me, there is a lot of nasty stuff in the Bible (as well as some good stuff and a lot of stuff which doesn't mean anything at all.)

I am the absolute opposite of the Religious Right, but it looks like they are more or less correct about the unfairness of this incident.
lederuvdapac
There were thousands of people rallying and only a handful of protesters. I don't remember such charges being brought upon the thousands of protesters in NYC during the RNC. Some of their messaes were just as, if not more so, flagrant.

I think the law being used this way is ridiculous. And all this "hate speech" legislation really bugs me. So now you only have the freedom to say what you want if it is good? Why should the courts or anyone decide what is "hate speech"?
brianlarry
QUOTE(Ol Sarge @ Jan 14 2005, 08:43 PM)

This incident is actually unfortunate because the majority of Christians know no harm was intended and by arresting these eleven people a wall will be built of separation by those possessing less love for their fellow man than the ones arrested and the gays will lose ground on becoming mainstream welcome.


Your are right Ol Sarge. I'm sure there are gay activist who would like to see these people fry but they could not help their cause any more than by working to get these Christians the lightest punishment possible or none at all.

Gandhi and King have demonstrated that (where the UK and the US are concerned) if you can make your point while working to minimize the hatred and resentment of the other side--you can win many battles for your cause. Suffering in public (with press coverage) without responding in kind, was key to the success of movements led by both of these men.

If someone who is gay is fortunate enough to be interviewed on the local news regarding these arrests and is asked what punishment is appropriate, he should reply that he doesn't want to see these people suffer at all. Gay activist should even offer to fund their defense.

Christians such as these tend to hurt their own cause if they are juxtaposed against kind and reasonable people who don't seek to return injury for injury. Many Christians don't practice "turning the other cheek" but they all know it's a basic concept of the Christian faith and they can't help but respect those who do practice it.
hayleyanne
Victoria wrote:


QUOTE
1.  Unless there is some evidence that there was behavior that was clearly disruptive or harmful on the part of the protesters, I would agree that this seems to be a huge over-reaction on the part of the police.  Nothing new here; police almost always over-react to protesters of any kind.



Victoria, I agree, the police often times overreact to protest incidents. But if the DA does follow through on the lawyers recommendation of serious charges, I think that is bias as the law does not support that.
Artemise
Imo The Christians were not unlawful. They will not recieve any penalties and certainly not go to jail. There was just some confusion, it was a gay rally and the police arrested the disruptive force.

Even in the case of Terminiello, he was speaking to his peers, not in a public square to incite. I think he is easily protected under free speech, hate speech or not, we have tolerated the Klan for these long years, its just part of our country that free speech is both good or bad.

On the other hand, when one part is to feel threatened of true harm, 'directed' is the difference, than that is no longer free speech, but constitutes a direct threat.

For instance the Klan can talk about segregation, white supremacy etc, but the moment is starts talking about doing something about it that is violent or harmful to others, that is 'hate speech and inciteful".

I dont think these Christians talked of 'doing something', but I think they were edgy with their speech and it was difficlt to tell in a heated moment. The police just removed the source of the problem.

I DO NOT believe for one moment the drivel about these Christians loving their neighbors so much as to go down there and pour their love on them to the point of getting arrested.
Zealots must be recognised for what they are, a people without concept of others right to live as they choose with a belief that they have the one and only answer for everyone, a bit sick in the head. Im sure their own homes could use a little housecleaning before they go out and try to clean up everyone elses lives, so lets not fool ourselves, ol sarge, that this was sme kind of Christian charity. This is Christian meddlesomeness, as they are so prolific at.
Still, I believe they were within their 1st Amm. rights, to be a bunch of wackos tring to inflict upon others their own personal fantasies.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jan 15 2005, 12:30 AM)
There were thousands of people rallying and only a handful of protesters. I don't remember such charges being brought upon the thousands of protesters in NYC during the RNC. Some of their messaes were just as, if not more so, flagrant.

I think the law being used this way is ridiculous. And all this "hate speech" legislation really bugs me. So now you only have the freedom to say what you want if it is good? Why should the courts or anyone decide what is "hate speech"?
*



Lederuvdapac-- I think you are absolutely right. I know I saw reports of the protesters outside the RNC convention in N.Y. being arrested and taken down to the police stations-- but no subsequent serious charges were filed.

It will be interesting to see if charges are filed in this case and what they are. I heard that the story was told on Good Morning America yesterday -- so it appears that the mainstream press is starting to pay attention.

Our courts do decide what type of speech is NOT protected under the first amendment (fighting words). But the threshhold is very very high for speech to be labeled as such. I believe this is different from "hate speech" legislation which actually makes it criminal to say certain things deemed to be hateful. I don't believe that hate speech legislation could pass constitutional muster here in the U.S.

Like I said in another post-- I have been posting on a French board recently. Very interesting things that I have learned. The board actually had to relocate its base from France to the U.S. because French law would not tolerate some of the posts and required a very active role on the part of the moderators.

More importantly though, France just passed a law that makes it illegal to say anything that is viewed as hateful toward gays and women. It shocked me. I have argued with them till I am blue in the face about how that is a bad law and that they ought not to give so much power to their government. They just do not understand how seriously we take our freedom of expression here in the U.S. Their view is that they are somehow more "evolved" or "mature" to recognize that certain groups need protection! Baloney. You don't censor speech. Now actions are a different story. If someone makes a direct personal threat-- they should be hit with the most the law can bring.
Eeyore
It is very difficult to get information about what specifically happened in these arrests, but it seems clear, that the people arrested are committed activists who chose to violate laws in order to make their heartfelt points.

Here is an excerpt about on of those arrested in Philly.

QUOTE
Marcavage and the dozen or so key members of Repent America have traveled around the country. They protested abortion at a Philadelphia convention of obstetricians and gynecologists and rallied in support of ex-Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was ousted in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a judicial building.

In April 2002, Marcavage was hauled away by police for trying to interfere with workers as they covered a Ten Commandments plaque on the Chester County courthouse. In February 2004, he was arrested in San Francisco, where he and other protesters confronted same-sex couples who were in City Hall to get marriage licenses. He was arrested in August 2004 on a Connecticut interstate, where he and another man were in a truck displaying large photographs of aborted fetuses.

Also that month, Marcavage and four others were ejected from the Philadelphia Phillies' annual Gay Community Day after they unfurled a banner that read, "Homosexuality is sin, Christ can set you free." And he was arrested during the Republican National Convention for demonstrating with graphic anti-abortion posters near Madison Square Garden.


Leader of conservative protest group cites 'spiritual battle'

Marcavage clearly is putting himself at the center of the storm. I do not doubt his convictions, but activists of his ilk often find themselves under arrest. And you don't have to be a radical lefty to get arrested at the RNC.
bigmrpig
QUOTE
To place your desire to see these Christians in jail for the harm they caused


I did not say I had a desire to see them in jail, I said I viewed it as a valid and acceptable. If they could come to a resolution that did not involve jail for anyone, as long as it would be harsh enough to stop them from doing it again, I would find that also to be an acceptable punishment.
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(bigmrpig @ Jan 15 2005, 01:29 PM)
QUOTE
To place your desire to see these Christians in jail for the harm they caused


I did not say I had a desire to see them in jail, I said I viewed it as a valid and acceptable. If they could come to a resolution that did not involve jail for anyone, as long as it would be harsh enough to stop them from doing it again, I would find that also to be an acceptable punishment.
*


OK, but your post left me with your position is all speech must be politically correct or go to jail or pay fine. We just don’t agree and I don’t think it would be a nice thing to do if someone made rude comments about your race or sexual preference but it shouldn’t be illegal unless it is stated in such a manner to cause intimidation. I just think the motive and intent of the Christians wasn’t to create division between gays and Christians, it was to merely to try to save their souls.

Gays are a minority, I’m white and my wife Puerto Rican and my family is in a minority. I can demand all I want, gays can demand all they want to be treated exactly 100% equal! The point I try to make is you can litigate and legislate equality but you can’t litigate or legislate love and understanding. When a minority forces the majority to do anything the resistance that was visible becomes invisible but it is still there and compounded by frustration.

Consider the federal government’s view on gays, the Equity/Admiralty Court law considers the rights of gays restricted in the “don’t ask-don’t tell” judgment on gays in the military. This court is outside of the common law of normal citizens constitutional protection but it reflects what the society will endure relating to gay recognition, clearly a lesser equality.

The equality can, and is being litigated and numerous legislations have taken place but to become welcome equally in society requires not litigation and legislation it requires love, tolerance and understanding and arresting everyone in the majority will never get you to your objective.
bigmrpig
QUOTE
We just don’t agree and I don’t think it would be a nice thing to do if someone made rude comments about your race or sexual preference but it shouldn’t be illegal unless it is stated in such a manner to cause intimidation.


I suppose that is where we disagree then, because I <i>do</i> believe that the Philadelphia 11 going to a celebration of gay pride and saying that all those people were sinning with a bullhorn to be intimidation.

On a street corner where nothing was going on, I wouldn't consider this to be anything jailworthy, but it's the fact that they went to a gay pride rally to do it that I find offensive. If I went to a Christian rally with a few of my buddies and we all yelled through bullhorns that Christianity was not only wrong, but that it was also sinful, I don't think I would have any grounds to say I deserve to get away scot-free, especially if I was asked to leave not only by the people participating, but by the police.
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(bigmrpig @ Jan 15 2005, 05:25 PM)
On a street corner where nothing was going on, I wouldn't consider this to be anything jailworthy, but it's the fact that they went to a gay pride rally to do it that I find offensive. If I went to a Christian rally with a few of my buddies and we all yelled through bullhorns that Christianity was not only wrong, but that it was also sinful, I don't think I would have any grounds to say I deserve to get away scot-free, especially if I was asked to leave not only by the people participating, but by the police.

Well, I guess we dissagree. The event was in a public place not a church. Should a group of a couple thousand Christians obtain a permit in the public street and a you and your friends came with bullhorns I would defend your right to free speech equally.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(bigmrpig @ Jan 15 2005, 04:25 PM)
QUOTE
We just don’t agree and I don’t think it would be a nice thing to do if someone made rude comments about your race or sexual preference but it shouldn’t be illegal unless it is stated in such a manner to cause intimidation.


I suppose that is where we disagree then, because I <i>do</i> believe that the Philadelphia 11 going to a celebration of gay pride and saying that all those people were sinning with a bullhorn to be intimidation.

On a street corner where nothing was going on, I wouldn't consider this to be anything jailworthy, but it's the fact that they went to a gay pride rally to do it that I find offensive. If I went to a Christian rally with a few of my buddies and we all yelled through bullhorns that Christianity was not only wrong, but that it was also sinful, I don't think I would have any grounds to say I deserve to get away scot-free, especially if I was asked to leave not only by the people participating, but by the police.
*



I don't think anyone is saying they should get away "scot free". At least I am not. I think the issue boils down to degree. The Phil 5 violated the law-- yes-- no dispute. They violated what would be the reasonable time, place manner restrictions that routinely go with a permit to protest. They should be charged with that violation. But that is not a felony. The disturbing part of this whole story is that it appears that the DA (at the behest of certain attorneys working on behalf of the gay group) is seriously considering charging these people with felonies. That is what crosses the line IMO and also I believe under our Constitution.
Artemise
QUOTE(Ol Sarge @ Jan 15 2005, 11:43 AM)
The equality can, and is being litigated and numerous legislations have taken place but to become welcome equally in society requires not litigation and legislation it requires love, tolerance and understanding and arresting everyone in the majority will never get you to your objective.


The arresting officers were not gay, most likely. As the right to free speech may not allow that these people be charged with any crime, I also dont think we should suggest that the arrests reflect upon the people who legally threw the event, as a point of pivot, changing the argument as if to blame them for the arrests, 'to get to any objective'. The people at the event were not to blame.
Ol Sarge
QUOTE(Artemise @ Jan 16 2005, 06:57 AM)
QUOTE(Ol Sarge @ Jan 15 2005, 11:43 AM)
The equality can, and is being litigated and numerous legislations have taken place but to become welcome equally in society requires not litigation and legislation it requires love, tolerance and understanding and arresting everyone in the majority will never get you to your objective.


The arresting officers were not gay, most likely. As the right to free speech may not allow that these people be charged with any crime, I also dont think we should suggest that the arrests reflect upon the people who legally threw the event, as a point of pivot, changing the argument as if to blame them for the arrests, 'to get to any objective'. The people at the event were not to blame.
*


The Boy Scouts and nativity scene also did not pose probable cause for arrest or restriction in the past. Changes in the interpretation of law changes the manner in which persons or groups are charged. I wasn’t there and can’t compare actions of the Christian group as to whether they displayed actions differing from those considered legal in the past or not.

The Fox News O’Reilly show reported the DA was biased towards gays and against Christians. The event has been going on for several years and “lessons learned” must be part of the government’s after action report from each event. The cops on the street did not change the interpretation of law if the Christians were doing nothing different than in the past, a higher authority briefed the cops of new probable cause for law violation.

Expectation of protection from free speech for a group, be it gays or Christians to expect non-opposing views should be held in a convention center and not on the street in a public arena. To enforce such expectation with legal authority is to change the constitution or its interpretation. Again, I wasn’t there and if the “norm” from the past was exceeded to cause probable cause for a violation then the arrests was warranted.
overlandsailor
QUOTE
Instead of simply being charged with misdemeanors, the lawyers asked the DOJ to charge Repent America with hate speech (Bible verses) and instruments of violence (a bullhorn). Because of this, these guys are facing 47 years in prison each and $90,000 in fines.



As I understand the story Repent America was Directed by the police to move along several times and they chose not to.

They went to this event with large banners, some of which said the people at Outfest were going to hell. Now I personally feel that "hate speech" laws are unconstitutional, as I see them as clear violations of the first Amendment. However, I'd be willing to bet the "hate Speech" charges would be centered on "you're going to hell" and not biblical verses.

Do they have a right to speak? yes. Do they have a right to ignore the 100 yard rule and also ignore the police when told to move along? No. That is what the charges should be based on. And if they failure to follow these instructions resulted in a riot then yes they should be charged with that as well.

My big problem with this group, is their claim that they are trying to live as Jesus did. I cannot recall on verse in the New Testament where Jesus told anyone they were going to hell. Even on the cross when one criminal crucified with him called him a fraud and the other asked for his forgiveness Jesus, according to the biblical account simply turned to the convict seeking forgiveness and said he would see him in his father's kingdom. He never told the other he was going to hell. I simply cannot see how a group like this can truly believe they are following the teaching of Jesus by acting in this manor (I cannot take credit for calling them on this one, as I understand it Bill O'Reily was the first to do so).

The problem I have with their actions is they violated the directives of the city and of the law enforcement officers on the scene. As a result an event that has been peaceful for years came to the brink of violence. They should be charged for all of this, though someone really needs to challenge "Hate Speech" laws in the supreme court.
Bikerdad
In the first post, the claim that the Repent America types were required to stay 100' away BY LAW was made. Kindly provide the law.

Macwhatshisname has been arrested multiple times: have any charges against him been successfully prosecuted? Somehow, I doubt it, otherwise that information would have been included.

I saw the video, which, as far as I know, was taken by a completely independent party. The one's interfering and disrupting where the "Pink Angels", who decided that they would interfere with the movement of the RA folks, obstruct their signs, and attempt to drown out their speech, all of this taking place out in public, not private. The Pink Angels, finding themselves incapable of shutting down speech and expression, in public, turned to the friendly arm of the law.

So, the upshot of this is:

Gay activists, celebrating their free expression in public, believe in free speech, "for me, but not for thee" whistling.gif

Thousands of gay partiers feel threatened by 11 Christians with signs and a bullhorn. wacko.gif

The Philadelphia Police are pragmatic, and would rather take their chances with 11 hardened, radical Christians than a few thousand gay folks.

Diversity at a Gay Pride event is celebrated and welcome, as long as its the Village People sort of diversity. Diversity of opinion, on the other hand...

Philadelphia really is the City of Brotherly Love... tongue.gif
hayleyanne
If you go to the link below and scroll down to "video footage" and click on the link there-- you can see what actually happened at the event.

http://www.afa.net/clp/philly4.asp
Government Mule
(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?

I think that the punishment should be the same that it would be if 2 gay men walked into a church and had anal sex in front of the congregation.


(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible

It is always appropriate to charge someone for shoving their beliefs down the throats of others. Always, everyday, and to the fullest extent to the law. I hope they open Capital Punishment to these types of crimes.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 03:48 PM)
(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?

I think that the punishment should be the same that it would be if 2 gay men walked into a church and had anal sex in front of the congregation.

Which, if you've ever attended a "gay pride" event in a major city, is not so far-fetched.

QUOTE
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible

It is always appropriate to charge someone for shoving their beliefs down the throats of others.  Always, everyday, and to the fullest extent to the law.  I hope they open Capital Punishment to these types of crimes.
*


I can only assume that you're kidding, but just in case:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Our founding fathers, prescient as always, envisioned this exact situation and wrote down exactly what to do about it more than 200 years in advance. Pretty smart guys. All of this in one amendment.

There is no such thing as hate speech, just speech that some people don't like. Many of the same folks bashing these religious zealots for disturbing the peace and offending people would be calling them heroes and martyrs if they were more politically correct, protesting Bushchimphitler or Halliburton or whatever.
Government Mule
QUOTE
Which, if you've ever attended a "gay pride" event in a major city, is not so far-fetched.


Well, I have never ATTENDED one. Have lived in a handful of major cities. Could you please elaborate on the Gay Pride events that you have attended? Thanks in advance.


QUOTE
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.


Does that ASSEMBLE bit only pertain to religious groups?

Sorry, I was not kidding. that is how I truly feel about this topic. Sorry that you don't like it.
lederuvdapac
Ok, i just watched the video and i see absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of the Christian group. They were trying to voice their opinions just like everyone else. They werent aggressive or intimidating anyone. They were just trying to walk and express their freedoms. Yet they were obstructed by others who did not want that message to get across. I do not understand why they would have to move. It is a public street and they are part of the public.

QUOTE(overlandsailor)
The problem I have with their actions is they violated the directives of the city and of the law enforcement officers on the scene. As a result an event that has been peaceful for years came to the brink of violence. They should be charged for all of this, though someone really needs to challenge "Hate Speech" laws in the supreme court.


I agree. "Hate speech" is protected just like burning the flag is. When we start down the politically correct path...it's hard to get out of it.
Government Mule
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jan 17 2005, 03:24 PM)
Ok, i just watched the video and i see absolutely no wrongdoing on the part of the Christian group. They were trying to voice their opinions just like everyone else. They werent aggressive or intimidating anyone.


Ah except for that whole dicey LAW thing that we have:

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event.

They broke the law regardless of your lack of ability to see it.
lederuvdapac
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 05:35 PM)
Ah except for that whole dicey LAW thing that we have:

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event.

They broke the law regardless of your lack of ability to see it.
*



Is this not blatant hyprocrisy when in comparison with the RNC protesters? They have to stay away from an event? That doesnt make any sense. So whenever a gay pride parade is held, all christians must stay away? Is that not a violation of their freedom of expression?
Government Mule
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jan 17 2005, 03:41 PM)
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 05:35 PM)
Ah except for that whole dicey LAW thing that we have:

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event.

They broke the law regardless of your lack of ability to see it.
*



Is this not blatant hyprocrisy when in comparison with the RNC protesters? They have to stay away from an event? That doesnt make any sense. So whenever a gay pride parade is held, all christians must stay away? Is that not a violation of their freedom of expression?
*




Oh leave it to you to pick at an old wound. When in the HECK did this topic mention political parties? Please, for the sake of attempting to make a good argument, stay on topic.

They broke a law. A law that is on the books. Is it your opinion to overlook law breakers? Oh of course it is. You are a Republican. Sorry, forgot. Tell Rush I said "Hi".
hayleyanne
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jan 17 2005, 05:41 PM)
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 05:35 PM)
Ah except for that whole dicey LAW thing that we have:

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event.

They broke the law regardless of your lack of ability to see it.
*



Is this not blatant hyprocrisy when in comparison with the RNC protesters? They have to stay away from an event? That doesnt make any sense. So whenever a gay pride parade is held, all christians must stay away? Is that not a violation of their freedom of expression?
*



Lederuvdapac-- I think the Christian group had the right to protest but under "reasonable time, place and manner restrictions". The government can't stop protests but it can place this type of restriction on them. IF a group violates such a restriction they are breaking the law. But in this case-- it went waaaaaay beyond just citing them for breaking the normal restrictions. Attorneys (for the gay activists) are pushing the DA to actually bring felony charges (including hate speech charges). This is the disturbing part of the whole incident-- if the DA actually brings felony charges.
hayleyanne
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 05:59 PM)
QUOTE(lederuvdapac @ Jan 17 2005, 03:41 PM)
QUOTE(Government Mule @ Jan 17 2005, 05:35 PM)
Ah except for that whole dicey LAW thing that we have:

The law states that Christians must stay 100 feet away from the gay pride event.

They broke the law regardless of your lack of ability to see it.
*



Is this not blatant hyprocrisy when in comparison with the RNC protesters? They have to stay away from an event? That doesnt make any sense. So whenever a gay pride parade is held, all christians must stay away? Is that not a violation of their freedom of expression?
*




Oh leave it to you to pick at an old wound. When in the HECK did this topic mention political parties? Please, for the sake of attempting to make a good argument, stay on topic.

They broke a law. A law that is on the books. Is it your opinion to overlook law breakers? Oh of course it is. You are a Republican. Sorry, forgot. Tell Rush I said "Hi".
*



Lederuvdapac raises an important issue government mule. The protests at the RNC are relevant in comparison. Do you not think that if the "hate speech" charges are actually successfully brought against the Christian group-- that similar charges could not be brought against other groups protesting at a political event?
droop224
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 17 2005, 05:55 AM)
If you go to the link below and scroll down to "video footage" and click on the link there-- you can see what actually happened at the event.

http://www.afa.net/clp/philly4.asp
*



Thanks for the link. I have to say seeing it did change my leanings on this subject quite a bit. The Christians were in no way acting menacing or spewing venomous speech. In fact they were quite controlled an peaceful. I advised people to take a look at the video then form an opinion. If they broke the law the most they should get is fined... calling this hate speech is obscene.

First the 100 feet is not that far, I think most people could sprint it in less than 5 seconds, Second you can't count 100 feet starting at the Gay pride marchers who purposefully stood around the Christian group. Third the gays repeatedly asked what laws they were breaking with out response from the police. The police on their usual power trip found it below them to answer why a citizen is breaking the law, only that the citizen need do as they are told like 2 year old children.

QUOTE
Is this not blatant hyprocrisy when in comparison with the RNC protesters? They have to stay away from an event? That doesnt make any sense. So whenever a gay pride parade is held, all christians must stay away? Is that not a violation of their freedom of expression?


You mean the ones they locked up in cages or had designated protest zones for them to be located at?? No this isn't even close to comparable. But I can see your need to make a comparison that does not exist and call it hypocrisy. laugh.gif laugh.gif thumbsup.gif
Artemise
If I remember the protesters at the RNC were fenced in. The same is happens for the President and Vice President where ever they go there are designated protest 'areas'. The Klan is allowed to hold their parades and Im sure the law for protesters is 100 feet at least. It's just good common sense to avoid rioting.
phaedrus
QUOTE(hayleyanne @ Jan 14 2005, 08:25 AM)
Questions for Debate:

(1) Is it too much to charge these protesters with felony charges and not simple misdemeanors?


I don't blame the police for arresting these people since they were becoming a general nusiance. I didn't see anything criminal happening in the video but I would like to have seen that guys bullhorn taken away.

QUOTE
(2) Is it ever appropriate to charge someone with hate speech when the speech is quotations from the bible
*



I fail to see how singing blessed be the name of the Lord is hatefull. He said something about why Sodom and Gomorah was destroyed but even that wasn't hatefull, a little obnoxious, but certainly not hatefull. I went to a Klan rally years ago just out of curiosity, I'll never make that mistake again. There were maybe a dozen supporters there and about a hundred protestors flying the bird like a flag. No one was arrested for hate speach even though flipping someone off could be considered somewhat hatefull. Its a good thing the protestors I saw didn't try that in Philidelphia, they would have gotten the chair.
Bikerdad
Again with the "100 foot law". I've already asked once, give us the citation for this law that some of y'all are claiming as justification, because I've never heard of it.


Edited for font size.
Paladin Elspeth
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."--Martin Luther King, Jr.

That is what we need to keep in mind when debating this issue. Why are the protestors of the gay marchers out there? Check out their signs--you can pretty much tell the mindset of the placard holder by what is written there. Is it a message of mercy and redemption for those the demonstrator truly believes are God's children who need to be rescued from wrongdoing?

Or is the sign angry, condemnatory? F----ts burn in hell? Is this the sign of one who cares for his fellow man? Or is it hatred and intolerance, because "the Bible tells him so"?

I don't believe that what the protestors did sinks (why do we usually say "rises" if it is something bad?) to the level of a felony; it's probably a misdemeanor offense. I would see it as a felony if it was against a high government official like the President, but we folks lower down the food chain typically do not merit that kind of consideration in the eyes of the law. In bar rooms across America, brawls take place and, even if someone sustains injury during the brawl, usually the one ruled to be responsible for it is charged with a misdemeanor offense.

And I do believe that some Bible verses do equate to hate speech and should be treated as such. One Old Testament verse reads, "Suffer not a witch to live." Should believers then kill Wiccans? Of course not. Would yelling this Bible verse at a Wiccan gathering constitute hate speech and be looked upon as a threat? You'd better believe it.

When we agree to live together as a society, we tacitly agree to get along with other members of that society, whether their color/religion/spirituality is the same as ours or not. But the only way to open up communication with someone whose beliefs and practices are divergent from our own is to show respect for that other person first, and to be willing to listen to the other point of view, not just prepare our rebuttal while the other person is talking. It's hard to get another person to enter into dialogue with you if you're holding a sign saying that s/he is "going to Hell."
hayleyanne
Bikerdad-- I think people are getting the "100 foot law" from some of the descriptions (in the links) of what the police were telling the protesters. That they had to back off 100 feet. I am assuming that is what it was. Either they got a permit to protest with that restriction. Or the law said--if you don't have a permit-- you must stay 100 feet away. I am not sure which is the case.


QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Jan 18 2005, 01:53 AM)
Again with the "100 foot law".  I've already asked once, give us the citation for this law that some of y'all are claiming as justification, because I've never heard of it.
*



text size edited in the quote
Artemise
Nope, you are right Bikerdad, I have looked through and through and there is no distance law. That is very good news.
Some states have enacted distance laws for protesters in front of abortion clinics.

On the Aclu's Washington site they do mention that if asked to disperse or move by police, not doing so can mean arrest and charges. I suppose this goes for most states.

I was not able to see all 7 minutes of the video for what keeps coming up as Network error. If the 'christians' wanted to crash the party and the 'gays' decided to surround them and blow whistles, I think they were well within their rights as well. Marcavage called this harrassment in the video, a bizarre sort of hypocrisy.

Obviously the police thought that eventually there would be trouble and asked Mr. Marcavage and his group to move, which they did twice but refused a third time, Mr. Marcavage sat down on the street and was removed by arrest. Im sure we can see some paralells of this treatment in all protests, although usually the police are beating the hell out of and pepper spraying the protesters and dragging them away.

Pennsylvania has enacted hate crimes legislation some time back and had recently amended Hate-Crimes Law to include Anti-LGBT Motivated Violence.
This is what is behind the charges. The judge decreed that they be released but not allowed within 100 yards of any gay events, which they are appealing.

I think the charges are bogus and will be dropped, but it will not be the last we see of Michael Marcavage, who is making quite a martyr of himself. These are not your average christians btw.
http://www.repentamerica.com


(I wonder what would happen if someone organized a whole lotta people to go around on sundays all over the country with bullhorns in front of churches, on sidewalks, obeying the law but calling christians, insane-fantasy ridden freaks and zealots who have losts their collective minds. Do you think they'd take well to it and consider my constitutional rights to do so? Because the way these nutters are getting with their evangelism I am considering it should be done.)
Paladin Elspeth
Marcavage knew what he was doing. He knew that the police would rather arrest him than put up with the awkwardness of the situation. He had become a nuisance and was not doing what he was told. Police do this to lefties under the same circumstances. That is how it is in America these days.

I watched the video and scanned the Repent America site. It does not seem hateful, but to gays marching in a Pride parade, I can see where they would consider the presence of Marcavage and his like-minded companions unwelcome.
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