A retired police officer was arrested and charged with trespassing this week for witnessing to patrons of a New Jersey mall.
David Wells is a former corporal with the Long Branch Police Department, and over the past year, he has spent time sharing his faith at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown. Wells says that he likes to distribute materials from Ray Comfort’s Living Waters Publications to shoppers in hopes that it will cause them to ponder matters of eternity. This past week, he handed out Comfort’s trillion dollar bill tract while asking a “trillion dollar” question.
“I simply approached individuals and asked them if I could ask them a question. If they said no, I left them alone,” Wells explained. “If they said yes I simply asked, ‘Are you going to Heaven?’ How I responded was based on how they answered that question.”
The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled in 1994 in the case of New Jersey Coalition Against War in the Middle East v. J.M.B. Realty Corporation that malls followed the “historical path of free speech,” in the vein of parks, squares and downtown business districts. It allowed citizens to leaflet both inside and outside malls, but did not endorse other forms of expression such as public speeches.
“The mall security came over and immediately told me to stop what I was doing and to leave the property,” he explained. “They indicated that the mall was private property and [that I couldn't distribute tracts there].”
When Wells continued to assert that his activities were not unlawful, he was put in handcuffs and transported to the Eatontown police station for processing. He was formally charged with trespassing and plead not guilty in court on Thursday.
Supporters have launched a petition to defend free speech at the Monmouth Mall.
Swampscott, Massachusetts Selectman Barry Greenfield is pushing a measure to give police the authority to conduct home searches to check proper storage of firearms.
State law requires Massachusetts gun owners to keep their firearms locked away or rendered inoperable.
The problem, he said, is that police do not have the authority, granted by a local ordinance, to enforce the law and inspect the safeguarding of guns at the homes of the 600 registered gun owners in town.
There are “600 registered gun owners in [Swampscott],” and the selectman wants police to be able to drop in unannounced, enter the homes of each gun owner, and verify compliance.
One reader at the Swampscott patch commented, “Must all guys named Barry be fan boys of the early 1940′s German Political Party?”
The Family Research Council (FRC) released a video in time for Veterans Day that warns Americans about the persecution of U.S. troops who express their Christian faith.
The four-minute-and-44 second video, “A Clear and Present Danger,” features active duty members of the U.S. military sharing their concerns about the “tremendous culture of intimidation and fear in the ranks of the American military right now.”
The identities of the men the faces and voices of the man are obscured to cloak their identities.
“In recent years we have witnessed our servicemen and women being attacked for holding to the fundamental truths of their faith,” the text about the video on FRC’s militaryfree.org states. “As these attacks increase, there are many who are taking a stand to defend their religious freedom and that of their comrades.”
A powerful federal appeals court ruled today that a Catholic family-run business does not have to comply with the Obamacare abortion mandate requiring it to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
Francis A. Gilardi, Jr. and Philip M. Gilardi, two brothers who own and control two companies that are involved in the processing, packaging, and transportation of fresh produce, filed suit against the Obama administration on behalf of their business, Freshway Foods, a nearly 25 year old family-owned fresh produce processor and packer, which serves 23 states and has 340 full-time employees.
Both companies are located in Sidney, Ohio, a city in west-central Ohio located about 40 miles north of Dayton. The owners, who are Catholic, contend that the HHS mandate requiring coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs – violates their religious beliefs.
The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals — the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court — ruled in favor of the brothers. Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control and abortion on religious grounds.
“The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court.
Soldiers attending a pre-deployment briefing at Fort Hood say they were told that evangelical Christians and members of the Tea Party were a threat to the nation and that any soldier donating to those groups would be subjected to punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
A soldier who attended the October 17 briefing told journalist Todd Starnes the counter-intelligence agent in charge of the meeting spent nearly a half hour discussing “how evangelical Christians and groups like the American Family Association were ‘tearing the country apart.’”
The soldier said he fears reprisals and asked not to be identified. He said there was a blanket statement that donating to any groups that were considered a threat to the military and government was punishable under military regulations.
Another soldier who attended the briefing alerted the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty. That individual’s recollections of the briefing matched the others in attendance.
On Constitution Day this year, Robert Van Tuinen, an Army veteran and a student at Modesto Junior College (MJC) in California, was trying to pass out copies of the United States Constitution and drum up support for his proposed Young Americans for Liberty chapter on campus. School administrators at MJC didn’t like this and decided to shut him down in spite of the fact that MJC is a public university that must comply with the First Amendment.
Luckily, Van Tuinen caught the entire episode on tape.
Betty and Richard Odgaard, a Mennonite couple, who own and operate the Görtz Haus Gallery, a 77-year-old former church, filed a lawsuit against the Iowa Civil Rights Commission after it threatened them with punitive action for refusing to plan, facilitate and host a same-sex wedding ceremony.
With its religious decorations and architectural elements, the gallery has served as a place to express the Odgaards’ faith for over a decade. One of their favorite ways to do that is hosting wedding ceremonies in the old church’s sanctuary. They personally help plan and host every wedding, and are both at the gallery from morning until night for each wedding ceremony.
“We hire and serve gays and lesbians, and have close friends who are gays and lesbians,” explains Betty Odgaard. “And we respect that good people disagree with our religious conviction against hosting a ceremony that violates our faith. We simply ask that the government not force us to abandon our faith or punish us for it.”
The lawsuit claims, “The Odgaards welcome all customers into the Gallery, regardless of their race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, religion, or disability. The Odgaards cannot, however, host activities or display art that would violate their religious beliefs. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission (“ICRC”) is now seeking to force the Odgaards to plan, facilitate, and host same-sex wedding ceremonies at the Gallery. But although the Odgaards have willingly hired and served gays and lesbians throughout the Gallery’s history, their religious beliefs prevent them from planning, facilitating, or hosting same-sex wedding ceremonies at the Gallery.”
Government school political correctness has now gotten so bad that t-shirts promoting groups Liberal disapprove of, and now banned. The irony is that while the Liberals running this school squirt blood out their ears over the small silhouette of a hunter on the Haley Bullwinkle’s t-short, the school also has a “color guard” that twirls fake rifles, and their school emblem in an Indian, complete with spears.
With these contradictions and feeling that Haley’s first amendment rights were violated, Jeb [Bullwinkle, Haley's father] contacted civil rights attorney Chuck Michel, whose other clients include the NRA and the California Rifle and Pistol Association.
“We’re looking for (the school) to acknowledge that this T-shirt and T-shirts like it aren’t banned by school policy,” Michel said.
“Students don’t leave their First Amendment rights at the door,” he continued, calling it “bologna” to consider a silhouette of a hunter as promoting “violence.”
If this is what the current policy is saying of the shirt, Michel said the color guard’s wooden rifles and mascot show that the school is “applying a double standard.”