Freedom of Speech and Religion and Illegal Police Repression

 

Freedom of Speech and Religion and Illegal Police Repression

I’ve appreciated the fact that we can depend on the police department to provide safety and protection in many different ways and on many diverse occasions. We can all vouch for the officers’ tireless service and responsible activity in the city of Fort Worth.

Sadly, there is one area that needs improvement.  Bud Kennedy, a liberal Star-Telegram columnist, laments that a street preacher by the name of Joey Faust was arrested last week at the annual homosexual “pride” parade in town.  (Star-Telegram, Oct. 12, 2012) He slanders Faust’s church’s denunciation of the occult, Catholicism, Mormonism, ecumenicalism, and magic.  Kennedy apparently doesn’t like the sin of sodomy to be publicly denounced either.  His negative accusation: “The 21st century has not yet reached his corner of Johnson County”—the location of Faust’s church.

I know little about Joey or his church.  But it is apparent from Kennedy’s biased article that this preacher was well within the First Amendment’s rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The article says that the police were “blocking a Main Street sidewalk.” A police officer said, “If you take a step across the line, I’ll arrest you.” Faust explained, “So I took a step across the line.”  The preacher and his companion were taken to jail and faced a six months sentence and a $2,000 fine for his continuing to preach in accordance with his legal rights. (Later they were released.)

This appears to be a clear case of illegal prohibition on the part of the police.  I know what this is like. I have attempted to distribute Christian literature on the side walks around the Convention Center and the police have sometimes hindered this freedom.  (I had even checked with and obtained permission from the assistant city attorney beforehand.)  The police went so far as to threaten that if I did not cease distributing literature there, he would take me to jail!

While I would not agree with some of Faust’s convictions (such as his use of the King James version exclusively), he surely does have the right to preach in public providing he does not hinder the flow of traffic, or speak too loudly, or preach where such is illegal.  Since I have experienced the police’s illegal hindrance of preaching and distribution, I do know that the police department needs to instruct their personnel more accurately.

I am led to think that a reason for this illegal prohibition of the right to preach and right to religious expression is that some officers may be sympathetic to the sin of homosexuality. And in my case, they may have wanted to appease convention center leadership.  Either way, First Amendment rights should not be denied.

–Richard Hollerman

Because the local newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) usually limits letters to a mere 200 words, I supplied them with the following abridged version:

 

Freedom of Speech and Religion and Illegal Police Repression

The police department provides safety and protection in many different ways and on many diverse occasions.

One area needs improvement.  Bud Kennedy, liberal Star-Telegram columnist, laments that a street preacher, Joey Faust, was arrested at the annual homosexual “pride” parade.  He slanders Faust’s church’s denunciation of the occult, Catholicism, Mormonism, ecumenicalism, and magic.  And he calls Faust an “obnoxious street preacher.”

I know little about Joey or his church.  But it is apparent from Kennedy’s biased article that this preacher was well within the First Amendment’s rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion.  The article says that the police were “blocking a Main Street sidewalk.” A police officer said, “If you take a step across the line, I’ll arrest you.” Faust explained, “So I took a step across the line,” and he thus was taken to jail.

This appears to be a clear case of illegal prohibition on the part of the police.  Faust surely has the right to preach in public providing he does not hinder the flow of traffic, or speak too loudly, or preach where such is illegal.  The police department needs to instruct their personnel more accurately. First Amendment rights should not be denied.

–Richard Hollerman (200 words)

 

An Additional Clarification

Nothing I have stated in this letter should be construed to mean that I support or commend Joey Faust.  I believe that he is a false teacher to some extent. While he is on firm Biblical ground to denounce sodomy, the occult, and various false doctrines and false religions, he is not blameless himself.  He holds to a strange doctrine that says lukewarm believers will be sent to hell for the millennium and after this be allowed to enter God’s presence for all eternity.  He believes in unconditional eternal security—after the millennium!  And, of course, he rejects Biblical baptism. 

He is a strong proponent of the King James Version of the Bible!  At one time I photographed the front of his church and I think at that time it was called something like “The King James Only Church,” or something like that. He denounces other translations, even those standard versions that are more accurate and contemporary. 

I’ve never heard Faust preach on the streets, thus I can’t assess whether he is kind and compassionate. We know that although one may be fervent, he may be harsh and unkind. Therefore, this aspect of his preaching is unknown. Obviously, the homosexuals regard his outreach in negative terms.

Thus, in questioning the failure of the police to give him and his followers the ability to preach publicly, we likewise must point out his own errors.

 

 

 

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