A federal judge has determined that Christians may, in fact, preach the Bible where Muslims can hear, in a ruling today that slammed a plan by the city of Dearborn that would have required a minister to give up his rights in order to speak.
U.S. District Judge Denise Page Hood today ruled that the city’s requirement for a minister to sign a “Hold Harmless” agreement before he would be allowed to speak on public property is a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantees of free speech and free assembly.
She quoted from the city’s required “release” that it was demanding Pastor Terry Jones sign before being allowed to speak on public property near the nation’s largest Islamic mosque, which is found in Dearborn.
That would have required that Jones “RELEASE AND FOREVER DISCHARGE the city of Dearborn … and its officers, employees, and agents, from any and all claims, liabilities, or lawsuits, including legal costs and reasonable attorney fees, resulting from their activities on City of Dearborn property.”
The city previously has been cited at fault in a number of conflicts between Christians who want to minister to Muslims and local Muslim groups who want to prevent that message.
In fact, a federal judge recently refused to dismiss a complaint against the city brought by four Christian missionaries arrested at a 2010 Muslim festival. The city earlier was ordered to pay some $100,000 for the arrest a year earlier of a Christian missionary at that same festival.
Today, the judge granted a motion from the Thomas More Law Center for an emergency temporary restraining order so that Jones will be allowed to speak in front of the mosque on Saturday.
Jones and his Stand Up America Now organization applied several weeks ago for a special-events permit to allow Jones to speak Saturday in front of the largest mosque in North America, in Dearborn.
City officials then demanded that Jones essentially surrender all of his legal rights to do so.
The agreement warned participants that “these risks could result in damage to property, personal, and/or bodily injury or death, including injuries or death to the individual participants.”
Notably, the agreement does not have any requirement that the protected actions be reasonable or even legal. Consequently, the waiver could be used as a defense even if police and other authorities further abuse or violate the rights of the Christians.