#AceNewsServices – UNITED STATES (Texas) – June 14 – After they were arrested nearly two years ago for sharing the Gospel on a side-walk during a gay pride parade, street preachers Joseph Faust and Ramon Marroquin embarked on a legal battle to clear their name and enshrine their First Amendment Rights.
The ordeal began in October 2012, when the pair preached – using only their own un-amplified voices – as the parade passed. When police believed they were attempting to cross a barricade, reports indicate they were arrested while still standing firmly on the public side-walk.
Authorities asserted the preachers were interfering with the officers’ duties, despite the fact that plenty of other onlookers were apparently allowed access to the area beyond the barricade. Fortunately for the duo, advocates with the Rutherford Institute took on their cause and presented a case that ultimately led to the favourable appeals court result.
VICTORY: Texas Court Affirms First Amendment Rights of Street Preachers Arrested for Engaging in Side-walk Protest… http://t.co/jyWgDn2M7k
— The Rutherford Inst. (@Rutherford_Inst) June 13, 2014
A legal team argued that Faust and Marroquin had their right to free expression curtailed due to their religious affiliation.
The court’s decision concurred, explaining the “skirmish line” guarded by police “prohibited all members of the church from exercising their right of free speech merely because of their association with the church.”
While expressing his disapproval of the officer’s actions, Rutherford Institute President John Whitehead celebrated his clients’ court victory.
The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is also the first section of the Bill of Rights. It is arguably the most important part of the U.S. Constitution, as it guarantees freedoms of religion, speech, writing and publishing, peaceful assembly, and the freedom to raise grievances with the Government. In addition, it requires that a wall of separation be maintained between church and state. It reads:
"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."
Its origins in the Virginia bill on religious freedom:
The roots of the First Amendment can be traced to a bill written by Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) in 1777 and proposed to the Virginia Legislature in 1779. 1It guaranteed freedom of (and from) religion. After an impassioned speech by James Madison, and after some amendments, it became law in that state on 1786-JAN-16. 2
How the first amendment was written:
In the spring of 1778, the Constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia, PA. They resolved three main religious controversies. They:
|Decided that there would be no religious test, oath or other requirement for any federal elected office.|
|Allowed Quakers and others to affirm (rather than swear) their oaths of office.|
|Refrained from recognizing the religion of Christianity, or one of its denominations, as an established, state church.|