Friday, April 23, 2010

Federal Judge Blasts Arizona City ban on Sound of Church Bells

Click to read full article from World Net Daily

By Bob Unruh
© 2010 WorldNetDaily

Bishop Rick Painter, sentenced for allowing church bells to ring
A federal judge in Arizona has struck down a Phoenix noise ordinance against  sounds generated by religious worship – settling one part of a dispute that erupted when city officials convicted a bishop and sentenced him to a suspended jail sentence and several years of probation because someone complained about the ringing of his church bells.
"Churches shouldn't be targeted and punished for ringing their bells as a public expression of faith that's been done for centuries," said Erik Stanley, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which worked on the case.
"The federal court has made the right decision by declaring that the city's noise ordinance violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments," he said.
The federal judge, Susan R. Bolton, ruled that the city's ordinance was being used to prohibit "sound generated in the course of religious expression," even while it contained an exemption for ice-cream trucks to blare their promotions.

The case had been brought by St. Mark Roman Catholic Parish, Christ the King Liturgical Charismatic Church and First Christian Church. The court earlier issued a temporary order and today made that permanent.
"It is ordered granting plaintiffs' request for a permanent injunction, and permanently enjoining Defendant City of Phoenix from enforcing the Noise Ordinance … against any sound generated in the course of religious expression," the order said.
"It is further ordered granting plaintiffs' request for a declaratory judgment, declaring that the Noise Ordinance … when enforced against any sound generated in the course of religious expression, violates the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution."
The dispute heated up when Bishop Rick Painter of Christ the King was sentenced to jail and probation in June 2009 for violating the ordinance by ringing his church's bells.
JMC Ministries Response

A Few years ago we heard the story of a pastor who was told not to ring the church bell to let people know that Church was starting. And that if he did he would be fined every time.  

Even being threatened with being fined hundreds of dollars each time he would ring the church bell. The pastor did it every Sunday.  He rang that bell and every time he received a fine for hundreds of dollars in the mail. He some how got the money to pay the fines and still every Sunday he would ring that Bell.

We see more and more Courts and even Govt officials starting to stand up and say this is wrong.  This judge ruled that they violated this churches rights to ring the church bell in this article and in our previous post we shared how our U.S Govt is filing an appeal against the Federal Judge's ruling that the National Day of Prayer is Unconstitutional.  

When our own Govt is seeing that this is wrong and taking a stand against it. Obviously it has gone too far the persecution against Christians and anyone who is religious.

U.S Govt to appeal ruling against National Day Of Prayer

MADISON, Wis. — The Obama administration said Thursday it will appeal a court decision that found the National Day of Prayer unconstitutional.
U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb in Madison ruled last week the National Day of Prayer that Congress established 58 years ago amounts to a call for religious action.
In a notice filed Thursday, the Justice Department said it will challenge the decision in the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. The notice came after about two dozen members of Congress condemned the ruling and pressed for an appeal.
The case was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a Madison-based group of atheists and agnostics who argue the National Day of Prayer violates the separation of church and state. Its co-president Annie Laurie Gaylor, said she was disappointed in the decision to appeal.
"I would have expected something better from a legal scholar," she said, referring to President Barack Obama's background as a law professor.
Her group planned to launch an online petition Thursday praising Crabb's decision and asking Obama, the principal defendant in the lawsuit, to "leave days of prayer to individuals, private groups and churches, synagogues, mosques and temples."
Crabb ruled the government could not use its authority to try to influence when and whether individuals pray, writing: "In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience." She put enforcement of her ruling on hold until all appeals are exhausted.
The administration had argued the law simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States.
Congress established the day in 1952 and in 1988 set the first Thursday in May as the day for presidents to issue proclamations asking Americans to pray. An Obama spokesman has said the president plans to issue a proclamation for the upcoming prayer day, May 6. Many other state and local officials typically follow suit.
The Justice Department signaled it would appeal not only Crabb's decision on the merits of the case but also her ruling last month that the defendants had the standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place.

Franklin Graham Disinvited by Army to Speak At National Day of Prayer

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has disinvited Franklin Graham to speak at the Pentagon on National Prayer Day after a military advocacy group objected because Graham has reportedly described Islam as “evil” and “wicked.”
“I regret that the Army felt it was necessary to rescind their invitation to the National Day of Prayer Task Force to participate in the Pentagon’s special prayer service,” Graham said in a statement on Thursday.
I want to express my strong support for the United States military and all our troops. I will continue to pray that God will give them guidance, wisdom and protection as they serve this great country.”
Graham was expected to speak at the Pentagon on May 6, drawing the ire of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a watchdog group focused on religious favoritism in the military.
The group had been prepared to seek a temporary restraining order against National Prayer Day if it were “polluted by someone as hideously Islamophobic as Franklin Graham,” said Mikey Weinstein, head of the group.
In a 2001 op-ed piece, Graham wrote that he does not believe Muslims are evil, but he objects to the treatment of women in Muslim countries and Islam’s historic “persecution or elimination” of other religions.
On Thursday, Graham told Fox News that while he loves Muslims, “I speak out for people that live under Islam, that are enslaved by Islam and I want them to know they can be free through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone.”Council on American Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said it is “completely inappropriate” for Graham to speak in front of a military audience.
“These are individuals who are potentially going to be stationed in Muslim majority nations, and they don’t need to hear from someone spreading hatred of Islam and Muslims,” Hooper said.
“What does that say to those who are going to be asked to serve in these regions and how is that going to affect their interaction with the local population?” Graham is honorary chairman of the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a group that organizes Christian events that was invited to participate in National Day of Prayer by the Pentagon chaplain’s office.
An Army spokesman told the Associated Press the Pentagon’s relationship with the Christian group does not violate Defense Department rules.