Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Federal Judge Rules Chicago's Policy On Street Evangelism Is Unconstitutional

Bob Kellogg - OneNewsNow - 6/8/2011 4:15:00 AM
A federal district court judge has ruled that Chicago's policy on religious leafleting and street evangelism at a city festival is unconstitutional.

When in July 2008 Pastor Frank Teesdale handed out gospel tracts at the St. Symphorosa Parish Family Fest, a public event in The Windy City, he was arrested and charged with "criminal trespass to property." Noel Sterett of Mauck & Baker helped to defend the pastor.

"Even when the message of the cross was unpopular and not welcomed by the parish, ironically, and by the city of Chicago, he was nevertheless willing to stand his ground for the gospel and for his constitutional rights," the attorney explains.

Even though the city dropped the charges in May 2009, it refused to promise not to interfere with Teesdale's future evangelism efforts at the Fest. Sterett said the pastor felt obligated to pursue his constitutional rights and, two months later, filed a civil suit against the city and the arresting officers.

"So thankfully Pastor Teesdale and his church members from Garfield Ridge Baptist Church in Chicago were willing to go toe-to-toe with the city of Chicago for three years to get a judge to rule that their policy was unconstitutional," offers the Regent University School of Law graduate.

After Judge William T. Hart dismissed the city's position in 2010, they refused to back down. Consequently, he again issued his most recent order stating the city cannot constitutionally prevent plaintiffs from engaging in evangelism.

Read More From One News Now

No comments: