Monday, December 5, 2011

Street Preachers And The First Amendment

I do not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - Voltaire


This guy makes more
sense than these
street preachers.
The First Amendment that protects reasonable people saying reasonable things also protects unreasonable people unreasonable things -- no matter how distasteful. A recent case involvoing street preachers in Houston, Texas illustrates this point. David Stokes of Bulldog Ministries and Dave Allen of  Horn of Samuelbook.com were on a street corner in the predominantly gay community of Montrose preaching Bronze Age morality of how atheists, gays, witches, idolaters, well, it's a long list, are going to HELL. Mr. Allen, in typical I'm going to get attention anyway I can  manner, occasionally blew a shofar (rams horn) just in case people didn't see his signs. Here is what happened next.
But police showed up after receiving a complaint. The men shot home video of the encounter, which rapidly escalated. The video shows an officer struggling with Stokes. Officers can be heard shouting at the men and telling them to calm down. 
 What was the crime these Christian extremists were charged with?
Officers handcuffed and detained the men. They also cited them for having an illegal instrument and for displaying signs that were more than a quarter of an inch thick, which violates a city ordinance.
Bad music and signs that violated some obscure arbitrary rule. Not precisely justice.


I first heard about this absurdity via a buddy of mine who happens to be a conservative Christian on Facebook. Now, we have had many discussions about gay marriage, and I consistently point out that while the Constitution places high value on free speech, it conversely places low value on people's feelings getting hurt by that free speech. You can't have free discussions and ensure people don't get upset. Just as Christians do not have a legitimate point when they complain gay marriage is wrong because it makes them feel icky inside, the street preachers have a right to say whatever crazy talk they want to as long as they are not inciting immediate violence (the don't cry fire in a crowded theater theory).
The preachers, of course, consider themselves doing a good thing.
"We were just spreading a word of love telling people this is a sin,” said Allen.
This is coming from a man who proudly invokes the name of Samuel. The same Samuel who followed the orders of a sociopathic God and demanded genocide in the Old Testament.
Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’” 1 Samuel 15: 1-3 
If a person invokes Mao, Stalin, or that moustached German fellow, when they are spreading the supposed word of love, I'm be a wee bit skeptical. After all, aren't we supposed to know the character of a person much like a tree -- by the fruit that they bear (the acts that they do)?   It's pretty safe to say that Mr Allen has deluded himself and trying to get others to walk down a hateful path.
The Christian media cried foul when they heard that a lesbian judge was going to hear the case. How could they hope for justice when one destined for Hell holds their fate?

Easy. This is America, and despite all of our problems we are a nation of laws. Those laws are enshrined in a secular document, the Constitution, that provides protection to individuals who are very right (like skeptics) as well as to people who are very, very wrong (like Mr Allen and his horn of absurdity).

Their case was dismissed on December 2nd due to insufficient evidence.

This is Purgatory.

1 comment:

  1. i hope you enjoy hell sir with you suger coated belief

    ReplyDelete

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