Thursday, July 22, 2010

ACLU Weighs in on Our Arrests

Just when you thought the ACLU didn't like Christians!

There's a good article in the Michigan Messenger that presents feedback on our case from the ACLU. Here's an excerpt:

. . . Michael Steinberg, the legal director for the ACLU of Michigan, told the Messenger via email, “Based solely on the videotape, it appears that the man encouraging others to convert to Christianity was engaged in speech protected by the First Amendment. The videotape suggests that the man who was arrested was not harassing the people with whom he was speaking, nor was he inciting a riot; rather, he was engaged in the type of free exchange of ideas about religion that is valued in a free society. The man’s message may not have been popular at this particular festival, but the Constitution protects unpopular speech as well as popular speech.”

Steinberg also says that what happened on Sunday, June 20 — when the same missionaries were shooed off a public sidewalk and told they had to be at least five blocks away to hand out literature — looks like an abuse of authority as well.

“If it was being distributed on public streets outside the area reserved for the festival,” he said, “then it was protected First Amendment activity because public streets are quintessential public forums where protection of freedom of speech is strongest.”

He also noted that “videotaping police officers in public – especially when documenting perceived police misconduct – is activity protected by the Constitution.”

Dan Ray, a professor of constitutional law at Cooley Law School in Ann Arbor, agrees. “If any local authority told the religious group that it could only distribute its literature five blocks away,” he said, “that’s a clear First Amendment violation.” As a legal question, he said, this was “not even a close call.”

The Dearborn Police Department did not return calls seeking comment for this article. Read More.

11 comments:

Traeh said...

Excellent news.

Matlin said...

Dearborn police will understand some day their service is no longer need in that city, because sharia law will be the final word, and imams and their followers will take care the law enforcement of Dearborn. So before DP get unemployed open your eyes see what is going on!

Tom said...

Wow!

How amazing would THAT be...if the ACLU actually stood up for AMERICAN civil liberties... Thereafter, we need to encourage our congress to clarify that Muslims cannot be loyal American citizens - because of their sharia/Islamic ideology that is so opposed to our constitution. Muslims take the oath of citizenship fraudulently. Until they leave Islam, they can't be Americans! So, the ACLU could be busy about the business of protecting AMERICAN civil liberties... LOL! KAFIR AND PROUD! MAY JESUS CHRIST BE PRAISED!!

Benjamin said...

Don't forget everyone that only 30k-40k of the 90,000 people in Dearborn are Arab. There is a large white population that is completely separate from the East side where most of the Muslims live.

To generalize the entire city as Muslim is a misrepresentation of the true identity of the city as a whole. Yes, most of the East and what is called the "South End" is mostly Muslim, but a lot of the rest of the city's inhabitants hail from a Christian or Catholic heritage.

Representative Tom McMillin said...

I met with the ACLU here in Michigan yesterday at my State Rep offices re: ensuring we make our laws protecting the rights of citizens to videotape police as strong as possible. I also brought up the Dearborn situation to them and they said they'd been looking at it and that it did appear the police were in the wrong...

Christie said...

Well I guess the ALCU is not a total loss. I am glad they have taken yall's side. We all know what a formidable foe they can be. Thank heavens for someone with some sense.

Fernando said...

Whate will say aboute this Osama the Great Abdallah and other muslims arounde here? Nothing I recon...

mkvine said...

I think our prayers are being answered :)

Venchenza Settles said...

The prayers have obviously been answered and...I'm so shocked that the ACLU is helping! Hah! Oh well! Praise GOD!

Lydia McGrew said...

The ACLU isn't exactly _helping_. They're just _commenting_. And maybe Acts 17 and Thomas More Law don't actually want any more help from them right now, though I hope that they call on them for an amicus brief if (and I hope when) this goes to offense rather than defense and a constitutional suit is brought.

Representative Tom McMillin said...

Lydia,
I think you are exactly right. I don't think the ACLU would actually "assist" the defense anyway, unless the defense didn't have any good attorneys...but when the offense begins, yeah - let all who care or at least claim to care about freedom pile on!
I will say that for credibility and the "trial in the public" like with the Mayor; these ACLU positive comments don't hurt.