Skip to comments.New Orleans’ Anti-Christian Ordinance Challenged
Posted on 09/25/2012 7:20:06 AM PDT by WXRGina
Jesus told us that no one knows the hour or the day of His return, but that we will be able to look around and see that the end is near by the state of the world. One of the signs of the end will be a great apostasy, or falling away, as Paul calls it in 2 Thessalonians, where he warns believers not to be deceived by anyone claiming that the Day of the Lord has come, because when the Day of the Lord comes, everyone will know it without question.
We are certainly seeing a great falling away from the truth of Gods revealed Word to mankindin churches as well as in the culture at largealthough Satan has worked tirelessly from the beginning to pervert Gods truth. We now have daily stories of Christian persecution, not in faraway countries where it has long been commonplace, but right here in the United States, which was once, as a nation, a strong supporter of Christian principles.
One of the latest stories of Christian persecution and the trampling of our God-given rights to freedom of speech and religion comes out of New Orleans, Louisiana. A year ago, almost to the day, New Orleans amended the city code to prohibit certain types of aggressive solicitation, specifically in the French Quarter on Bourbon and Royal Streets between sundown and sunrisethe hours in which demonic joy is at a fever pitch in the Big Easy (I have been there; I know this).
Most of the legislation is devoted to defining aggressive solicitation and the places where it is prohibited. Aggressive solicitation is defined, in part, as:
disturbing and disruptive to residents and businesses and contributes to the loss of access to and enjoyment of public places and to a sense of fear, intimidation and disorder.
Aggressive solicitation may include approaching or following pedestrians, repetitive soliciting despite refusals, the use of abusive or profane language to cause fear and intimidation, unwanted physical contact, or the intentional blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Well, that sounds reasonable, doesnt it? Who wants to be stalked, touched and abused with profanity? Most places already have laws against such types of physical and verbal harassment, so is this really about this kind of aggressive solicitation? No, its not.
The key of the legislation is found near the end, in this clause:
It shall be prohibited for any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.
Here is the real reason for this ordinance enacted under former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, now current Democrat Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu, the brother of Democrat Senator Mary Louisiana Purchase Landrieu (who was bribed with $300 million to change her opposition to the wicked Obamacare legislation to support for it). This is about opposition to the spreading of the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christas well as the social and political aspects of the Christian worldviewon the streets of a city steeped in debauchery; a city that takes pride in its heritage of voodoo and all types of sinful decadence. The Word of God is not welcomed by the principalities that control such a place.
Just ask Pastor Paul Gros who is now suing the city over this ordinance.
Bob Unruh, reporting for WorldNetDaily late last week wrote,
The controversy was brought to a head by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which filed the case on behalf of Pastor Paul Gros of Vieux Carre Assembly of God Church at 433 [Dauphine] Street, just a block off of Bourbon.
For 30 years, hes periodically gone to the French Quarter community center to preach the message of Jesus.
Pastor Gros shares his faith in various ways. Sometimes he preaches; other times he hands out tracts and/or carries portable signs. But more than any other way, Pastor Gros likes to engage individuals in respectful, one-on-one discussion about Jesus and the Christian faith.
Until he was ordered to be quiet by police.
The pastors periodic visits came to an abrupt halt May 15.
Around 9:30 p.m. Pastor Gros and his group were stopped from engaging in religious discussion. Upon receiving the order to stop, Pastor Gros asked to speak to the highest-ranking police officer and was directed to Officer [M.J.] Field. Officer Field confirmed that the law precluded any Christian speech on Bourbon Street at night, according to ADF.
Field cited an aggressive solicitation ordinance sponsored by council member Kristin Palmer.
Because of the existence of the Religious Speech Ban and the penalties prescribed for violating it, Pastor Gros did not attend the Southern Decadence event that occurred this past Labor Day weekend. He feared arrest. And Pastor Gros soon learned that his fear was well-founded, discovering that several people communicating a religious message were arrested or threatened with arrest for violating 54-419.
The Southern Decadence parade is an annual French Quarter celebration of the homosexual culture in New Orleans. In the case of the recent arrests of nine Christians, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, police said they yelled anti-gay slurs over bullhorns.
Anti-gay slurs. What does that mean? If these people are true Christiansnot like the Westboro Baptist cult freaksthat likely means they were simply telling the biblical truth about the sin of homosexuality.
Now, we could debate the pros and cons of using bullhorns to blast the Christian message. I personally do not think using bullhorns is the most effective way to spread the Christian message to random passersby who may not be receptive, but that does not mean it has never been successful in reaching the lost.
Regardless, the good news is that this anti-Christian ordinance is being challenged on constitutional grounds by lawyers with the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) who are representing Pastor Gros. As Mr. Unruh reported,
Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Joseph La Rue argued religious speech is just as important, and just as protected by the First Amendment, as speech about any other subject at any time of day.
New Orleans cannot make criminals of people simply because they want to talk about their faith, he said.
The lawsuit, which also seeks an injunction halting enforcement of the ban, charges the prohibition is unconstitutional on its face and as applied.
It is a content-based restriction on speech but is not narrowly tailored to a compelling state interest, the complaint states.
La Rue says city officials in New Orleans have chosen to criminalize speech about faith while allowing just about every other conceivable topic to be discussed and exposed.
Its not up to the government to decide the topics we can and cannot discuss, he said. The First Amendment protects an individuals freedom of speech.
The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Named as defendants are the mayor, council members, police superintendent and others.
We are seeing this kind of bad legislation and these kinds of attacks on Christian liberty more than ever before in our nation. It is only going to get worse, but that does not mean we ever stop fighting against it. The Lord forewarned us of these ever-darker days when evil would prevail for a short time just before His return to issue the Royal Smack-Down of Eternity on the enemies of God.
In the meantime, those of us who love the Lord must do our best to stand firmly in His Word, pray for our brothers and sisters in Christ, like Pastor Gros and the legal warriors of the Alliance Defending Freedom, who are on the front lines in the battle for true freedom. We can also offer financial support to help fund the precious work of the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom.
Guess this would also ban any jazz club from playing ‘When the Saints Come Marching In” or “Just a Closer Walk With Thee”.
HA! Yeah, after sundown...
While this is a legal slam dunk for religious people, *they* more than most people, actually need legal protection from two directions while “saying their say”.
They mentioned one group, the “Westboro Baptist cult freaks”, whose actions are less motivated by faith than a desire to incite *some* violence against them, so they can sue, seeing their ‘religion’ as a money generating enterprise; but this also stimulates hatred against other religious groups expressing their faith.
This creates something of a legal paradox, because while they hide behind the legal protections afforded religion, they are working overtime to destroy the goodwill created by legitimate religions.
So there is a need to restrict their offensive behavior but without imposing on the legitimate behavior of religious people. This might be possible, but only if the legitimate religions work with government to exclude the troublemakers but not impose on the legitimate exercise of faith.
The other problem are those either opposed to all religion or specifically opposed to the Christian religion. In the former case obnoxious and even injurious; but in the latter case, say with radical Muslims, potentially deadly.
The first case requires police sympathy, something that may be hard to achieve unless mandated to the police, so they will treat assaults and damage as legitimate crimes, and not just tell the victim that they brought it on themselves.
The second case is one that can only be mitigated by self defensive techniques like working in teams and being armed.
Well, as a practicing Catholic I get bothered by pushy evangelicals of any stripe who won’t take the “I’m not interested” I give ‘em at face value.
I almost want to start punching them out like Robert Stack and Lloyd Bridges punching out the Hare Krishnas at the airport in “Airplane”.
Anything that keeps ‘em away from me I’m all for. I’m not interested in your Protestant heresy.
What a thoughtful post.
Are you are registered (D)? Just wondering.
Sorry, meant that to go to post 6
I meant post 5 by Emperor Palpatine
A city that allows orgies to be advertised on neon signs would do this
God looks upon the hearts of His Son's believers, not on their form of worship. What will he find in yours?
religious people can take offense with the law, and even believe themselves to be the special targets of it
myself I think it’s all about business, tourists and the tourist driven economy of the French Quarter
we can call it a bad thing for freedom of speech, but I think the idea that Christians are it’s special targets is overblown
No, I’m a registered Republican.
I just don’t like being proseltyzed by yahoos who think they have the monopoly on heaven.
I feel much better.
There is a whole slew of cases about this type of stuff.
They arise out of the Hari Krisnas preaching to people waiting in line at the airports. The people in line can’t leave the line so they are essentially forced to listen.
it is a time place and manner issue.
There is no expectation of a “soap box” speaker every time you stand in line for something.
I actually had significant curiosity and interest in the Catholic Church, until I began reading the Catholic posts on FR... not throwing this in Emperor P’s lap, what he said is nothing... I mean the volumes and volumes and volumes of Catholic posts, individual posts pages long saying who is right and who is wrong and how you are a heretic because you believe this and I am right because I believe that and who’s a real Catholic and who isn’t, they spend so much time sinking knives into each others backs, they barely have time to take a stab at an occasional Protestant. How freaking disappointing! If all that energy were spent on bicycles and treadmills attached to electrical generators, not only could you power a city, but people would start wondering what was going on in the Catholic Church, that was making all its members look like Jack LaLanne.
AFA NO is concerned... It’s simply another instance of what has become an accepted fact: Where Christians gather, the law surrounds them with the night sticks pointing inward... but where the Muslims, or the LGBT, or the OWSers, or the Black Panthers are, the law surrounds them with the night sticks pointing outward.
The battle lines are drawn... But send no troops to NO... it’s a town that has always been a sideshow, and likewise any effort to take issue with them, would become a sideshow of a sideshow. There are far bigger fish to fry, with the whole country marching towards societal collapse... and then NO will be just one Category 5 away from being the nicest little fishing camp that you ever saw.
Catholics seem to think they have that "monopoly."
Jesus said he is the ONLY way to the Father, between man and God the Father, yet Catholics believe the pope is the bridge. That's what I call heresy.
No we don’t
You have no understanding of Catholicism in the least.
Actually, you were dismissed when you called Bible-believing Christians “yahoos.”
I normally do not “take on” hardcore Catholics, generally, because it’s pointless. But, the “yahoo” thing...
TIME FOR A HEART CHECK, EMPEROR PALPATINE.
Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another. Romans 12:10
Besides that, it’s really not a good idea to assume you know what someone else knows. Emperor has no knowledge of what I know of Catholicism, and his statement that I “have no understanding of Catholicism in the least” is a foolish thing to say.
“It shall be prohibited for any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.”
That clause does not discriminate. No politicing is allowed either. It does not specify ANY religion. It does not specify atheism.
This seems a fair enough and I predict will stand up in state or federal court. I would hazard to supect this fruitless fight is being used as a fundraiser.
It’s not a “fruitless fight.” It is naive to believe this ordinance is not targeting Christianity and Christian political and social messages.
Regardless, this is still an unconstitutional ordinance targeting our freedom of speech.
If you’ve never been to the French Quarter, then I can understand your thinking this ordinance is “reasonable.” The Quarter is a wild animal, noisy place where ANYTHING goes, except (now) Christianity.
We could always make Catholicism the State religion and imprison or put to death anyone who doesn’t practice it.
Would that make you happy?
Or is simply banning Protestant speech good enough for you?
You are one of those “free speech for me, and not for thee” types. I get it. You are entitled, for now.
Banning ANY group who wishes simply to stand in a public place and express an opinion is unconstitutional...like it or not.
Go to Washington Square sometime and see all the nitwits, commies, pinkos, racialists and assorted baggage. I hate what they’re saying, but they have the right to say it.
If you have not studied the national stories closely for a number of years now, you may not realize that there is a huge war on Christianity right here in America, all across the country. I can cite you countless stories--besides the Obamacare assault on religious freedom--of Christians being denied their right to free speech, to gather for Bible study, to conduct their businesses as they see fit, etc. It is real, and it's going to only get worse as the number of days grows shorter.
Time place and manner.
The USSC has ruled on this time and time again.
You can not FORCE people to listen. The “place” becomes a hostage situation. The classic example is the person who much chose between losing their spot in line and being forced to listen to someone.
Under this law, the daylight hours are all theirs. They can spout whatever they want. Once the sun goes down and bar patrons abound, they have a right not to be accosted by anyone.
nice try, but the first amendment works both ways.
Always found it a bit grimey. Creepy with those graveyards being so ornate in New Orleans.
You have narrow streets, crowds, business on top of business and ANYBODY spewing anything will kill business.
people do forget that free speech includes not having to listen to thee...
I don’t assume on this, LongTerm; I know.
The clear, prolific, hard evidence for a massive war on Christianity across America is undeniable (I mentioned in comment 29).
As for killing business in New Orleans, that’s not happening (ANYTHING goes in that creepy, grimey, voodooy, demonic place, but business doesn’t flinch), and it’s not the reason for this.
“If you have not studied the national stories closely for a number of years now, you may not realize that there is a huge war on Christianity right here in America, all across the country.”
I have, and you may be right. I simply do not think the New Orleans city fathers are part of it; they are nearly 100% interested in the New Orleans business community, and in that strongly interested in the tourist industry in New Orleans and in that prmarily focused on the French Quarter and surrounding areas. I believe that, and not particularly anti-Christian sentiments is what is behind the “solicitation” restrictions. They would do anything that they thought was part of “keeping the tourists happy and coming back”.
Christian groups have the means to counter the effects of the solicitation law - buy/lease a store-front property in the heart of the French Quarter, complete with salon doors on the front, church pews and live music and singing inside and loud enough to be heard on the sidewalk. Different Christian groups could even go into a joint-venture on it with each other, giving each one a different day or nite of the week for their own activity. Oh sorry, that’s right, it’s too expensive in that area - BECAUSE THE AREA IS ALL ABOUT MAKING MONEY FROM THE TOURISTS!!!!
This isn’t about the impact on businesses in the Quarter.
The government there is plotting legislation to limit noise (music) in the Quarter as well.
“Last week, I met with representatives of the VCPORA (Vieux Carre Property Owners and Residents Association). This is the group thats been behind the very public, very loud (how ironic) protest against noise in the Quarter. Most of that noise is, of course, music. Somehow crowd noise, which on average is much louder than most music, never gets factored into their complaints.”
It’s about limiting the visibility of religious protest to sin in the French Quarter. Do New Orleans politicians still regularly hob nob with organized criminals in the Quarter as they did in the 60s?
Okay, then. We disagree.
It just so happens that Christians are the only ones being targeted under this bad, UNCONSTITUTIONAL law. Southern Decadence is apparently not affected by this ruling, even though their message is very much a "social" one. And, you'd better believe Southern Decadence is bad for business:
Southern Decadence celebrations in the French Quarter, New Orleans. (Photo credit: Infrogmation of New Orleans)
There is nothing stopping a christian group renting a storefront and opening a christian prayer/gathering operation/ministry/soda shop.
The hari krishnas are also prohibited as are any number of other christian/political/candiate/election/religious groups.
Yes, of course that’s the way it’s worded—has to be. But I have seen no reports of any “groups” being targeted except Christians, who are not normally your rabble-rouser types.
what you and I can agree to disagree on is whether or the city views the things - like Southern Decadence - as “solicitation”; the primary subject of the local law in question; I don’t believe they see the Southern Decadence events as “solitication” and I think case law would support them on it
sure, it’s possible that a more broadly defined law encompassing all kinds of public events could be written, but one that also prohibited Southern Decadence would likely, and probabvly rightly be viewed as prohibiting Mardi Gras week itself; and from there you might see why the law more narrowly choses to focus on “solicitation” specifically
as I said’ I believe their focus is on the business, the tourist business and “not upsetting” the tourists
Yeah, and we will forever disagree on the fundamental reason for this desire to “not offend.” It’s an ancient struggle that the Lord will fix when He comes back the second time.
I’d rather they run the crackheads out of the French Quarter. Only place I’ve ever actually seen someone smoking rocks.
you must not have seen the bible thumper loudmouths that I have seen in public.
Again, that's not what this is about.
My column above contains my thoughts on this, and that's pretty much it.