Skip to comments.Gospel comes to Main Street Street-corner evangelists can preach after settling with Monroe.
Posted on 03/30/2005 9:50:18 AM PST by freepatriot32
Tom Adams, a Lincoln Park, Mich., resident and member of Gateway Anabaptist Church, preaches on a corner in Monroe, Mich., after the city of Monroe settled a federal lawsuit that stemmed from the ticketing last year of a group of street evangelists. AP Photo/KEITH KING
AP Photo/KEITH KING
MONROE, Mich. (AP) -- A group of street preachers are free to spread the gospel downtown following their settlement of a lawsuit against the city.
Under the settlement agreed to last week, the city will not prosecute members of World Wide Street Preachers' Fellowship under the city's noise ordinance or for lack of a parade permit. The city also will pay attorney fees and costs.
The case stemmed from an incident last year in which Dan Hardin, senior pastor of Gateway Anabaptist Church in Monroe, and several church members were preaching.
"We usually go out for an hour or so and then go home," Hardin told The Monroe Evening News. "We were on our way out when they chose to give us a citation for needing a parade permit."
He said his group has been street preaching for about eight years and never had any trouble in the past.
"We knew that was a strict violation of our constitutional rights," he said.
Monroe City Attorney Timothy J. Laitur said the police responded to the preaching based on a citizen complaint.
The ticket was issued to Pastor David Ickes. After the Monroe District Court upheld the citation, Ickes, Hardin and the street preachers' fellowship filed a lawsuit in federal court in Detroit, claiming that the ticket violated their constitutional rights.
While the settlement is specific to the plaintiffs, it could have broader implications, said Randy Wenger, an attorney for the evangelists.
"Our main objective is to give our plaintiffs safe passage. But I think the ordinances they're using here are unconstitutional, period, and should certainly apply to other groups or other religions," he said.
"It's kind of dangerous for all of us to have an ordinance that can be so loosely used," Wenger added. "We can all run into problems if we find out the majority doesn't like what we're saying."
Laitur said the case might warrant a review of the city's permit process.
Hardin said his church takes literally the religious mandate to "preach" from Mark 16:15, which says "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation."
David Ickes is a friend of my dad. I'm surprised I hadn't heard about this.
Between this and the 24-hour Muslim calls for prayer, I'm glad I'm not near Michigan anymore. Ear plugs are expensive.
I have a friend who is a full time evangelist. He runs a school to train others in effective street and other types of preaching.
He's been asked to leave a few times by cops for his own safety, but never ticketed. I'm glad these guys won.
In the mid-80's, I was part of a beach evangelism event in NJ. We got shut down by the cops before we showed up. Apparently, there was a small riot on the exact section of beach we were headed to and emotions were still running hot. We came back the next day.