Skip to comments.Repent America Protesters A case gone too far
Posted on 01/15/2005 3:49:21 AM PST by dirtboy
The October street confrontation between Philadelphia gays and the Repent America Christian group could have remained just a local affair - a tense but heart-felt standoff. Instead, this brief but ugly lapse of brotherly love is getting harsh national attention.
None of that media and Internet notoriety is good for Philadelphia's image. It does nothing to burnish the city's proud heritage as the birthplace of American freedoms.
Credit the unwanted publicity, in large part, to District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham's heavy-handed crackdown on four protesters who disrupted the annual gay-pride Outfest block party in Center City.
The absurd decision by Abraham's office to pursue felony charges - including criminal conspiracy, incitement to riot, and breaking the state's hate-crimes law - guarantees that this case won't go away soon.
By themselves, the arrests might not have generated all that much controversy. On that early-October Sunday, the protesters disobeyed directives from the police, who had reason to fear that the group's bullhorn-broadcast denunciations of homosexuality might trigger a scuffle at the block party, or worse.
No, people should not be arrested for mere exercise of free speech - but when their free speech seems on the edge of provoking possible violence, there's a case to be made for city police taking people into custody simply to calm the situation.
There seems no question that Repent America got its message out - informing gay-event participants that they faced eternal damnation, as well as carrying signs proclaiming "God Abhors You" and the like.
But when the group's leader sat down in the street, refusing to move after being warned by police of imminent arrest, it was no surprise that the cops began hauling protesters away. And probably not a disappointment to the protesters. Isn't that the point of many protests, to attract attention by getting arrested?
Here's what should have happened next: a fine for disorderly conduct or other misdemeanor for those who did the most to disobey police.
Instead, city prosecutors came up with a silly, public-enemy list of felony charges and lesser infractions. Bingo: martyrs-to-a-cause born.
Although charges were tossed out against most of the 11 protesters arrested Oct. 10, a city judge agreed there's evidence enough to warrant a trial for four remaining defendants.
Assistant District Attorney Charles Ehrlich contends that the protesters "wanted to provoke violence" - thus, the charges that carry years-long jail sentences. The charges should be reduced, or if it gets to trial, given very skeptical scrutiny.
That said, this case is being misread from afar by conservative Christian groups. They claim the city is persecuting the protesters for their religious beliefs against homosexuality.
First of all, the anti-gay group made its voice heard - and continues to do so, given the trial publicity. And what the faraway critics may not know is that Abraham's office is an equal-opportunity shop when it comes to over-the-top prosecutions of protest.
Out of the hundreds of 2000 Republican National Convention protesters charged with crimes, the overwhelming majority eventually were cleared. In fact, the last of those protesters were acquitted only a week or so after the Outfest arrests.
Even if Abraham hopes to polish her tough-on-crime image, engaging in overkill with felony charges against street protesters is no way to go.
That is an absolute lie. RepentAmerica carried no such signs. But, let's not let truth stand in the way of screed.
It is probably more of a fuzzy lie. Some "reliable" source and all of that rot. The FACT is that liberal reporters and officials have frequently used inaccurate statements to make their side look a little better or a little less guilty. The Inquirer should be called to task for this attempt to slant peoples view of this situation.
Even the authors obvious bias against Christians has bent
a bit at the equally or overwhelming case of the stupids
on the part of the Philly PD,PRosecutor,and Judge Meehan.
Even the words of the mere politicians who have embraced and promote the aberant and destructive lifestyle have
been used to point out how the zeal of the Christophobes
extends beyond reason.
And the author tries to obfuscate the real reason behind the attacks - the Word of God in the Holy Bible is the biggest enemy these people have. Calling good evil and evil good is one of the signs Jesus tells us to look for.
As a resident of the greater Philadelphia Region and a man who works in Philadelphia I have been exposed to this story regularly in local news sources, and have come to several interesting conclusions.
Now, "Outfest" seems to be an affair where folks are offered a public forum to proclaim their sodomy ( which may leave many of us heterosexual men feeling cheated, insofar that no one ever gave us a party for liking women ), and as such I must appreciate the emphasis on honesty. I wish everyone had an outfest where they would stand up for their true political beliefs, rather than Teddy Kennedy saying he's against water torture and John Kerry saying he's a good Catholic.
This years outfest wasn't about men coming out as gays or women coming out as lesbians, or any such trite fare. This years coming out was nothing less than Lynne Abraham and her crooked District Attorney's office coming out as fascists.
Abraham has clearly decided, as has the entire democratic party, that simple preaching of Biblical Truth is a hate crime which cannot be tolerated. This is the final nail in the coffin of free speech for Christians under her administration. Free Speech, in her mind, is a right reserved to everyone, but when Christians wish to practice it their may find that it gets them, charged with inciting a riot. Never mind that others who actually do incite riots exercising their 'free speech' actually do cause riots and the ilk of Lynne Abraham have nothing to say about it.
When I got off an airplane at Sea-Tac Airport this past June fourth for the Army's National Advanced Leadership Course, and was confronted by LaRouchist agitators and others, with signs calling me and my colleagues 'Baby Killers', I didn't press charges against them. This is because I understand that I have to tolerate the opinions of others, even uninformed or asenine opinions, if I wish to function in this society.
The implications of free speech guaranteed to us by our Constitution are not always easy to deal with. In our society everyone has the right to offend and no one has the right to not be offended. Offence is part of being an American, especially in this day and age. As a traditionalist, I am offended by most everything that the Democratic Party ( the Slavery Party ) has stood for for the past generation, but you wont find me pressing charges about it. Christians are offended by the holocaust occuring within our borders, the unscientific science being taught in science classes as evolution, the erasure of the family as a social pillar and the replacement of the Ten Commandments with the Law of Darwin. Needless to say we have much to be offended about, but we must live with our misgivings because this society functions on oppositionalism and tolerance within the public square.
And if we are so offended by this litany of assaults on the traditional sensibilities of decent people in this country, I frankly don't give a damn if some people are offended by placards with Bible Verses or anti-gay messages.
Free Speech is a two way street. If I have to live with the progressive sector of our society then they have to live with me. I refuse to care that people, especially in the media, are offended by traditionalists exercising their free speech through gospel teaching, Nativities and the such.
The most important factor being missed here is that true tolerance means tolerating the opinions of all, and also to a greater extent; true moral relativity as pioneered in academia over the last century and a half means that there are no absolutes, no good and evil. Therefore the majority may choose to inflict whatever pains it wants on the minority. According to this paradigm, Hitler, or anyone else, could never be classified as evil.
Today's morally relative American culture chooses to dispose of its undesired minority by sucking out their brains with vacuum cleaners and poking scissors through the base of their skulls. Wow, to me that makes slavery seem a preferable state, you decide for yourself what the greatest human rights abuses of all time are ( without the right to life all other rights are meaningless ).
And in the spirit of this holiday, marking the life of the visionary Revd. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. let us examine the similarities between him and the Philadelphia Four who find themselves charged with the same crimes as him, especially "inciting a riot".
King taught us, in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, that Christians have an obligation to oppose unjust laws. This is, as I remarked to much consternation on Fox News two summers ago, "in keeping with the tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas who said that a just law is one which comports with the law of God."
In the spirit of so great an obervance as Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday, I challenge you, dear reader, to ask yourself whether you are willing to champion the oppressed, however unpopular, as King and as the Philadelphia Four.
They didn't know what they were messing with. Christians are white-hot angry to begin with. Has anyone ever filed for a "Sodomy Is An Abomination" rally in Philly? I'm thinking, it might be called a 'hate crime' to hold such a rally there, and that would decimate the leftists in Philly, a brazan and utter violation of free speech and freedom of religion. And, if for some reason, the file is allowed, then you have homosexual protesters walk into a giant bear trap. The question of equal justice arises. I wonder if Mike Savage would be interested in something like this?
Move the Liberty bell . There aint no liberty in Philadelphia.
..... It does nothing to burnish the city's proud heritage as the birthplace of American freedoms....
The image has been scarred and defaced for at least a decade. Philly is a den of corruption. The heritage will be that of a third world African city where nothing is done without the graft of a political machine with tentacles into all aspects of the citizens life.
America rejects this abomination.
Interesting. Some good points.
It's stillllll a very hideous, horrid, ham-fisted happening.
I think the prosecutor still needs some sort of discipline.
She did something far worse to an anti-Clinton protestor assaulted by Teamster goons - she basically prosecuted the protestor for assaulting the fists of the Teamsters with his face. And she's gotten away with it - so far. Don and Terri Adams are trying to get some justice against her and Ed Rendell - but the power structure protects its own very well in Pennsylvania.
I had not focused on this case until I read this editorial. Before, I thought that the story was so outrageous, it must be overstated. Surely, Christians would not be facing felony charges merely for protesting what they believe is sinful. Now, I know it is clear that Christians will be trampled in any blue state where the courts let the authorities get away with it. I wouldn't be surprised to see Philly start to bulldoze Christian Churches that have the audacity to take a stand against sin.
And by taking away their feeding tubes because the person has become too much trouble to take care of.
Very good post!
Elaborate on this statement? I don't think you mean it as it is do you?
Repent America about halfway down the page.
Life and Liberty Ministries is another site owned by one of the accused. There is a 17 yr old facing charges as well.
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