Lawyers for a team of Christians convicted of disorderly conduct for praying at a "gay" fest in a public park in Elmira, N.Y., are promising an appeal of the verdict that left them with $100 fines.
Joel Oster, of the Alliance Defense Fund, said an appeal will be filed in ChemungCounty court for Julian and Gloria Raven, Maurice Kienenberger and Walter Quick, all of Elmira, who were ordered to pay $95 apiece in court costs in addition to the $100 fines.
Oster told the Star-Gazette newspaper that the police in the United States simply are not supposed to arrest people if someone else may be upset by their message.
The Supreme Court has ruled in cases involving "sit-in" protests, he said, that authorities cannot arrest blacks just because they were making white people angry.
"The police have a duty to protect the speaker," he told the court, according to the Star-Gazette.
"Choosing to exercise your First Amendment rights in a public place is not a crime," Oster said just before going into the trial….
…"It seems oxymoronic to say that by walking silently in a public park, with heads bowed, these people somehow disturbed the peace," Oster said of the case earlier. "From the sit-ins of the 1960s to today, courts have repeatedly ruled that the police cannot arrest those who peacefully express their message in public places."
The ADF said the issues are no less than the freedoms of speech and religion.
"If this violation of these Christians' rights is allowed to stand, the First Amendment rights of all people of faith are in jeopardy," the ADF said.
As Europe and America become more secularized, you will see more and more cases like these… besides the hundreds like it that can be cited each year.