Religious free speech curtailed in the US

By November 1, 2005

USA (MNN) — The United States is known for being a country of free speech. It’s a country founded on Christian values. However, a judge in California is prohibiting Christians from preaching outside the courts in Bellflower, California.

For the past 2-1/2 years, New Zealand-born evangelist Ray Comfort and his ministry manager have been preaching open-air almost daily outside the local courthouse there. According to Comfort, that’s now changed. “On the 30th of September, I just finished speaking when two deputy officers came up and issued me a court order where a judge had said none of my staff were allowed to come to the courts. And, he had blanketed over 40 court houses throughout Los Angeles County saying it was now illegal to pass out tracts and speak there.”

Comfort didn’t go public with this until just recently, hoping to be able to work it out with Judge William A. MacLaughlin, who issued the court order. But, that wasn’t possible.

So, the Alliance Defense Fund is helping them, says Comfort. “They said, this is right up our alley. This is a slam dunk. The judge cannot do that. So, they’re suing him for $25 and they say we’ll be back there with in a month.”

However, the Department of Motor Vehicles is now involved. “We went to the DMV when we weren’t allowed to speak at the courts and we noticed there was a line there twice as big as the one at the courts. So, we gave out tracts and open-air preached. So, since that day, which was about a week ago, we’ve been going there and speaking to a line there.”

Comfort says good, congenial, polite open air preaching is very effective in leading people to Christ. “The average open-air preacher, a good open-air preacher, can reach more people in one half an hour than the average church does in a whole year, because he’s going into the whole world to preach the Gospel to every creature.”

There’s no word on when Judge MacLaughlin will rescind his court order. In the meantime, pray.

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