Sidewalk preachers arrested for preaching — in the United States?

By July 28, 2006

USA (MNN) — In a country that professes religious freedom and free speech, a country that talks about God in its Preamble of its constitution, who would have thought a couple of preachers would be arrested for preaching?

According to the Atlanta Constitution that’s exactly what happened in the United States to 58-year-old Talmadge Holloway and 47-year-old Wally Langford who were preaching in Snellville, Georgia. Holloway was just getting ready to tell those around him about Jesus caliming the storm when ‘it’ happened.

A Snellville police car approached and asked to see his permit to preach on the sidewalk. Hollaway said he didn’t have one. That’s when he claims that officers arrested him and Langford. The charge? Demonstrating without a permit.

The two preachers say police not only arrested them, but left them in a sweltering patrol car for nearly an hour as the temperature climbed into the 90’s (30 c). City officials say the officers could have taken them to jail, but decided not to. However, they dispute the two sat in the car without air-conditioning.

What’s not open for debate is the August 22 date before the Snellville Municial Court to answer the charge. Each faces a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail if convicted.

“I believe the Lord’s going to override that, brother,” Langford says.
Holloway, who pastors a church in a nearby town says, “Those people in Snellville, they don’t believe in the Constitution”

The controversy is forcing city officials to begin a review of the permit ordinance to ensure that it doesn’t violate the First Amendment, which guarantees free speech.

Either way, Hollway and Langford plan to continue preaching the Gospel.

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