Status: Was true, but is no longer the case.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2005]
PENNSYLVANIA CHRISTIANS FACE 47 YEARS IN PRISON FOR READING THE BIBLE IN PUBLIC
Philadelphia charges Christians with hate crimes, inciting a riot, and using a deadly weapon.
Bill O'Reilly reported on the situation on Fox News Channel.
What we have been saying has now happened. You cannot quote what the Bible has to say about homosexuality in public or you will be charged with a "hate crime." Philadelphia is only the beginning. If we fail to take a stand here, this "crime" will soon be applied across America.
In the 27 years of this ministry, I have never witnessed a more outrageous miscarriage of justice than what is happening in Philadelphia. Four Christians are facing up to
On October 10, 2004, the four Christians were arrested in Philadelphia. They are part of Repent America. Along with founder Michael Marcavage, members of Repent America — with police approval — were preaching near Outfest, a homosexual event, handing out Gospel literature and carrying banners with Biblical messages.
When they tried to speak, they were surrounded by a group of radical homosexual activists dubbed the Pink Angels. A videotape of the incident shows the Pink Angels interfering with the Christians' movement on the street, holding up large pink symbols of angels to cover up the Christians' messages and blowing high pitched whistles to drown out their preaching.
Rather than arrest the homosexual activists and allow the Christians to exercise their First Amendment rights, the Philadelphia police arrested and jailed the Christians!
They were charged with eight crimes, including three felonies: possession of instruments of crime (a bullhorn), ethnic intimidation (saying that homosexuality is a sin), and inciting a riot (reading from the Bible some passages relating to homosexuality) despite the fact that no riot occurred.
You may think I am exaggerating. I'm not. Our AFA Center for Law and Policy is representing these four individuals at no cost. We will take this case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary to get justice.
There is so much more about this case I don't have room for it in this letter. We have prepared a
Please help us with our expenses in representing these committed Christians. With your tax-deductible gift of $15, less than the cost of a cup of coffee once a month for the next year, we will send your choice of either the VHS or DVD. Watch the VHS/DVD, then share it with your Sunday school class and church. This VHS/DVD should be required viewing in every church in America.
Click here to get your copy of the Philadelphia 4 Story.
Thanks for caring enough to get involved. We must not allow this travesty of justice to continue.
Origins: On 10 October 2004, Philadelphia's OutFest National Coming Out Day Block Party was disrupted by a group of eleven Christians intent upon preaching the Gospel at the assembled crowd. The evangelicals (now commonly referred to as the
In the autumn of 2004, charges were dismissed against seven of the original group, leaving four still to have their day in court. On
The e-mail quoted above (which was penned by Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association) positions the incident as a "travesty of justice" perpetuated on Bible-loving Christians by those looking to pander to homosexuals. That sentiment is echoed by other evangelical groups who judge that the free-speech rights of gays and lesbians are being upheld at the expense of those of Christians.
"Pennsylvania Christians Face 47 Years in Prison for Reading the Bible in Public," the title most often accorded the
Volunteer OutFest security workers (known as "Pink Angels") surrounded the evangelicals and used whistles to drown out their preaching. They held up pink styrofoam boards to block the protesters from view. The
Groups such as the American Family Association and Repent America regard homosexuals as sinners in dire need of salvation lest their lifestyle choices doom them to spending eternity sorrowing in a lake of fire. Judged from that understanding, their acts are compassionate in that by preaching to the Hell-bound, they are looking to spare their fellow man from untold horror. Yet even if their assessment of homosexuality as a sin is accurate, is heckling the right way to go about bringing
We're all Americans here. You may disagree with their lifestyle, you may think it's sinful, but to go in and to confront somebody in that fashion seems to me to be overly aggressive and anti-Christian.
Last updated: 18 February 2005
Eichel, Larry. "Trial of 'Philadelphia Four' is Dismissed." Philadelphia Inquirer. 18 February 2005. O'Reilly, Bill. "Interview with Repent America Attorney Brian Fahling, Outfest Legal Adviser Chuck Volz." The O'Reilly Factor. 3 January 2005. Yanchunas, Dom. "Our Freedoms Are Slipping." Lancaster New Era. 31 December 2004 (p. A1). U.S. Newswire. "Justice Department Must Intervene on Behalf of Philadelphia Christians,
Concerned Women for America Says."
5 January 2005.