Thursday, June 24, 2010

Police in Dearborn, Michigan, defending Muslims against the Gospel (and the Constitution)

49 comments:

SolaMommy said...

UN-believable.

RealityCheck said...

Wow! I find this so infuriating that I really don't know what to say. I think those involved should contact someone like "The Alliance Defense Fund" or "The American Center for Law and Justice" (who I'm sure they are familiar with) and see what can be done.

Other than that I think the best thing that can be done is for people like you to post stuff like this and for others of us to try and get it in front of as many eyes as possible. I'm not on Facebook... but my wife is... and tonight she'll have this there as well.

Thanks for the post Dan.

lee n. field said...

What's it like, I rhetorically wonder, to enforce sharia? Do they know that's what they're doing?

David said...

You want to know what I find infuriating? The fact that these guys clearly went in with a chip on their shoulders, in a lot of ways, looking for a fight.

This has NOTHING to do with distributing Christian materials nor with Sharia law. If that were the case, why would they allow Josh McDowell to have a booth and pass out materials.

Check this out: http://www.josh.org/site/c.ddKDIMNtEqG/b.5733261/k.68C6/Dearborn_Arab_Festival.htm

The fact is that if you play by the rules of the festival (you have an approved booth), you can do what you want.

The issue isn't that they were handing out Christian materials - the issue is that they didn't obey Romans 13.

DJP said...

What a bizarre take.

Perhaps you're not American, no-profile-David. What should make an American angrier is that it should be an issue. They stood there holding literature, in a land founded by people seeking to practice Christian faith free from state intervention. They were specifically asserting their First Amendment rights, and very mildly at that (from what we see) — and, what, eight policemen descend on them?

In America, the governing power is the Constitution. They were respecting it just fine, from all I see.

Barbara said...

Well, see, I wonder about this:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100618/NEWS02/100618070/Christian-pastor-allowed-to-distribute-literature-at-Arab-festival-in-Dearborn-

I'm curious as to the real issue here, or whether it's a combination of these things. The rules are awfully restrictive, and that still wouldn't fly here in Georgia where Jesus is considered to be just as American as Baseball, Hot Dogs, and Apple Pie.

But if others are given booths and can hand out material from those booths, then I wonder if it's just a matter of having the right permit, although I find it completely fascinating that he had to go to court to get permission to do it (that's just unreal). Still, I just wonder where the truth lies in it all.

David said...

What's bizarre about obeying the earthly authority over you, Dan? I happen to know of other Christian groups that play by the rules and are allowed to hand out literature and engage in conversation with folks despite being overt with their message at this festival.

If the festival rules require that you get a booth in order to hand out literature, why is it permissible to disobey those rules just because you think your message is important?

As aside, Dan, I expect better from you when it comes to debating an issue than to result in inflammatory accusations (Oh, you didn't say 'Well Done' so you must not be American.) Perhaps you would be interested in doing more homework on the issue before simply throwing a video up that supports your ideology.

JustJan said...

I live very close to where this happened.

A few years ago I heard that a coach in Dearborn was fired because he was sharing the gospel with Muslim students. Now I know that he is not the only Christian who is coaching Muslim students and I am aware of someone who is still a coach and is even more bold in his proclamation of the gospel.

My suspicion is that it is all about who they handed materials to. If Josh McDowell has a booth and it requires a Muslim to walk up to the booth in order to receive the material there isn't much to complain about. These people were clearly approaching others and actively handing out materials.

Now I am not saying that they were wrong for doing this. I am just saying that's why it was brought to the attention of law enforcement so quickly.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

We can be thankful for one thing; a few of these individuals passing out this literature were Muslims who converted to Christianity.

I live close to Rochester, Michigan, and the population of Muslims is staggering in and around the area. The mosques there are allowed to blast their chants over loud speakers five times a day (against very STRONG protest).

I have been tempted to go into one of these mosques, SO MANY TIMES, with my Bible, and see if anyone would be willing to hear the truth.

I have never been a fan of freedom of religion in this country, because we open ourselves up to all sorts of satanic religions. But we coddle to these individuals because we are afraid of the possible negative consequences. HOW SAD! As our current President so truthfully and unabashedly stated, we are no longer a Christian nation. This is what truly sickens me!

Susan said...

Romans 13, David? Who's not obeying Romans 13, the participants? Or the police themselves under Muslim extremist influence? The last I checked, the Constitution, not Sharia laws, runs this country.

Yes, I think the ACLJ should get involved with this. This is ridiculous. Isn't Dearborn also the place where a Christian high school coach was fired by a Muslim principal because of his beliefs? There was a serious double-standard at play there. Doesn't look like anything's really changed.

http://creepingsharia.wordpress.com/2008/06/03/dearborn-coach-fired-for-muslims/

Dan said...

As a police officer myself, I am truly embarrassed by the actions of those officers and the Dearborn Police Department. They really should be ashamed of themselves.

David, first of all you have no idea whether these guys had a chip on their shoulder or not. But really, it doesn't matter if they did. They were standing on a public street (or sidewalk) outside of the festival, not obstructing traffic, peacefully and quietly handing out literature. Chip on their shoulder or not, they were within their rights under the Constitution of the United States. End of story. The Dearborn Police Department was WAY out of bounds on this one. I mean really, a five block radius around the festival?! Ridiculous!

RealityCheck said...

David,

First of all, you say play by the rules... who's rules would that be? Are you suggesting a higher set of rules than The Constitution?!?

Second, let's assume for the sake of argument that such a booth exist inside the festival... who cares?!? How does such a booth make the distribution of The Gospel of John illegal on a public street? If Josh is in that festival spreading the Gospel... good for Josh... how does that equal these guys... or me (for that matter) not being able to pass out the Gospel on a public street?

I don't know if you're a Christian or not... it doesn't sound like it.... but that really doesn't matter. Let's turn it around. Let's say it's a Christian Festival and Muslims have a booth set-up inside. Now a few other Muslims want to pass out copies of the Koran on the public street out in front of the festival. Are you saying that they shouldn't be able to?

Pooka said...

Additional discussion here: http://www.sharperiron.org/filings/6-23-10/15441#comments

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Why should anyone need a permit to TALK about their faith? They said (at their website) that they were arrested just for talking with Muslims about Jesus.

Also, did you notice that the police chief, Ronald Haddad, has been appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council?

Yikes.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

You know what I'd like to see?

I'd like to see the ACLU defend these guys!

(Bah ha ha ha ha ha ha.)

Rupert said...

You are aware of my position in regard to religion in general DJP, but I find it hypocritical that in a muslim country christians would not even be permitted to gather the way this group did here.
Basically, until women can wear bikinis on the beaches in muslim countries without being arrested/stoned/raped, we should not have to make special allowances for their practices here.

DJP said...

Well, no-profile-David, I see a lot of hysteria, and poor reading comprehension, and rants I'd already responded to.

Hopefully you had a nice cocoa and a good night's sleep; so today you can actually read the post and comments, and actually interact and retract appropriately.

BTW, I doubt my many non-American readers take it as an insult that I say they're (hel-lo?) not American.

DJP said...

Jan, were they, though? My understanding is that they were just standing there, offering the Gospel of John — then told they couldn't even do that within five blocks of the Muslimpalooza.

love God... said...

David...yes it does have to do with Sharia law. The Muslims do not want any Christian witnessing so they go to court and get their wish. David...what do you think about the Book of Acts? Do you think Peter and John had a chip on their shoulder and were just looking for a fight? You may have had the same reaction to Acts 4:18 as the council did. Or should Peter and John have obeyed the authorities ala Romans 13?

I could be wrong but I believe the gentlemen arrested where connected with Pastor Saieg who went before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to be able to hand out literature on the PERIMETER of the festival. I don't think it was JUST Pastor Saieg who was then able to hand out the materials on the perimeter. No these gentlemen do not have chips on their shoulders. They are not just trying to disobey and push the envelope to start a fight. They were sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a peaceable manner.

Kind of weird that the Christians don't get the benefit of the doubt from other Christians but the Muslims and gov’t get your sympathy?

DJP said...

Rupert, FTW!

(c:

RT said...

"Time, place and manner" restrictions on the exercise of free speech are pretty unremarkable. A court will have to decide whether the ones in this case are reasonable, serve a legitimate state interest and are fairly applied.

Terry Rayburn said...

JustJan wrote, "These people were clearly approaching others and actively handing out materials."

1. It would make no sense if they did not "approach others", since they had no booth, signs, or other identifying items.

2. Approaching others is not only a valid way to hand out literature, it's perfectly constitutional on a public street.

This kind of evangelism has been challenged many times by state and local authorities, and has been upheld in several Supreme and lesser Court decisions.

3. What the police did here was clearly a violation of the Constitution.

Booths were inside the event, which by permit became the equivalent of "private property".

The supposed troublemakers honored the rules of the no-distribution within the "private property", and stayed outside on public property.

4. The evangelists were being deliberately provocative, knowing there would be police action.

But so what? They enacted and filmed the situation to shed light on the problem.

5. Paul the Apostle, in appealing to Caesar in Acts, demonstrated the rightness of using what liberties the State has granted us, and pursuing those liberties.

6. One is blind not to see that America is in trouble, but to see it primarily as a political problem is a mistake.

Tea Party squealing about our pocketbooks (which I endorse) will not change the hearts or spiritual direction of the nation.

I won't predict if we will have a spiritual revival of some kind, but if we don't, Christians will need to be brave, not cowardly, in the future, just as in many other areas of the World.

Sidenote: It wasn't, by the way, a Muslim festival, but an Arab one. Obviously most attenders would be Muslim, but there are many Arab Christians.

Terry Rayburn said...

RT wrote, "A court will have to decide whether the ones in this case are reasonable, serve a legitimate state interest and are fairly applied."

1. All due respect, the Supreme Court has already decided. Passing out literature in a public area is clearly allowed, as long as there isn't a blocking of the area (obviously not the case here).

2. It doesn't have to "serve a legitimate state interest". In fact that is a reprehensible standard. The State is part of the problem.

3. Better than "fairness" is "constitutionality".

The Constitution should be applied "fairly", yes. It clearly wasn't here.

Terry Rayburn said...

To clarify, RT, I'm not saying that a court would NOT decide against these guys.

On the contrary, that's the direction courts are going in, sadly.

I'm saying that's part of the problem.

You sound like an attorney :)

RT said...

Terry:

In case I am misunderstood, allow me to clarify that it is the proposed restriction on free speech, not the free speech, that must serve a legitimate state interest. In this case, I imagine the state would argue that the legitimate state interest served by the restriction is "law and order" or "public safety." Obviously there is some point at which we all prefer to be protected from religious zealotry, or even aggressive commercial salesmanship. At its best, the law tries to find and administer fairly that boundary for the good of all citizens. Often, however, (and this case is probably an example) local authorities lean way over in favor of public peace at the expense of legitimate speech.

David said...

Well, Dan, I can assure that I am both a Christian and a citizen of the United States of America. The fact I have no profile is that I don't use nor comment on blogger. So I had to create one. Trust me, nothing sinister here. Laziness, perhaps, but nothing sinister.

The point is this, and this is what is so frustrating, we hear one side of a story and it is widely accepted as truth because it fits with our preconceived notions. I find it humorous that Christians believe that the government is filled with a bunch of Godless Atheists yet will gladly welcome Muslims and their law. It's as though we think the secularists are saying, "We want a separation of Church and State - unless it's a Muslim church and then, bring it on."

I would be inclined to agree with you had there not been clear evidence that there must be more to this story than we see from the gentlemen from the video. Josh McDowell, with whom I may not agree on every jot and tittle of theology, but would probably find myself in agreement with more often than not, was welcomed to distribute literature on festival grounds. If Shiria Law was of primary concern, why would you allow a well known Christian Apologist on your grounds? Mr. McDowell played by the rules of the festival, got a booth and passed out Christian literature. That’s where my Romans 13 comment came from – apologies for not making myself clear last evening.
Perhaps I can challenge those who disagree with my assessment to do a little research on the issue rather than simply taking one person's perspective.

Oh, and one other thought. Those who claim to follow Christ should keep this in mind. Jesus had his "rights" trampled on every moment while He walked on this earth. I find it humorous that His followers expect that we receive better treatment than He received.

DJP said...

Laziness I get, more's the pity. (c;

But all your other questions are answered in the comments above; so I don't really have anything to add.

Except to say that if I find that even my wording, with the links I gave to fuller information, needs any modification, when more information comes to light, I'll do it.

David said...

Dan, and everyone, here's one question I have yet to see an answer for:

If this was a matter where Muslim's are trying to enact Shira law on American soil, then why did they allow a well known Christian Apologist such as Josh McDowell to distribute materials at their festival?

Perhaps you would be willing, Dan, to link to Mr. McDowell's video where he says that the chief of police was nothing but gracious towards him?

http://www.josh.org/site/c.ddKDIMNtEqG/b.5733261/k.68C6/Dearborn_Arab_Festival.htm

Sir Aaron said...

I have a question. Is this the same David from the evolution threads at Pyro?

RealityCheck said...

David,
I watched the video from Josh and quite frankly I found it concerning. I get the impression from the combination of Josh’s video and this video that some kind of deal was struck. Something along the lines of, if the free distribution of Christian material "from a single source" is allowed within the festival, we the police, will not allow any such material to be distributed within a five block radius. Now I’m not sure this is the case and that’s why we all should want organizations like ACLJ or ADF to look into it.

We always need to keep this in mind David, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. -1 Peter 5:8. Working out a deal that allows a few Christians a controlled voice while completely denying the voice of ALL others (and their Constitutional rights) may look like a win-win at first but lead to a greater loss in the future.

RealityCheck said...

“I have a question. Is this the same David from the evolution threads at Pyro?”

Sir Aaron,
I was wondering the exact same thing last night. I have purposely stayed out of the debate at Pyro (this time around) because I quite frankly am tired of arguing with “Christians” to put Scripture ahead of whatever the latest scientific belief is… Colossians 2:8 anyone?!? However, last night I was reading a small thread over at “Hip and Thigh” where Fred Butler is talking about Theistic Evolution and BioLogos as well and noticed that a person named “David” was being a bit persnickety and suddenly the light went on. I’m not sure if it’s the same person or not but I linked him something to chew on if he’s really looking for answers.

David said...

Hey Guys - I can say I'm not that David. I've never commented at the Pyro blogs, although I have read in the past.

And don't get me wrong. I think that the only way to the Father is through the Son. Doesn't matter who you are or where you were born. You want forgiveness and reconciliation for the fact that you are a totally corrupt and sinful human being? You need Jesus' blood to cover your sins. End of story.

As far as whether or not this was a "one true voice" scenario, I doubt it. I'm pretty confident that people who have active ministries "around the world" had representation there and were sharing the good news.

That still doesn't answer the question: if Shiria Law doesn't allow for anyone to share a faith other than Islam, why would they allow Mr. McDowell to be there?

Terry Rayburn said...

David wrote, "...link to Mr. McDowell's video where he says that the chief of police was nothing but gracious towards him?"

Three things to remember:

1. Police will usually be gracious to anyone who follows the rules as they determine them.

2. The rules they set are sometimes morally and/or constitutionally wrong -- e.g. "Don't pass out gospel literature here in this public place";

or "Don't cross this line if you are 'colored folk' [to put it more nicely than they may have]", a la Martin Luther King's baton-weilding captors;

or "stop evangelizing children!", a la the Soviet politsiya who through Georgi Vins into prison.

3. "...then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up..." -- Pastor Martin Niemoller

Sir Aaron said...

David:

I only asked the question because that David also did not have a profile and is merely a trouble-maker. So I wasn't going to engage.

I'm not an expert on Islam, but from what I understand is that Sharia law specifically prohibits any evangelism (except for Islamic, of course). The conference was Arab not necessarily for Islam (but that seems like a trivial distinction to me). I disagree that the police were enforcing Sharia law. IMHO, what's going on is not specific to Islam. Homosexual events and other secular events have the same problems. People don't like what the Bible says about the exclusiveness of salvation or sin, so they create problems or lie to start fights with Christians. The heathen's natural response is to placate the group that screams the loudest, and besides they don't like Christians anyways. The Police enforcement merely is a reflection of this policy. They also don't want a riot so it's easier to remove the Christians than to protect free speech.

To secularlists, an enemy of my enemy is my friend. When Christians are persecuted and safely put under tyranny, the Muslims will turn on the secularists (which is what European countries are beginning to figure out).

The bottom line is that these Christians weren't doing anything illegal and they're rights were violated. Their case wil undoubtedly be dismissed quietly (which isn't a whole lot of consolation).

David said...

"The bottom line is that these Christians weren't doing anything illegal and they're rights were violated. Their case wil undoubtedly be dismissed quietly (which isn't a whole lot of consolation)."

Honestly? We don't know if they were doing anything illegal or not. Nor do we really know all their past. It would seem that a quick perusal of their site gives the impression that "this ain't their first rodeo".

Here's my arguement. They claim that Muslims are trying to enact Shiria Law on American soil. Shiria Law prohibits any sort of "evangelism" by a Christian. Yet they allowd Mr. McDowell to do just that.

Doesn't this sort of shoot down their arguement?

My understanding is that they cannot distribute materials within a certain zone around the festival without a booth. It would appear as though they were within that zone.

I'm just saying that we shouldn't be so quick to judge someone as wrong because they are Arab or Muslim any more than we should judge someone as correct because they are a Christian.

RT said...

Concur that this is not about Sharia but rather about free speech. It is unclear whether or not these folks were even charged, which is a common tactic to avoid judicial review. The group would now have to file suit to get a judge to even look at the issue. The authorities calculate the odds of this occuring and make decisions accordingly. Again, though, it is just about keeping the peace (perhaps unreasonably) and I think it is a stretch to characterize it as targeting Christians or Christianity per se.

Dan said...

I also have to concur, this is not about Sharia Law .... Yet. They main problem here is the clear cut violation of the Constitution. I'd be willing to bet my badge that those officers swore to UPHOLD the Constitution of the United States of America and the Constitution of their state. Hence the title ... sworn officer. Their willingness to prevent the peaceful handing out of literature to festival goers flies in the face of the very oaths they gave upon becoming lawmen. Absolutely shameful.

DJP said...

Thanks for all your thoughts, Dan.

The most charitable thought I can muster in view of that massive show of force is that they feared violence against the Christians, by the Muslims.

Sir Aaron said...

DJP:

Eight cops, four suspects. That's not at all unusual. I've performed arrests with a much, much higher ratio than that. It's not an atypical response if you are going to make that many arrests.

Sir Aaron said...

David:

If you are arguing that these guys did something illegal, then I'd disagree. The group clearly planned to have this happen and were very careful not to break any laws so that they would have a clear cut case. IF they did break any laws, as far as I'm concerned, they were totally unconstitutional.

If you are arguing that these guys are a bit overdramatic about enforcement of Sharia law, then I'd agree. However, it's a fact that Sharia law prohibits proselytizing by other religions and it's a fact that many Muslims want Sharia law to be enforced over the whole of the planet. That they are doing it in a slow methodical manner, using our own tolerance against us doesn't make it any less serious a threat in the long term.

What's going on here is that the Muslims are using the same subtlety that other groups use. Cast Christians as the hate mongers who disturb the peace then get law enforcement to remove them from the field as the offenders. Police Officers, much like the military, generally follow orders and take them into custody regardless of any feelings they may have about the situation(not an excuse but an explanation).

Watch and see. This will never go to trial.

Sir Aaron said...

These guys also posted a response to your question, David. You might want to check it out.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I came late to the comment thread, but I had a disturbing dream last night, and when I awoke, it was this video that I began to think over. (Could it be related to the dream?)

But here are my thoughts: I don't think it's a stretch to call it targeting Christians. If these guys were handing out coupons for free chicken sandwiches, would they have been arrested and told to go 5 blocks away? No, it really appears that the officers were already on their way before the cameras even started rolling, as if they were expecting to arrest these men.

Did Josh have to pay a fee to have his booth in the festival? If so, then is that really freedom, or something else?

DJP said...

Eight policemen... to handle a few guys holding Gospels of John? Yikes.

Joshua Cookingham said...

I'm also annoyed at the fact that the Police officer confiscated his camera. As a media major, I know for a fact that the rule is you are allowed to film ANYTHING that is public without fear of reprisal or lawsuit. True, he gave it back, but he shouldn't have taken it in the first place.
BTW, did anyone notice hoe one of the Officers seemed to turn around and go "Oh jeez, that guys' TAPING this?"

Sir Aaron said...

Any disturbance. A lot of officers looked like they were in the area and were just standing around.

Merrilee, of course they targeted Christians. Heathen don't like Christians. I have friends who used to evangelize on the street corners on Friday nights in Houston (Way of the Master style). They stopped because it started getting very dangerous. These types of things happen all the time at homosexual parades and rallies. A couple Christians show up to hand out tracts or protest, the mob of hedonists get all riled up, then the police swoop down and lock up the Christians.

It appears these guys knew what was going to happen and that's why they videotaped it.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Sir Aaron,

My husband sometimes goes out with a friend to South Philly and does the same, and some nights it gets a little tense. Sometimes the police show up if there is an irate heckler, but it's usually to protect the few, not the mob. The example in Dan's post is the exact opposite. The only mob I could see was the mob in uniform. Having been a former security officer myself, I'll say that the camera man might have thought better than to walk up behind the officers and get closer to the scene. Those men are armed... Just sayin'.

JustJan said...

Ok so this is what I found out this week from a brother in the Lord who lives in Dearborn.

Some Christians are frustrated with the restriction to occupy a booth to hand out materials or engage people at the festival only as the public approaches them. It is a problem for many Muslims walking up to an overtly Christian booth as it puts them at risk of reprisals from family and friends.

Additionally, most of the people who live in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights are not willing to challenge the rules of engagement for the festival. There is very little public discussion of the push toward accommodating the preferences of the Muslim population. We have seen this even at the U of M campus in Dearborn which has a very active Muslim Accommodation Task Force. Some Christians in the area realize that if the issues are not discussed that the problem will only get worse, but getting a public conversation going has been tough.

I do think the rules at the festival were overly restrictive. However, those rules are not new and they are open to be challenged. If you don't challenge them before the festival and you want to violate them by handing out copies of the gospel of John you should be prepared to deal with the consequences.

I have wondered what the reaction would have been had they preached the gospel instead of handing out copies.

RealityCheck said...

Hey Dan,

I ran across this and thought such an update might interest some. I didn't know if I should email it to you or put it here even though it's been a while since anything was posted under this topic. I decided to go with here.

Some update info. on that Dearborn nonsense;

http://www.abnsat.com/abnnew/

love God... said...

These are also recent videos on the arrests..

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4071

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=4070