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Victory for free speech: A federal court today ruled that the First Amendment rights of several Christians were violated by the police when they forcibly removed them from a 2012 Arab-American festival in Dearborn, Michigan when the Muslims there began throwing bottles, eggs and other objects at them.
By an 8-7 vote, the entire 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday said Wayne County, Michigan and two deputy police chiefs were civilly liable to members of Bible Believers for violating their First Amendment rights. The case now returns to a federal district judge to award damages and attorney’s fees.
It is important to understand what happened. The Muslim festival was open to the general public, being held on public streets. All the Christians did was walk through that festival holding signs and preaching the gospel. They were then attacked by a mob, and the police, rather than arresting the attackers, threatened the Christians with arrest if they didn’t shut up and leave. When the Christian refused the police escorted them away.
Watch the video of the event below the fold if you don’t believe me.
The bad news however is that the court only ruled in favor of free speech by an 8-7 vote, and that it was overturning a lower court ruling that had said the police had the right to remove the Christians. These details are further proof that a large percentage of the American intellectual community now believes it perfectly reasonable for the government to silence religious speech, if it thinks it has to, and that it is perfectly reasonable to accept the heckler’s veto when someone wishes to express an opinion that is disagreeable.