The Dearborn, Michigan Christians who were arrested for handing out Christian literature at a Muslim event have won a $100,000 settlement from the city.


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right or below. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

A victory for free speech: The Dearborn, Michigan Christians who were arrested for handing out Christian literature at a Muslim event have won a $100,000 settlement from the city.

Share

8 comments

  • Jim

    I must ask, what is the point to all this?
    Dearborn has a population of roughly 100,000 people, and 40,000 are Arab Americans- almost half. They are the driving force to the economics of the city. And each year they hold a festival, of which being Muslim is part.
    Now why would anyone hand out tracts just outside the festival in an effort to convert, or maybe just to provoke?. What is the point, other than provocation? Would they hand out tracts outside of a Jewish festival? And how would such actions be accepted outside of a Christian festival if the roles were reversed? And I read this from the Associated Press
    “According to The Associated Press, the festival had offered Christian evangelist George Saieg a free booth in 2010, but he and his followers were barred from walking around freely on the sidewalks with literature trying to convert those Muslims in attendance to Christianity.”
    Did the judge rule properly? Of course. Free speech is free speech. But at the end of the day the whole thing cost the city $100k, just to let someone be unreasonable. And thats not a reason to be proud.

  • Jim,

    You ask, “What is the point of all this?” The point, which you recognize but wish to trivialize, is that in a free society people should always be free to proselytize. One group does not have the right to shut down debate — in this case the followers of Islam — merely because they want to. For the police to step in and act in favor of one group over another carries terrifying possibilities, It is a shame you wish to ignore this threat to our freedom.

    As for what actually happened, watch the video I posted here.

    As I noted then, “The video below … shows a clear violation of the Christian activists’ freedom of speech and assembly, since they were standing on public property and had not caused any disturbances when the police moved in to harass them.”

    Finally, I would be equally outraged if Muslim followers were arrested outside a Jewish or Christian festival, for the same reasons. Fortunately, such arrests don’t happen, because Jewish and Christian followers so far recognize the value of freedom, and wouldn’t ask the police to arrest anyone.

  • Jim

    I had already watched the video. And I noticed that the one group tracts were handed to accepted them graciously.
    So you and I agree that the judge ruled properly- yes indeed we are free to proselytize anywhere we want. If I in fact trivialized it, I would disagree. And free speech guarantees our right to be unreasonable in that quest. Which is the point I am making- it was not the Arab Americans in the festival who were unreasonable.

    Since I am a Christian, I still ask what was the point? One of the tasks asked of me is to spread the good news. So, how many Muslims at the festival exposed to this group of Christians are thinking, “You know, they are making a good point and I think I would like to learn more?” Or how many do you think say to themselves, “These people are here to bother me.”
    I know what my reaction would be if the roles were reversed.
    And therefore, as a Christian, what was the point?

  • Jim

    I’ll also add that this whole thing saddens me as an American, as a Christian, and as a tax payer. I don’t see anything good or redemptive about any of it.

  • Rene Borbon

    It’s real simple, the police violated the law. Let freedom ring. And let Christianity convert the Muslims livng in darkness, in our nation.

  • Rene Borbon

    Jim-

    Wouldn’t Jesus’s actions at the Temple be considered provocative when he overturned the moneychangers’ tables? When Jesus called the Pharisees white washed tombs, wouldn’t you call that provocative? As a Christian, shouldn’t you challenge non-believers when you can?

    Being a Christian doesn’t equate to beinng a submissive doormat. Take it from a veteran who served in Afghanistan, where Christianity is illegal.

    Point is, we need to bring the good news to Muslims, regardless of police trying to stop us, it’s our legal right and moral obligation.

    Respectfully.

  • Jim

    Hi, Rene. Always good to hear from you!
    There is a huge difference between being submissive and being confrontational, or provocative. Handing the tracts out 5 blocks away, like the police wanted, is not being submissive. Its still being allowed to practice free speech. Handing them out at the entrance to the festival is being intentionally confrontational and provocative. And the proof is what has transpired one year later:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXNPJGksoio&feature=related
    Now the whole thing has degenerated into name calling, yelling and bottle throwing- by both sides. So you tell me, how many of these Arab-Americans have been swayed by the good news now? To me, not the end result Jesus would have wanted. I have a hard time believing that the man interviewed speaks in any way for Jesus…but that is just me.
    You are right in the example of Jesus in the temple- he protested an action taking place on holy ground, not a religion. But I am also right when I say Jesus suggested we pray in private, and in Jesus instructing us how someone from another religion actually has a better understanding of what is expected from us than people in our own religion (the good Samaritan).
    If it was me, I would have taken the free booth that was offered to me, smiled at those who passed by, and engaged those who wished to speak with me. But I know that does not seem to fit with many today. But I think the end result would have been better.

    Hey, is there anything you and I can agree on?
    Lets try this: Giants or Pats this weekend?
    Have a good one!

  • Rene Borbon

    Jim~

    I don’t subscribe to your view that we cannot be provocative. I’ve been on mission trips to France and had people insult me and my fellow believers ~~ when we were handing out Bibles in front of a cathedral.

    In a free country, provocative speech is permitted, so long as it does not provoke violence. I saw no evidence of violence being provoked. As long as these people are in a public area and are not provoking violence, let them exercise their constitutional rights.

    This view has never been clearer to me than since I returned from living in a Muslim country for 7 months.

    Jesus’ ministry was conducted in the outdoors, indoors, anywhere. Handing out Bibles in public and talking about Jesus in public is now provocative? Why are we assuming that Arabs at the festival are Muslim and will engage in violence if someone hands them a Bible and talks about Jesus?

    PS: I don’t enjoy football.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *