A federal judge in Michigan has ruled that law enforcement officers were justified in muzzling the free speech of a group of Christians.
The Christians were standing on sidewalks at an international Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan. In response to their signs and public preaching, a mob of Muslim youth gathered and pelted them with various objects.
Law enforcement officers intervened, but instead of arresting anyone in the mob they warned the Christians to cease their activities or be arrested.
The judge ruled that the mob violence justified the intervention by the officers against the Christians. See the WorldNetDaily story below (highlights added).
In other words, because the Muslim mob reacted angrily with violence, the officers had a duty to muzzle the speech rather than stop the violence.
|The message is loud and clear: If you are a Muslim, and you object to speech you don’t like, you can react with violence, because government authorities will reward your violence by muzzling the speech you don’t like.|
|Please join us in fighting back to defend our First Amendment right to freedom of speech by signing our open letter to Congress and the state legislatures.We’ve declared September 25th to be “Freedom of Speech Day.” September 25th is the 224th anniversary of congressional passage of the Bill of Rights.
Find out more about “Freedom of Speech Day” activities and how you can host a “Freedom of Speech Day” event in your community.
JUDGE GOES OFF DEEP END TO SHUT UP CHRISTIANS
Suppression of speech fine if Muslims threaten violence
A federal judge has issued a startling ruling that suppressing Christian speech is allowed when Muslims threaten violence because they’re upset over the message.
The ruling from Judge Patrick J. Duggan in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan granted Wayne County’s motion for summary judgment of a lawsuit brought by a team of Christians who were badgered, bullied and targeted with garbage thrown by Muslims who disliked their message at last year’s Arab Fest in Dearborn, Mich.
Officials with American Freedom Law Center, who have been arguing the case on behalf of the Christians, also said the judge denied AFLC’s motion requesting that the court issue an order preventing the Wayne County Sheriff and his deputies from restricting the Christian evangelists from displaying their banners and signs on the public sidewalks outside of this year’s Arab Festival.
It is scheduled for June.
In his ruling, Duggan said, “The court finds that the actual demonstration of violence here provided the requisite justification for [the Wayne County sheriffs'] intervention, even if the officials acted as they did because of the effect the speech had on the crowd.”
The case had been filed by the AFLC after several Christian evangelists were violently assaulted by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at the festival last year in Dearborn, which has the largest concentration of Muslims in the United States.
The lawsuit, which will be appealed to a higher court, alleged the county, sheriff and deputies refused to protect the Christians from the attack, and they threatened to arrest the Christians for disorderly conduct if they did not halt their speech activity and immediately leave the festival area.
Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, said, “The First Amendment was dealt a severe blow today as a result of this ruling. Indeed, this ruling effectively empowers Muslims to silence Christian speech that they deem offensive by engaging in violence. And pursuant to this ruling, the Christian speakers are now subject to arrest for engaging in disorderly conduct on account of the Muslim hecklers’ violent response to their speech. In short, this ruling turns the First Amendment on its head.”
David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, added: “This fight for our fundamental right to freedom of speech does not stop here. We have filed an immediate appeal of this ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While Judge Duggan may have been the first judge to rule on this issue, he won’t be the last. Indeed, we are prepared to take this case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary because it is imperative that our free speech rights not be subject to mob rule. This is the United States, not Benghazi.”
The violence developed at the 2012 events when Christian evangelists walking on public sidewalks surrounding the event while carrying signs with biblical messages were assaulted with stones, bottles and debris by attendees of the festival.
The signs that brought on the attack included “Know the God of the Bible” and “Trust Jesus.”
Several of the Christian demonstrators walked away bruised and bloodied from the attack. Ruben Israel, the leader of the group, pleaded with law enforcement officials to intervene so that the demonstration could continue peacefully.
However, the officer refused and demanded the Christians leave the premises or face arrest for disorderly conduct.
Shortly after, Israel contacted AFLC, which filed a federal lawsuit against Wayne County and several officials from the Wayne County sheriff’s office. AFLC charged that the officers failed to uphold their constitutional duty to protect the Christians.
A video has been released of the 2012 confrontation that explains authorities not only failed to protect the Christians, they ordered them to leave the Arab festival under threat of arrest for “disorderly conduct.”
However, not one Muslim was arrested for the attack, which left several members of the Christian group injured, the video says.
The video, and a related complaint, showed the crowd – reminiscent of a rock-throwing “intifada” scene from the Middle East – hurling a dizzying barrage of objects at the Christians, who were standing passively with their signs.
WND later learned that the Christian crowd had been carrying a pole with a pig’s head attached to the top, further angering the Muslim crowd. At the beginning of the video, Christian street preachers shout, “God is good, and God is not Allah!”
A the 2:17 mark of the video, the mob can be heard screaming: “You want to jump ‘em? C’mon, let’s go!”
One boy yells, “Let’s beat the sh-t out of them!”
A girl shouts, “Go home! Do you understand English?!”
Despite the attacks the Christians endured, a man identified in the video as Deputy Chief Dennis Richardson of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office tells them, “You’re a danger to the safety right now.”
Officers claim they don’t have the manpower to protect the Christians at the festival.
“Your safety is in harm’s way. You need to protect everybody,” said Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. “You do have the option to leave. I just want to make that clear.”
Israel replied, “You have the option to stand with us” as Jaafar walked away, leaving the Christians to the mob.
When police leave, the crowd continues harassing the Christians and screaming profanities.
Then police begin escorting the Christians away from the crowd.
Richardson tells Israel: “We have the responsibility of policing the entire festival, and obviously your conduct is such that it’s causing a disturbance and is a direct threat to the safety of everyone here. Someone could get hurt. You already have blood on your face. One of the festival people, one of my officers, anybody can get hurt. Now we’re going to escort you out.”
Israel explains that the mob throws things and becomes more aggressive when police leave the scene.
“Part of the reason that they throw things on someone is because you tell them stuff that enrages them,” Richardson argues.
AFLC said the Christians were wearing shirts with Scripture quotes and Christian messages.
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The right-to-work law went into effect last Thursday, but prior to the law going into effect at least 41 school districts and five colleges had approved contracts that circumvent the new law, for a few years. There may be a price to pay, however; Republicans in the Michigan House of Representatives are threatening to apply costly sanctions on these districts and institutions. The Detroit Free Press reports:
“House Republicans have voted for budgets that cut funding for the institutions and districts that signed contracts between Dec. 10, 2012 — the day that the right-to-work bills received final passage and a signature from Gov. Rick Snyder — and Thursday.
Under the law, any contracts in place before the law goes into effect on Thursday, would be legally binding until they expire, including provisions mandating that employees pay union dues. So school districts, colleges, even Washtenaw County employees, negotiated new contracts or extended current pacts to be in place before the law takes effect.”
“The cuts, which would take effect if the education and community officials can’t prove at least a 10% savings from the contracts, would: cut 15% from state appropriations to universities; eliminate a 2% increase that has been slated for community colleges; cut technology and performance grants for K-12 public schools, and withhold some revenue-sharing funds from communities.”
Universities stand to lose the most. For instance, the University of Michigan could lose up to $47 million.
Governor Snyder has been cautious in commenting on the budget bills because they are still subject to a few modifications. “If people are bargaining in good faith and showing real benefits, I don’t believe they should be penalized,” Snyder said. “But if they’re simply extending the date, then I can see legislators having a concern.”
The contract extensions will lock members into financially supporting their respective union for up to 10 years. So, even though right-to-work was passed with the intent of giving employees the freedom to choose whether or not to support a union, many will be forced, against their will, to finance a union.
Enter three brave teachers from the Taylor, Michigan School District. The three filed a lawsuit against the school board and the Taylor Federation of Teachers over an extension — one that will bind them to continued financial support of the union until 2023, while also facing a 10 percent pay cut.
Angela Steffke, Rebecca Metz and Nancy Rhatigan are the three teachers who value their freedom. “This is about our civil rights,” Steffke, a special education teacher in the Taylor school district, said in a press release. “This is about fighting for our freedom of association and fighting against coercion in the workplace.”
They believe the union security clause is illegal for a couple of reasons:
- They argue Michigan law prohibits such an agreement from lasting longer than the collective bargaining agreement.
- Additionally, they argue the law prohibits such agreements from binding future school boards to honor them, which is the case in Taylor.
“This is really a union insecurity clause, because rather than proving its worth to members, the union is forcing all teachers to continue paying dues or agency fees through 2023,” Derk Wilcox, the Mackinac Center Legal Foundation’s senior attorney, explained to the Detroit Free Press.
Labor leaders have also alluded to a 2014 ballot push to repeal the legislation.
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