Video: Cops arrest Christians for handing out gospel at Dearborn Arab festival? Update: Pushback

posted at 6:41 pm on June 23, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Powerline, so insane is this that I’m paranoid there’s a key detail missing somewhere that might explain the whole thing. Could the Christians have been trespassing on private property, maybe? Sure doesn’t look like it, and in any case, they weren’t arrested for trespassing. They were arrested for “disorderly conduct,” which apparently now extends to the offense of offering religious literature to someone who might not want it.

If this is what it looks like, replete with cops confiscating video cameras to keep what happened off the record, it’s one of the most ridiculous First Amendment violations you’ll ever see.

The Thomas More Law Center, an Ann Arbor-based Christian legal defense organization, has agreed to represent four evangelists who were arrested on charges of disturbing the peace Friday night at the Arab International Festival.

Dearborn police officers violated their free speech rights when their video cameras, which were used to record conversations with festival-goers, were confiscated, said lead attorney Robert Muise…

Muise faxed a letter Monday to Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad requesting the return of his clients’ cameras and tapes.

The Police Department has not responded to Muise’s request.

Here’s the Thomas More Center’s press release, which notes that there was trouble at last year’s Dearborn Arab festival too. Evidently the cops were worried that the presence of Christian lit at a mostly Muslim event might produce some “excitement,” so they solved the problem by punishing the party that tried to peacefully exercise its rights. Note to the defendants: Don’t forget to ask for damages. A lot of damages.

Update: In the interests of fairness, here’s criticism of the Christians from what I assume is a Muslim source. But it’s singularly lame: His argument consists of showing about 10 seconds of footage of someone else at the festival saying “Jesus is lord,” which is supposed to rebut the claim that the Christians were arrested for proselytizing, and repeating over and over that they were arrested for disorderly conduct, as if that somehow clarifies things. The whole question is why their conduct was supposedly “disorderly.” Were they drunk? Insulting passersby? Doing something else to breach the peace? Or just exercising their First Amendment rights? Note the narrator makes no claim that they were truly “disorderly” in their behavior, merely that that’s what the cops hauled them in for.

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The government can put reasonable restrictions around the right to free speech and right to practice religion. This was an issue about where and how the Bibles could be handed out. The City required any literature to be handed out in booths. The City did not restrict people from talking about the Bible.

And the only reason I seem like a mouthpiece is because it doesn’t look like anyone else is bothering to do much checking behind what is being reported.

Jimbo3 on June 25, 2010 at 11:32 AM

City ordinances and restrictions do not trump the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. It’s been tried before.

And the reason you seem like a mouthpiece is because you stop at nothing to justify the behavior, no matter how egregious.

tom on June 25, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Tyranny can’t be seen as a democracy by anyone that’s adequately literate.

blink on June 25, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Would that include Plato? Or, perhaps, Alexander Hamilton?

“It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity.”

Alexander Hamilton June 21, 1788

MadisonConservative on June 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM



Here is the rest of that second video. It was bugging me that this must have been a differing time of the day at another event. But that second video was edited! Here is the rest of it:


papa_giorgio on June 26, 2010 at 8:33 AM


Here is the rest of that second video. It was bugging me that this must have been a differing time of the day at another event. But that second video was edited! Here is the rest of it:

papa_giorgio on June 26, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Thanks for the link

aikidoka on June 26, 2010 at 9:09 AM


Here is my critique (which is almost never, but in this case I must) of HotAir:


papa_giorgio on June 26, 2010 at 5:32 PM