Sunday, January 23, 2005

In-your-face evangelist challenges hate-crime law's limits

From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

"Since the Bill of Rights was first put to paper, there has been a fine line between what's free expression and what's not. You're free to speak your mind in public, but not free to intimidate somebody because their race or religion is different than yours. You can peaceably assemble in a public space -- and Center City Philadelphia is indeed a public space -- but if you fail to disperse when asked to do so by police, you can still be arrested. You have the freedom to worship, but where does worship stop and provocation begin?"

There is a pretty interesting case in Philadelphia regarding a Christian group called Repent America and their activities at a Philadelphia homosexual event.

On the face of it, I have to think the Philly D.A. is reaching. Now the article describes the group as agressive, but if the Christian group wasn't threatening anyone and didn't engage in violence, I can't imagine why their action is "ethnic intimidation" (PA doesn't use the phrase "hate crime")

My only question, why were they the only ones arrested? I suspect there's something more to this, but of course, that's just my liberal bias. Maybe their leader, Michael Marcavage, is right:

"Philadelphia police," Marcavage declares on his Web site, are "under the control of homosexuals."

Frank Rizzo must be spinning in his grave.


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