Tag Archives: 1st amendment

1. Introduction to History of the First Amendment

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry

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Bible Doctrine Concerning Relationship of Church and State (Click here to go to links to all lessons)

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2. Definitions of “Separation of Church and State,” “Established Church,” and “Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty”

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © February 22, 2018

Christians, except for a small minority who have ferreted out the truth, and secularists have accepted the brand of historical revisionism presented them by those they trust.[1] Revisionists revise in spite of the fact that he truth is available. This study presents accurate historical facts which are readily available through honest research. See [2] for link to some resources which verify this.   Both Christian revisionists (such as David Barton and Roger Federer) and secular revisionists (such as Leo Pfeffer,[3]) have distorted the true history of the First Amendment; “Christian” revisionism through manipulation of selected facts taken out of context and other dishonest devices and secular revisionism, although much more honest and accurate in reporting historical fact, through their inability to properly analyze because they leave God and the spiritual out of the equation.[4]

Revisionists, both “Christian” and secular, work on the lowest level, at the public level. They disseminate books, articles, videos, and public media interviews. They select facts out of context which support their agenda. Their adherents trust and believe them. Few followers have time to check out what they are being told. Even though legal and historical scholars have published the truth, their works remain obscure; the general public has neither the time nor inclination to examine the truth of what they are being fed. This study is based upon undeniable historic fact. Anyone can discover and verify these facts, if they have the time.

Secular revisionists such as Leo Pferrer have been very instrumental in the development of First Amendment law at the highest level—in the courts. Although Pfeffer’s work, unlike that of Christian revisionists, was for the most part factually accurate, he simply did not get it even though he did mention God. On the other hand, Christian revisionists, usually knowingly, present a factually false view of history. See [5] for link to a book which explains “Christian” revisionism. They have disseminated their history to the general public so successfully that the general Christian population who is interested in history as well as many politicians all the way up to Presidents of the United States have accepted and continued to disseminate the accepted “Christian” view of history. “Christian” revisionism has been published in briefs, memorandums of law, etc. in court cases all the way up to the Supreme Court. To present lies to such studied authorities is discrediting to Christianity in general. Although some “Christian” revisionists have now been exposed before the public in general, blind Christians continue to follow their teachings.[6] After all, most Christians believe that other “Christians” would not lie to them.

Religious freedom without persecution of “heretics” was historically rare, almost non-existent before the founding of the colony or Rhode Island. God’s people have always, regardless of persecution, come together as local churches, preached the Gospel, and helped their fellow man. Paul wrote in the midst of persecution:

  • “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;”[7]
  • “We, having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.”[8]

In the preceding verse, Paul quoted a portion of Psalm 116.10 which says in its entirety, “”I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted:” Tied up in the liberty given believers by Christ is speaking (“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”[9]), and associating or meeting together (“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is;”[10]). Furthermore, God gave mankind the Bible, which in certain times past, was banned and burned. The First Amendment was written and ratified with the intent of protecting God’s churches, the exercise of religion by the dissenters in the colonies, the preaching of the Gospel, the coming together to worship God, the dissemination of literature, mainly the dissemination of God’s Word, and the right to petition the civil government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment was the culmination of a long spiritual warfare between established churches and dissenters, mainly the Baptists. God’s power moved mightily during that period of conflict. Many believers suffered persecution. The roots of the struggle in America were embedded in New England, spread to the south, to Virginia, and then to the new nation.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

True historical facts prove that the religion clause of the First Amendment is a legal statement of the principle of religious freedom, or soul liberty, or separation of church and state which conforms to biblical principles. Bible-believing Christians, based upon their spiritual beliefs, fought the fight which resulted in the First Amendment. They made the spiritual Bible-based arguments and practiced their faith despite persecution. Their efforts and arguments gradually convinced others.

Many of the early colonists were Protestants who thought Luther and/or Calvin were correct in their belief that church and state should be united. Others, the Anglicans, brought the state-church concepts of union of church and state of England to the colonies. Dissenters believed in and fought for separation of church and state. The First Amendment was primarily the result of a spiritual warfare between those holding opposing Scriptural interpretations, the established churches versus the dissenters, primarily the Baptists.

  • “Of the Baptists, at least, it may be truly said that they entered the conflict in the New World with a clear and consistent record on the subject of soul liberty. ‘Freedom of conscience’ had ever been one of their fundamental tenets. John Locke, in his ‘essay on Toleration,’ says: ‘The Baptists were the first and only propounders of absolute liberty, just and true liberty, equal and impartial liberty.’ And the great American historian, Bancroft, says: ‘Freedom of Conscience, unlimited freedom of mind, was from the first a trophy of the Baptists.’ Vol. II., pages 66, 67.
  • “The history of the other denominations shows that, in the Old World, at least, they were not in sympathy with the Baptist doctrine of soul liberty, but in favor of the union of Church and State, and using the civil power to compel conformity to the established church….
  • “The Reformation which began with Martin Luther corrected many errors of faith and practice among those who came out of the corrupt and apostate church, but not all. It was left to the sect once ‘everywhere spoken against’ to teach their Protestant brethren the lesson of soul liberty, and this they did in the school of adversity in the New World.”[11]

At times, persecuting established churches became persecuted churches when they moved to other colonies controlled by another church/state establishment. When that happened, the persecutors generally became dissenters seeking religious tolerance or religious freedom.

Beating of Obadiah Holmes for “heresy” by the Puritans in Massachusetts.

The First Amendment to the Constitution resulted from “a factual relationship that was rapidly solidifying when the Constitution was amended by the Bill of Rights.” The First Amendment was the final product of a long struggle by men who believed strongly in the God of the Bible and who were willing to die rather than bow down to false religion. Their spirit was fused into the ordering of the affairs of the United States. “A wall of separation which would bar that spirit from making itself felt in secular concerns can never be built, because it would have to bisect the human heart.”[12] William H. Marnell correctly observed that:

  • “[t]he First Amendment was not the product of indifference toward religion. It was not the product of the deism which prevailed in the Enlightenment, however much the spirit of deism may have been present in certain of the Founding Fathers. Above, all, it was not the product of secularism, and to translate the spirit of twentieth-century secularism back to eighteenth-century America is an outrage to history. The First Amendment was rather a logical outcome of the Reformation and its ensuing developments. It was so far removed from secularism as to be the product of its exact opposite, the deep-seated concern of a people whose religious faith had taken many forms, all of them active, all of them sincerely held. It was so far removed from indifference toward religion [specifically Christianity] as to be the result of its antithesis, the American determination that the diversity of churches might survive the fact of political action.”[13]
Puritans hung 4 Quakers for returning to Massachusetts after being banished for their religious beliefs.

The dissidents in the colonies, chiefly the Baptists, were able to gain a foothold, and they played it for all it was worth. The Baptist theology of the founding era, initially under the leadership of Roger Williams and John Clarke, successfully challenged the doctrines of the established churches concerning the relationship of church and state. Among the results were the establishment of the first civil government in history of any lasting significance with religious liberty, the government of the colony of Rhode Island, and later the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which required religious freedom for churches and freedom of conscience for individuals. The First Amendment allowed churches to operate under God without persecution. The First Amendment did not apply to the states.

Primarily due to the efforts of our Baptist forefathers, a time came, as Baptist pastor and historian John Callender said in 1838, when

  • “[e]xperience has dearly convinced the world, that unanimity in judgment and affection cannot be secured by penal laws….
  • “Indulgence to tender consciences, might be a reproach to the Colony [of Rhode Island], an hundred years ago, [that is in 1738, one hundred years before Callender wrote this], but a better way of thinking prevails in the Protestant part of the Christian church at present. It is now a glory to the Colony, to have avowed such sentiments so long ago, while blindness in this article happened in other places, and to have led the way as an example to others, and to have first put the theory into practice.
  • “Liberty of conscience is more fully established and enjoyed now, in the other New-English Colonies; and our mother Kingdom grants a legal toleration to all peaceable and conscientious dissenters from the parliamentary establishment. Greater light breaking into the world and the church, and especially all parties by turns experiencing and complaining aloud of the hardships of constraint, they are come to allow as reasonable to all others, what they want and challenge for themselves. And there is no other bottom but this to rest upon, to leave others the liberty we should desire ourselves, the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free. This is doing as we would be done by, the grand rule of justice and equity; this is leaving the government of the church to Jesus Christ, the King and head over all things, and suffering his subjects to obey and serve him.”[14]

By the time the First Amendment was added to the United States Constitution, only New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut had established churches. In 1833 Massachusetts became the last state to disestablish.

Baptists wanted religious freedom. Some probably could foresee the ideal of a church under God, a civil government under God, with neither church nor state over the other. But few knew how to have a civil government under God without establishing a church. Why? Fifteen hundred years of history had witnessed “Christian” establishments made up of church-state or state-church unions. Therefore, one should not be too hard on those early Protestants in America who continued those unions, since, according to Isaac Backus:

  • “[many things] prove that those fathers [the leaders of the Puritans in Massachusetts] were earnestly concerned to frame their constitution both in church and state by divine rule; and as all allow that nothing teaches like experience, surely they who are enabled well to improve the experience of past ages, must find it easier now to discover the mistakes of that day, than it was for them to do it then. Even in 1637, when a number of puritan ministers in England, and the famous Mr. Dod among them, wrote to the ministers here, that it was reported that they had embraced certain new opinions, such as ‘that a stinted form of prayer and set liturgy is unlawful; that the children of godly and approved Christians are not to be baptized, until their parents be set members of some particular congregation; that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are not to be received to the Lord’s Supper until they be admitted set members,’ &c., Mr. Hooker expressed his fears of troublesome work about answering of them, though they may appear easy to the present generation.”[15]

This chapter will succinctly summarize the true history of religious liberty in America, initially pointing out some of the misleading teachings of secular and Christian revisionists. Ultimately, Christians can accomplish nothing with lies.[16]


[1] Influential Christian revisionists include non-scholars such as David Barton and Roger Federer. Secular revisionsts include scholars such as Leo Pfeffer. Pfeffer’s book Church, State and Freedom, was called a “masterpiece” and the ultimate sourcebook for the history of the evolution of the all-American principle of  separation of church and state. Pfeffer was an American Jewish lawyer, constitutional scholar, and humanist who was active in movement for religious freedom in the United States, and was one of leading legal proponents of the separation of church and state.

[2] List of Scholarly Resources which Explain and Comprehensively Document the True Histor of Religious Freedom in America.

[3] Leo Pfeffer, Church, State, and Freedom (Boston: The Beacon Press, 1953), pp. 81-93.

[4] Influential constitutional “scholars” such as Leo Pfeffer, since they have no concept of God or His sovereignty, have removed the most important aspect of debate from the equation—the spiritual aspect. Pfeffer, misrepresents spiritual matters because he does not understand them. He relegates the spiritual to the merely “ideological.” He attributes Madison’s positions on the issue of separation of church and state to his reliance on John Locke, and quotes Locke; then, even though Locke, in the quotes cited by Pfeffer, talks of government interference with the care and salvation of souls which belongs to God, Pfeffer never mentions God in his discussion but rather emphasizes Locke’s “social contract theory.” He overemphasizes the influence of rationalism and deism in gaining the First Amendment. He falsely proclaims that the “first four presidents of the United States were either Deists or Unitarians.” He asserts that the Great Awakening “emphasized an emotional, personal religion” which appealed directly to the individual, stressing the rights and duties of the individual conscience and its answerability exclusively to God.[4] He, like all secular scholars, simply did not get it even though he did mention God. He had no choice but to mention God, since a controversy over what God taught in the Bible was at the center of the controversy. He simply did not and could not examine that controversy. Lost men and saved men who were spiritually ignorant have led the way in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

[5] The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus/Christian Revisionists on Trial….

[6] See Exposing Catholic/Calvinist/Reformed Historic Revisionism.

[7] 2 Co. 4.8-9.

[8] 2 Co. 4.13.

[9] Mk. 16.15.

[10] He. 10.25a.

[11] Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), pp. 14-15.

[12] William H. Marnell, The First Amendment: Religious Freedom in America from Colonial Days to the School Prayer Controversy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1964), pp.  xii-xiii.

[13] Ibid.

[14] John Callender, The Civil and Religious Affairs of the Colony of Rhode-Island (Providence: Knowles, Vose & Company, 1838), pp. 108-109.

[15] Isaac Backus, A History of New England With Particular Reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists, Volume 1 (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock Publishers, Previously published by Backus Historical Society, 1871), pp. 37-38.

[16] Read James R. Beller, The Coming Destruction of the Baptist People: The Baptist History of America (St. Louis, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2005) and James R. Beller, America in Crimson Red: The Baptist History of America (Arnold, Missouri: Prairie Fire Press, 2004) for a thorough discussion of the theology behind the lies of the Christian nationalists, whom Beller calls catholic Reformed, and a discussion of Christian nationalists other than Peter Marshall and David Manuel.

2. Definitions of “separation of church and state,” “established church,” and “religious freedom or soul liberty”

A Publication of Churches Under Christ Ministry

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Jerald Finney
Copyright © January 22, 2018

Separation of church and state,” “established church” and “religious freedom or soul liberty,” are inherent in the establishment clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. This lesson will define those phrases. The remaining studies and cited authorities, especially the studies on the history of the First Amendment will make perfectly clear that the definitions given here are accurate.

 1. Definition of Separation of Church and State

Click the above to go to the article, “Is Separation of Church and State Found in the Constitution?

The biblical principle of “separation of church and state” is that God desires both a church and the state to choose to be under God, but desires neither to be over or to work hand in hand with the other. A church has spiritual responsibilities. The state has earthly responsibilities. The Bible contains different principles for a church and the state. God desires the two to be totally separate entities, both ordained by God who desires both to submit to Him in love and to be guided by His principles as stated in His Word. A church under God remains an eternal spiritual entity only so long as she does not inadvertently or intentionally change her status to an earthly temporal entity by placing herself under the law of man, under civil government. By placing herself under the law of man, she combines church and state and makes herself, at least partially but perhaps wholly, a temporal, legal, earthly entity.

The main example in America is the incorporated 501(c)(3) church. The rules of civil government for the corporate 501(c)(3) church are secular and such a church agrees, when she applies for and executes the status, to the rules which come with state non-profit corporation law and the rules that come with 501(c)(3). She also agrees that any disputes over violation of the rules will be decided by the authority—the state of incorporation or, for 501(c)(3) purposes, the federal government. God and the Bible will have no part of disputes as to many matters. The authority is civil government.

In other words, the corporate 501(c)(3) church has not only put herself under man’s law, not God’s law, for many matters; she has also taken herself from under the First Amendment—a statement of the Bible principle of separation of church and state (not separation of God and State—and placed herself under the Fourteenth Amendment for many purposes.

 2. Definition of “Established Church”

An established church is a church who is an integral part of the state and receives state support. She does this trough becoming a legal entity. The established church and state reach an agreement or enter into a contract whereby either the state aids the church in attaining earthly and/or spiritual goals or vice-versa and, to one degree or another, the state runs the church or the established church runs the state. The church and state work hand in hand to enforce earthly and spiritual laws and principles. In modern America state-churches are influenced, perverted, and/or perhaps dominated by state enforced satanic principles. For more on this, see What is an established church?

Historically, the established church has either been over the state, or the state has been over the established church. When the state has been over the church, the state directs the affairs of the church to a greater or lesser degree and vice-versa. In either case, the spiritual affairs of the church are mixed with the earthly responsibilities of the state. In the past, in either a church-state or state-church, leaders of both church and state operated under a false theology based upon false biblical principles. The results were (1) corruption of the church, corruption of the state, corruption of the clergy and political leaders and the members of society and the church, and (2) torture, imprisonment, and/or the killing of those who refused to bow down to the theology of the church-state or state-church. We see the former results in the church-state activities in America today. The latter results are coming.

  3. Definition of Religious Freedom or Soul Liberty

“By religious freedom, or soul liberty, is meant the natural and inalienable right of every soul to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to be unmolested in the exercise of that right, so long, at least, as he does not infringe upon the rights of others; that religion is, and must be a voluntary service; that only such service is acceptable to God; and, hence that no earthly power, whether civil or ecclesiastical, has any right to compel conformity to any creed or to any species of worship, or to tax a man for its support.

Religious freedom exists when every citizen has, by law, the choice, without persecution, of choosing God, false gods or a false god, or no god at all. Religious freedom, as shown in God’s Word, is what He desires in a Gentile nation. Even though He desires Gentile nations to provide for religious liberty, He also wants them to submit themselves to Him and His principles, and recognize that Jesus Christ is the Supreme Sovereign. Thus a nation modeled after biblical principles will provide for religious liberty while also operating under God and His principles.

Click the above to go to book.

“This principle gives to ‘Caesar’ ‘the things that are Caesar’s,’ but it denies to Caesar ‘the things that are God’s.’ It does not make it a matter of indifference what a man believes or how he acts, but it places all on the same footing before God, the only lord of the conscience, and makes us responsible to him alone for our faith and practice. [By 1900 this doctrine was] very generally accepted, not only in Virginia, but also throughout the United States. It [had] been incorporated into our National and State Constitutions, and it [was ] the basis for our civil liberties” (Charles F. James, Documentary History of the Struggle for Religious Liberty in Virginia (Harrisonburg, VA.: Sprinkle Publications, 2007; First Published Lynchburg, VA.: J. P. Bell Company, 1900), p. 9.).


Moslem question concerning free speech in America with answers from lawyers

Jerald Finney
Copyright © 2015

MohammedCartoonLegal question asked on AVVO on May 12, 2015 from one wanting to know why drawing a cartoon of Mohammed was not the same legally as yelling “Fire” in a crowded theatre with my reply and the reply of some other lawyers with whom I agree.

Asked on AVVO on May 12, 2014 – Dallas, TX

Practice area: Constitutional

See an article on the incident referred to in the above question at: Garland, Texas, Shooting Suspect Linked Himself To ISIS In Tweets (Note. I commend the police for bravely doing their job according to the law. Two of the Muslims, according to the article, “wore body armor. They carried assault rifles. And one had declared loyalty to ISIS.”)

The following was the question:

“Why isn’t the contest to draw Mohammad in Garland Tx recently the same as yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater and not protected a known hate group held a contest to draw a ‘cartoon’ of the Muslim prophet, Mohammad. In doing so, the group knew full well it would likely result in violence against those attending. In fact, only the Muslim protesting the drawing were killed as they approached the facility armed with weapons.”

The question with all answers can be seen at: Avvo/Moslem Question on Free Speech

My reply on May 12, 2014 (I did not address some of the issues raised in the question since I agreed with some other lawyer responses, some of which are below. Rather, I tried to offer some insights into the differences between certain Islamic beliefs and certain principles of freedom found in the United States Constitution.):

9The religion of Islam has entirely different principles about some matters than does the religion which was responsible for giving the United States freedom of religion, speech, assembly, press, and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. These freedoms are denied in many Muslim countries where Christians and others are persecuted and/or killed. Prior to the adoption of the Constitution and the First Amendment, all these freedoms were denied in most of the American colonies (as they had been in the Old World where Catholicism or some form of Protestantism combined with the state).

These freedoms are secured by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution which says:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The history of that amendment makes clear that those who were persecuted (tortured, beheaded, drowned, burnt at the stake, buried alive, imprisoned, property confiscated, banished, tortured, etc.) for their refusal to bow down to the state religion were responsible for the adoption of the First Amendment. You can read that history at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/online-version-of-the-book-god-betrayed/the-history-of-the-first-amendment/

An abbreviated version is at: https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/an-abridged-history-of-the-first-amendment/

[For an understanding of “Christian” and Secular historical revisionism in America see The Trail of Blood of the Martyrs of Jesus by clicking here.]

Anytime religion and state unite, as proven by history, the result is the labeling of those who do not support and embrace the state/religion and “heretics” and their persecution and elimination. At least 50 million of such so-called “heretics” were murdered by the combination of church and state during the reign of Catholicism, and then by Protestant church state unions which adopted the church/state theology of the “mother” church (harlot). Those “heretics” believed in freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and the other freedoms in the First Amendment. Their beliefs were based upon a literal interpretation of the Bible, not on the “spiritual” interpretations of the Catholic church which basically held that the Bible was open to interpretation by certain “spiritual” people (such as Origin, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas). Those interpreters paganized and spiritualized, according to their preferences, the great truths of the Bible.

As to the speech issue you mention, the teachings of Islam are fundamentally different from those of those Christian “heretics” who stood against the union of church and state and for freedom of speech, press, religion, and assembly and which resulted in the freedoms in the First Amendment. Many of the Moslems who live in America have brought with them their Muslim beliefs and wish those beliefs to be applied in America. In order for that to happen, American law would have to be fundamentally rewritten.

A cross in a jar of urine is protected speech in America. Other odious depictions of Christ in movies, paintings, signs, etc. are common in America. As a believer, I detest those things, but I also believe in everyone’s right to the freedoms in the First Amendment. I don’t believe in killing anyone for their religious beliefs (as long as those beliefs do not result in murder, stealing, or some other crimes against one’s fellow man). The law protects, and rightfully so, those who express and practice their religious beliefs – even those who criticize other religions, religious leaders, etc.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

A good article on Muslim immigration and its effects is: Concerns Of Muslim Immigration Surge Into Western World Come Into Focus (050715)

Reply of Cameron Huey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer – Sacramento, CA:

Answered May 14, 2014. Contrary to popular belief, yelling “fire” in a theater is not the most recent case law on clear and present danger. Schenck v. United States has been superceded by Brandenburg v. Ohio. Hate speech has also been approved as protected by the First Amendment (Virginia v. Black upheld a cross-burning). Hate speech is now akin to viewpoint discrimination. If the “hate group” was prohibited from having a drawing contest of Muhammed, then THEY would sue for violation of free speech rights.

The Constitution doesn’t protect against people being upset. The Constitution protects the speaker’s rights. Yelling “fire” causes panic to a reasonable person. A reasonable person would not have some impulse to hurt or kill other people because their religion/beliefs/opinions are threatened. The fact that they approached the facility armed with weapons WITH THE INTENT of committing a crime against someone who was expressing free speech shows they were in the wrong.

If you want this liberal/progressive defense of free speech that Pamela Gellar and company were engaging in, I suggest you watch some of the debates between supporters of Islam and with progressive TV host Bill Maher.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Richard Gould-Saltman Family Law Attorney – Los Angeles, CA

Answered 28 minutes ago. Because it’s not illegal to “yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater”; it’s “illegal to FALSELY yell ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater”, which results in innocent people doing perfectly legal and reasonable things, and getting injured as a result.

Mounting an armed attack against someone who makes fun of your religion is, in the United States, neither legal nor reasonable, and isn’t innocent; it’s a crime.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Reply of Isabel Humphrey Appeals Lawyer – Phoenix, AZ

Answered a day ago. I think the big difference is that yelling “fire!” in a crowded theater will lead reasonable people to panic and potentially be injured, whereas drawing Mohammed will lead only criminals to react in a way that will cause injury.

This answer is not intended as and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Professional legal advice requires…

Lawyers answer question about speech in the public forum in America

Jerald Finney
September 19, 2015

Click here to go directly to the AVVO page with the question below and all answers that were submitted.

Speech in the public forum is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Speech in the public forum is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

This brief article first presents a question by a person who was planning to demonstrate in the public forum in America. The question was asked on AVVO, a website where people can ask legal questions and get online answers from attorneys. Following the question is my answer which the asker names as the best answer. At the end is the link to the AVVO page where one can see the question and answers from various attorneys, including my answer.

The question was:

“I am planning a legal protest. I will be in Grove City, Ohio. I will be in a public area (sidewalk). I would like utilize my rights to the fullest extent of the law and I do not want to go to jail. Other than my 1st amendment right secured by the United States Constitution, what other laws protect me? Can you please cite case law or ORC sections? Do I need to procure a permit? I have a written statement prepared for any police officers I may encounter. It invokes my right to remain silent and refusal to answer verbal questions. Thank you ladies and gentlemen!”

My answer was:

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

“The First Amendment protects speech in the public forum. The First Amendment is the highest man-made law in America and only God’s law is higher. All lower laws (State, county, and city) are subject to the First Amendment. As you will see on some of the resources linked to below, even state constitutions, county and city ordinances usually reflect First Amendment rights.

“Speech includes the spoken word and signs you carry. Depending upon the noise ordinance of the city, you may not be allowed to use amplification (such as a megaphone).

“You cannot violate legitimate laws such as laws obstructing a highway, sidewalk or passageway, commit criminal trespass, etc., but the police may not use those laws to stop your legitimate speech. Some of the links below are to resources which tell you exactly what the Supreme Court has said about these matters.

“Police will sometimes falsely arrest people. It is a good idea to have someone videotape all your activity from beginning to end, so you will have proof of the facts. Police are trained to “constructively bend the truth” (lie). so as to cover their own illegal activities. For more on this, see the following resources:

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/contents/books/street-preaching-in-america-is-it-legal-tract/ (go there and click link). This goes over the hierarchy of law on this matter, including relevant Supreme Court caselaw.

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/miscellaneous/jerald-finney-legal-issues/ (The links to my brief in the Steve Drake case will be very helpful.)

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/december-25-2013-an-unfolding-street-preaching-battle-in-northfield-minnesota/ (real life run ins with the law by those speaking in the public forum.)

“https://opbcbibletrust.wordpress.com/b-messages-from-pastor/street-preaching/ (More helpful information.)

“I send you the above links because I don’t have room in this limited space to appraise you of your rights, how to deal with the police, etc. The resources will be very helpful to you. I have settled many problems where police try to interfere with or prevent speech in the public forum.

“It is best to alert the appropriate law enforcement agencies, the city attorney, and maybe even the mayor and city council members before the date of your speech. E-mail them and/or send certified letters RRR. Call them beforehand. Let them know that you will be speaking in the forum and that your speech is protected. Let them know that should the police interfere with your speech, falsely arrest you, etc. that the individual police person(s) who violate your rights, the police department, the chief of police, the mayor, the city council members and the city can be sued for damages.

“Some cities and their police and other peace officers know that speech in the public forum is protected in America. Others don’t and they have to be educated.”

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