TRI in the News


Judge Agrees: No Sharing of Faith in Public



April 15, 2016

A constitutional law expert believes a New Jersey case indicates the erosion of free-speech rights in America.

Almost four years ago, street preachers Don Karns and Robert Parker were at a train station in Princeton, New Jersey, discussing their faith with willing passersby when police accosted them and told them they were violating the law. Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead tells OneNewsNow the two men politely reminded officers of free-speech rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

“One of the street preachers attempted to record their interaction with the police, which you have the right to do under the First Amendment,” he explains. “They were blocked from doing that, and finally the police arrested them and charged them with trespass and obstructing an investigation under New Jersey law.

"Rutherford Institute filed a lawsuit arguing that they had a free-speech right to be doing what they were doing and that their other rights were violated under the Fourth Amendment.”

Other people at the train station were talking about the weather, politics and sports, but Christian speech was prohibited. Now a federal court has ruled in favor of the police. The Rutherford Institute will appeal that ruling.

“What I see across the board in these cases today is free speech as we used to know it is going away in every kind of venue - from what kids can say in school to what men can't say talking on the street corner,” Whitehead tells OneNewsNow. “People are getting arrested. So we need to protect our free-speech rights, or within five to ten years we might not have many.”

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