Monday, June 28, 2010

Christian Missionaries Arrested for Sharing the Gospel

On Friday June 18, four Christians were arrested, handcuffed, and had their cameras confiscated for their sharing of the Gospel of John to Muslims.  Was this done in Tehran, Damascus, or perhaps Mecca?  Nope.  It was done in Dearborn, Michigan.  Right here in the good ol' United States of America.

The Detroit Free Press reported that these four Christian missionaries were members of the Christian group named Acts 17 Apologetics, and according to eyewitnesses, they were handing out a booklet that contained the Gospel according to John on the festival grounds.  These grounds consisted primarily of tents and booths which were erected on the public streets of Dearborn, Michigan. 

These missionaries were evidently surrounded by green-shirted security personnel hired for the festival who mocked and taunted the four and repeatedly shouted out "Allahu Akbar" upon the arrest of the Christian missionaries.

Prior to the festival, which was attended predominantly by Muslim Arab-Americans, a U.S. district judge in Dearborn issued a ban on groups distributing literature on sidewalks and local officials required a five-block distance for anyone wanting to distribute literature. The four missionaries were within the festival grounds.

David Wood, one of the four arrested, has said, "There are certain elements of Sharia law being adhered to in Dearborn."  I would add that evidently freedom of speech and religion are being curtailed upon the public streets of Dearborn, Michigan. 

One cannot help but wonder if the national press would have covered the story in sympathy if this had  been a Christian Festival on public streets and practitioners of Islam had wished to peacefully pass out literature on their faith?  Further, one wonders if this festival were actually organized and attended by good and true Christians, if they would have even caused a ruckus about it, let alone mock such hypothetical Muslims?

Now I can understand their arrests if these Christian missionaries were inciting violence or intentionally denigrating Muslims with the intent to stir up trouble; however, simply passing out Christian literature on a public street in an American city seems to me would fall under these missionaries' constitutional rights to free speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. 

The four missionaries now have legal representation.  One wonders if the ACLU will speak up on their behalf in defense of their constitutional American rights?  I will say a prayer to that effect.

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