A bit of good news for a change

Christians have just won a major legal battle.

First, the backstory: For several years, it has become standard operating procedure for Christians to be threatened and attacked by Muslims at the Dearborn Arab Festival.  Christians have also been threatened by the police and have been arrested for exercising their right to free speech.  This piece is about an attack that occurred in 2012.  (See here for video.)

Now, three years later, after initially losing the court case, they’ve won a victory.  Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center report:

On October 28, 2015, a majority of the full court of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of a group of Christian evangelists who were violently attacked by a hostile Muslim mob while preaching at the Arab Festival in Dearborn Michigan….

The 6th Circuit completely reversed a lower court decision which ruled in favor of Wayne County and officials from the County Sheriff’s Office who silenced the Christians’ speech in response to the hostile mob’s reaction.  The case, Bible Believers v. Wayne County, was brought by the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) on behalf of the Christians.

On August 27, 2014, a divided, three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit dismissed the civil rights lawsuit, finding that the violent response of the Muslim hecklers justified the Wayne County sheriffs’ order to the Christians that they would be arrested for disorderly conduct if they did not leave the festival area.

Within days of receiving the adverse ruling, AFLC filed a petition for rehearing en banc, requesting full court review.  On October 23, 2014, the court granted the petition, vacated the panel decision, and scheduled oral argument for March 4, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio.

On October 28, 2015, the Sixth Circuit (en banc) ruled in favor of the Christians on every issue, completely reversing the lower court opinion, and directing the court to enter judgment in the Christians’ favor.

In its decision, the Sixth Circuit ruled that the County and the two Deputy Chief defendants were liable for violating the Christians’ First Amendment rights to free speech and the free exercise of religion and for depriving the Christians of the equal protection of the law.  The court ruled that the individual defendants did not enjoy qualified immunity and that the County was liable as a municipality for the constitutional violations. (snip)

AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi added,

“Kudos to Judge Clay and the majority.  Judge Rogers’s dissenting opinion, on the other hand, speaks volumes about how progressives (be they Republicans or Democrats) view the Bill of Rights.  For Judge Rogers, there is one constitution for minorities and quite a lesser document for those perceived to be in the majority.  The former’s speech is protected; the latter’s is protected only up to the point that some minority—especially Muslims—protests or, as in this case, engages in violence by attacking the speaker.  In this case, the Christians and the Constitution did not lie down and roll over.  This is an example where lawfare, fought on behalf of liberty, has moved the proverbial mountain and buried the jihadi’s heckler’s veto six feet under.”

Congratulations to the Christians for their bravery and their tenacious effort to stand for free speech, faith, and American values.  And bravo to the powerhouse legal team of Robert Muise and David Yerushalmi of the American Freedom Law Center for winning this case, as they have won so many others.  Many thanks to them for their tireless efforts to defend liberty at every turn.  God bless them all.

(To learn more about the American Freedom Law Center, see here, here, and here.  To see more video documentation over a span of several years of Christians being harassed, threatened, and attacked at the Dearborn Arab Festival, see here, here, and here.)

Hat tip: Counterjihad Report

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