As reflected in the article “Northfield organizations renew effort to address issues with Bridge Square preachers,” some citizens of Northfield are trying to circumvent the First Amendment protections of fellow citizens.

Certain biased Northfield citizens hate street preaching and will do anything they can to try to shut it down. The only speech they wish to prevent is that of the street preachers. See “Protesters question Northfield’s permit process” Northfield News, August 8, 2014.

The offending citizens are attacking law-abiding citizens who understand, practice and support speech protected by the First Amendment. Several of the preachers — including this author who just recently moved to the area, opened a Northfield bank account, and has spent several thousand dollars there — are from Northfield and the surrounding area. They own homes, buy food, clothing, gas and other things in Northfield, do business, work, vote, go to church and pay taxes there.

This author has free online resources which explain that Bible teaching, history and law to support their public speech. See jeraldfinney.wordpress.com. Yet, the only concern of those opposing their position is to try to find a way to legally or illegally circumvent the Bible, the lessons of history and the law.

The instigating citizens present a false story concerning an illegal permit reserving Bridge Square in 2014. The street preachers preached in Bridge Square the first Saturday the permit went into effect. The permit was not enforced then or later and no one ever approached to tell the preachers to leave.

The street preachers seek to comply with both the laws of God and man. God instructs them to love their neighbor as themselves. See Matthew 5.38-48; 22.39 for a couple of many of the guidelines which forbid them to physically assault or harm anyone. The actions of Jesus’ followers in the Bible make clear that God’s children are to publicly proclaim truth as do instructions found in, for example, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-47 and Acts 1:8.

They also know and obey man’s law. Peace officers would already have arrested any street preacher(s) who violated the proscriptions of the First Amendment. In spite of American law which clearly protects the activities of the street preachers, some citizens are pressuring the police and the city officials including the mayor to stop the street preaching. They make false allegations which can only be tested by honest investigation.

Except for one isolated incident, the police in Northfield have been totally professional in performing their duty concerning the street preachers. The citizens should be thankful to their police officers for complying with the law, thereby protecting city money (as well as the money of any city officials and citizens who could be implicated) from the ravages of a potential civil rights lawsuit.

The real problem is not the street preachers, but those who oppose their legally protected public speech. The correct solution: learn, apply and teach others unrevised history, law and scripture. Everyone will profit from such an approach.

Jerald Finney is a member of OPBC, a Historic Baptist Church, BAB, HB, BBA, JD.

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