Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Suit Challenges Rules For Preaching On Boardwalk

A lawsuit was filed in New Jersey federal district court last week challenging the regulations governing preaching and distributing religious material on the Boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach, NJ.  The complaint (full text) in Paoella v. Borough of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey, (D NJ, filed 10/24/2014), alleges:
Plaintiff, as an exercise of his Christian beliefs, intends to go to the public areas of the Boardwalk, hold a sign expressing a religious message, and speak about God and hand out religious literature to those who wish to receive his message. 
However the Borough insists that in order to do so, plaintiff Joseph Paoella must first submit a "hold harmless" agreement, a "Religious Activities Application and Facility Use Form," a Memorandum of Understanding, and proof of insurance satisfactory to the Municipal Clerk. Paoella alleges that his violates his rights under the 1st and 14th amendment as well as comparable state constitutional protections.  NJ Advance Media reports on the filing of the lawsuit.