Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Adventists Sue Town Over Required License For Door-To-Door Solicitation

The Seventh Day Adventist Church and two of its members filed a federal lawsuit yesterday against the city of White Hall, Arkansas challenging the constitutionality of the city's requirement for a permit before an individual can engage in door-to-door solicitation of funds.  The complaint (full text) in Arkansas-Louisiana Conference of Seventh Day Adventists v. City of White Hall, Arkansas, (ED AR, filed 1/19/2016), contends that the ordinance violates plaintiffs' free speech, free exercise, due process rights and their rights under Arkansas' Religious Freedom Restoration Act. At issue is a  Student Literature Evangelism Program run by Ouachita Hills College in which teams go door-to-door in neighborhoods evangelizing, offering literature and asking for donations.  The suit contends that the ordinance is overbroad and vague, and that its $50 fee chills speech, substantially burdens religious exercise. Plaintiffs also filed a brief (full text) in support of their motion for injunctive relief.  Adventist Review reports on the filing of the lawsuit.