Friday, June 03, 2011

Baptists Can Proselytize At Catholic Festival-- But No Bull Horns

A group of Baptist proselytizers have won the right to distribute pamphlets and speak with attendees on public streets around a Catholic Church where the Church annually holds a festival. However they are precluded from using bull horns to convey their views.  Since 2008, plaintiffs have proselytized with their anti-Catholic message at St. Symphorosa Church's annual Family Fest.  The festival is held on church grounds and the sidewalks surrounding the Church under a permit issued by the city. In Teesdale v. City of Chicago, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 57925 (ND IL, May 26, 2011), an Illinois federal district court held that police had probable cause in 208 to arrest one of the proselytizers, Frank Teesdale, for disorderly conduct for using a bullhorn to proselytize on the Festival sidewalks. However the court issued a declaratory judgment affirming the right of  nine or fewer members of the Garfield Ridge Church to distribute leaflets, speak to those in attendance (but not use a bullhorn), and to carry one 4-foot banner as well as non-pole signs on the public streets where the festival is being held. This decision disposes of issues not resolved in March 2010 decision by the court. (See prior posting.)