Just two weeks ago, I told you about Julian Raven, an Elmira, New York man who, along with his wife and several friends, was arrested in a city park when they quietly lay down to silently pray for, and amid, a crowd of people celebrating homosexual behavior.
Going into the park, Julian’s group was stopped by a police sergeant who – seeing their bowed heads and reverent spirit – told them they couldn’t go into the public park, walk through the public areas, or share their faith with anyone in that public environment. This, despite advertisements for the event that said it was open to everyone.
When Julian and his friends politely proceeded with their prayers, police arrested them and charged them with “disorderly conduct.” All four were found guilty, fined, and ordered to pay court costs.
Last month, a New York county court dismissed the convictions of Julian’s friends, and Alliance Defense Fund attorneys, working with local allied attorney Laurence Behr of Buffalo, appealed Julian’s conviction to the New York Court of Appeals.
“Christian student groups shouldn’t be forced to deny their faith in order to be treated the same as other student groups,” said ADF Senior Counsel David French, a participant at one of the debates. “Just as all student groups have the right to associate with people who share common beliefs and interests, Christian student groups have the right to be Christian student groups. A university policy never trumps rights protected by the U.S. Constitution.”
Nearly 100 parties have filed briefs in support of the CLS chapter, including 14 state attorneys general and a wide array of groups ascribing to diverse beliefs and practices.