Gospel-sharing pastor asks for 1st Amendment rights

Friday, November 16, 2012
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

An Arab-American Christian is fighting for his First Amendment rights in Virginia.

Tony Ghareeb, a pastor with Jerusalem Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Virginia, has a passion for sharing the gospel and tried to do so in a park during a Pakistan Festival in late August. Nate Kellum, who heads the Center for Religious Expression, explains what happened in the situation at the Pakistan Festival.

Kellum

"At this festival that takes place in this public park, Bull Run Park, Ghareeb thought it was a perfect opportunity to go out there and in a really benign way just share the gospel, where on a very hot day he would share water bottles, DVDs about Jesus -- and for anybody who was willing to talk about it, he would share the good news of Jesus Christ," Kellum says.

Most people who stopped were receptive, but one person objected to park officials who then told Ghareeb to leave.

"And of course [their demand] runs afoul of the First Amendment," Kellum tells OneNewsNow. "The First Amendment protects speech even though it may give offense, and indeed if it didn't, there would be no need for the First Amendment in the first place."

The Center for Religious Expression has sent a letter to park and county authorities explaining the constitution to them and asking that they move to protect Ghareeb's constitutional rights -- in hopes that his free-speech rights will be recognized in time for the same festival next August.

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