A religious-rights attorney says a controversial Christian group that protested an Arab festival is protected by the First Amendment.
(Caution: Video below contains violence, strong language)
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the protesters' rights were violated when they were kicked out of the Arab-American street festival in 2012 in Dearborn, Michigan.
The 6th Circuit decision overturned a lower-court judgment from Detroit.
Rob Muise of the American Freedom Law Center tells OneNewsNow that the First Amendment prevailed in the case, even though the religious group confronted the festival goers with a severed pig's head on a stick.
"The First Amendment is designed to protect speech that people may disfavor," says Muise. "Otherwise there'd be no reason to have a First Amendment."
The group, known as Bible Believers, were pelted with rocks and bottles as they marched with signs and the pig's head. Sheriff's deputies told them to leave for their own safety and escorted them out. Bible Believers sued after the incident.
A 22-minute video of the violent confrontation, from the point of view of the Believers, was posted to Youtube (see below). The video garnered sympathy for the group due to the disburbing behavior of the festival goers and the police telling the Believers they had to leave the event.
The pig's head was not prominent in the footage.
Muise says it's "ironic" that a crucifix in a jar of urine can be described as "art" and get government funding, "but yet you have Christians who may criticize Islam and they get attacked by a violent mob, and then you have police who side with the violent mob rather than protecting free speech."
The court agreed with that observation - law enforcement should have protected the Believers, the judges ruled.