A New Orleans area pastor has a January court date to respond to citations for being too loud. When he appears in court, he will be backed by constitutional law experts.
Vintage Church has filed suit against Jefferson Parish after being cited twice for being too loud. Liberty Institute attorney Justin Butterfield tells OneNewsNow that on each occasion, Pastor Matt Brichetto has been warned audio levels must not exceed 60 decibels.
"... For reference, 60 decibels is about the volume of a typical conversation or a dishwasher, so it's a very low level," the attorney explains. "And they've also told them that they're not allowed to use any sort of amplification. So that means no microphone for the pastor, no videos playing if that has sound; and it's really shut down the church's ability to have their worship service [and] to have a special presentation for Christmas."
According to Butterfield, officers on the second visit fingerprinted the pastor in front of the congregation.
"The ordinance that the parish is using against the church allows jackhammers, lawnmowers, power tools and construction, and demolition noise of unlimited volume," he adds. "So while they're applying this very stringent, very restrictive level to the Vintage Church, they're allowing power drills and jackhammers of any volume starting at 8:00 in the morning on Sundays."
The pastor has a court date next month to answer the criminal charges – all because one neighbor complained. No date has been set to hear the lawsuit.