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Monday, July 26, 2010

You KNOW This Is Wrong

  Religious proselytizing can be something of an irritation, but believers and non-believers alike should be free to express themselves without issue. It's a fundamental part of the constitutions of nearly every civilized nation on the planet, and while it might annoy me, I'd die to protect that right. I don't care if you're a Moonie or a Christian or a Muslim; your beliefs may not be mine, but I'll at least respectfully decline the invitation to join your particular faith. You have the right to your opinion as I do mine, and that makes the world a really great place.

  With this in mind I bring you to the Dearborn Arab Festival. For those not in the know there are Muslim Arabs, but also Druze, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and even Atheist Arabs. Whether Sharia enforcers like it or not, Arabs are pretty diverse religiously. Back to the Arab festival- a place of food, fun, and family.   There's also religion and Muslims were free to hand out literature. Christians, not so much. 4 Christian young folks wound up being arrested simply for having conversations with people (videos here) and others were harassed and threatened simply for handing out wee pamphlets. While I personally take offense to some of the beliefs of Act 17 Apologetics, they have the guaranteed right to pass out a chunk of the Gospel of John under the Constitution of the nation they were in, particularly on a public street.

  The Dearborn honchos defended it by saying that the group was being offensive and noisy, but they clearly were not. Trust me, I've been yelled at and harassed by crazy Christian protesters (think Phelps and his wingnuts) and these people weren't it. They were engaging people in peaceful conversation and praying with folks upon request. And they are still facing very real criminal charges for doing this. In America.

  It doesn't matter whether or not you see preaching or handing out flyers as a good thing. People are supposed to have the right to freely express themselves in any way they desire as long as it brings no harm to others. These weren't angry kids smashing apart a mosque, just youths spreading their version of the good news. Something is seriously wrong with the equation. Promoting dialogue is not a crime.

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