Update: Where is Your First Amendment Zone?

On Wednesday a federal judge ruled that “preachers” are allowed to come back into Bentleyville. Steve Jankowski and Peter Scott won their motion to be let back into Bentleyville. “Preachers” were back in Bentleyville as soon as the judge ruled. The men also wanted the city to be held in contempt for denying an order from a year ago. This charge was not upheld. The Tour of Lights has certainly got more publicity than I am sure Mr. Bentley was hoping for.

In case you missed my thoughts about this case before the judge ruled I have attached a link. I really appreciate all your comments.

I would like to address these most recent developments, and a couple more important points.

First we keep hearing this word preach, but what does it actually mean? Dictionary.com defines preach: to proclaim or make known by sermon. What does proclaim and sermon mean? Again Dictionary.com defines proclaim: to announce or declare in a formal manner. The second part of this definition is more fitting. It says, to announce or declare in an open or ostentatious way. Sermon is defined: a discourse for the purpose of religious instruction or exhortation, especially one based on a text of Scripture and delivered by a member of the clergy as part of a religious service. After reading these definitions I would say these men aren’t preaching, proclaiming or providing a sermon.

Second as mentioned before there is a time and place for delivering such messages. I have no issue with people who want to share their beliefs in a civilized manner to those who want to listen whether it be Islam, Catholic, Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Occupy Duluth, you get my point. What I do have a problem with is the yelling, condemning, to get your point across. People are not prone to listen and buy whatever someone is trying to “sell” by yelling. Let me give you an example. I recently had an interaction with an older gentlemen who was representing the Gideons. He respectfully in normal tones asked me if I wanted a Bible? I replied and he politely said thank you. He wasn’t pushy, loud, or demeaning. I believe this interaction is the most effective kind no matter what your message is.

Third, recent pictures circulating on the internet show a man wearing a sign that says “Fear God.” Now I’m not exactly sure if this man for a lack of a better term is “preaching” from the Bible, but the Bible I read preaches “God is love.” I John 4:8 says, “Who ever does not love God, does not know God, because God is love.” Does yelling portray love? The most known verse from the Bible and most influential verse is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He sent His one and only Son, that who so ever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” To get your message across, show love not confrontation. Invite people to your place of worship where ever that may be. Be civil, it will help your cause instead of hurting it.

Last, I sure hope these recently problems in Bentleyville won’t cause the Tour of Lights to end. My attendance at Bentleyville has become a family tradition my family loves to attend every year. I hope court cases, motions, and people wanting to “preach” won’t cause this free attraction to end.

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Eddie Bashaw

Living in Duluth, Minnesota and I love writing about it.

3 thoughts on “Update: Where is Your First Amendment Zone?”

  1. *sigh*

    Dictionary.com also defines “preach” as “to advocate or inculcate (religious or moral truth, right conduct, etc.) in speech or writing” and “to give earnest advice, as on religious or moral subjects or the like.” See, what you did there was commit a logical fallacy known as burning a straw man by cherry-picking one definition out of many and then trying to show how it supposedly doesn’t fit. Weak.

    What, pray tell, is the “correct” time and place for people to preach the Gospel? Only during the one hour of church on Sunday mornings? Who determines this “correct” time and place? You? Should there be a “correct” time and place to protest against corporations or for gay rights? Would you have told Jesus himself to not yell or condemn and to take his public preaching to a “better” time and place?

    Regarding fearing God, I don’t know what Bible you read (probably the one where you selectively edit out in your head all the things you don’t like that don’t allow you to live like you want), but you should actually read your Bible sometime. Pay particular attention to Genesis 20:11, Genesis 22:12, Genesis 42:18, Exodus 1:17, Exodus 1:21, Exodus 9:30, Exodus 18:21, Exodus 20:20, Leviticus 19:14, Leviticus 25:17, Leviticus 25:36, Leviticus 25:43, Deuteronomy 6:2, Deuteronomy 6:13, Deuteronomy 6:24, Deuteronomy 10:12, Deuteronomy 10:20, Deuteronomy 31:12, Deuteronomy 31:13, Joshua 4:24, Joshua 24:14, 1 Samuel 12:14, 2 Samuel 23:3, 1 Chronicles 16:25, 2 Chronicles 19:7, 2 Chronicles 20:29, 2 Chronicles 26:5, Nehemiah 5:9, Nehemiah 7:2, Job 1:1, Job 1:8, Job 1:9, Job 2:3, Job 31:23, Psalm 36:1, Psalm 40:3, Psalm 55:19, Psalm 61:5, Psalm 64:9, Psalm 66:16, Psalm 67:7, Psalm 76:11, Psalm 89:7, Psalm 96:4, Proverbs 2:5, Ecclesiastes 7:18, Ecclesiastes 8:12, Ecclesiastes 8:13, Ecclesiastes 12:13, Isaiah 8:11, Isaiah 50:10, Jeremiah 5:24, Daniel 6:26, Micah 7:17, and Haggai 1:12

    And just so you don’t think something silly like “Oh, that’s just the Old Testament,” try these: Luke 18:2, Luke 23:40, Acts 2:5, Acts 10:2, Acts 10:22, Acts 13:26, Acts 13:50, Acts 17:4, Acts 17:17, Romans 3:18, 2 Corinthians 5:11, 1 Peter 2:17, Revelation 14:7, Revelation 19:5

    And that’s just the verses that say to fear God like the preachers’ t-shirts say. If you look for verses that say to fear the Lord, you find many, many more. I particularly like this one: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” (Proverbs 9:10.)

    So, what does “fear God” mean, exactly. The Merriam-Webster.com entry for fear gives this as the relevant definition: “to have a reverential awe of .”

    So, again, would you tell Jesus not to confront people like he constantly did? Would you tell him to “show love not confrontation” to the Pharisees? We have a multitude of Pharisaical people like you walking around who need to be put in their place and shown the truth of God. These preachers know Mark 4 very well.

      1. It should have been obvious that I support these preachers (“you” “just” “love” “those” “scare” “quotes,” “don’t” “you” “?”). They aren’t hurting or harassing anyone.

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