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Gideons handing out Bibles on public sidewalk arrested after school officials complain
by loboinok

as seen at:StopTheACLU

WorldNetDaily.com

Two men who are members of Gideons International, the Christian organization that is famous for, among other ministries, placing Bibles in motels and giving them to children, have been arrested after trying to hand out Bibles on a public sidewalk in Florida, according to a law firm.

Officials with the Alliance Defense Fund have confirmed they will be representing Anthony Mirto and Ernest Simpson, who were arrested, booked into jail and charged with trespassing.

Jeremy Tedesco, one of the ADF’s lawyers on the case, confirmed to WND that the organization’s clients were on a public sidewalk when they were handing out Bibles and school officials summoned police.

Yes, it reads public sidewalk and yes, it reads school officials. I hope you’ll also notice that it doesn’t say anything about sex offenders, child molesters or military funerals.

“The First Amendment protects the right to engage in religious speech on a public sidewalk,” ADF Senior Legal Counsel David Cortman said. “Members of the Gideons have been highly respected for decades as peaceful providers of free Bibles to those who want them.”

The arrest happened Jan. 19, when Mirto and Simpson were on the sidewalk outside of Key Largo School in Key Largo, Fla., and were distributing copies of the Bible to those interested.

“Neither man entered school grounds,” the law firm said. “After the school’s principal called police, a Monroe County sheriff’s officer asked the men to leave immediately or face trespassing charges. As the men prepared to leave, the officer decided to arrest both individuals.”

A hearing is scheduled March 5 in Monroe County Court in the cases, and ADF attorneys are preparing motions to dismiss the charges.

“Officials cannot use fear of arrest as a means of bullying law-abiding Christians into silence,” Cortman said. “These men broke no laws when they decided to communicate their message on a public sidewalk.”

Tedesco noted that sometimes school officials have a misconception about whether they can control activities on school grounds and adjacent public sidewalks. But the First Amendment does provide a protection for speech on those parcels of ground that are public, he said.

Lets see… public schools, public grounds, public sidewalks, public officials and public law enforcement.

“There’s no reason why they should be put in jail,” he said.

The ADF is a legal alliance defending the right to hear and speak the truth, through strategy, training, funding and litigation.

The Gideons, a group founded in the late 1800s, has as its “sole purpose” the goal “to win men, women, boys and girls to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through association for service, personal testimony, and distributing the Bible in the human traffic lanes and streams of everyday life.”

Members of the Gideons, who pay their own expenses so 100 percent of the donations to the group go toward Bible purchases and distributions, have placed the Bible in 181 nations in 82 different languages over the years.

The organization focuses on hotels and motels, hospitals and nursing homes, schools, colleges and universities, the military and law enforcement and prisons and jails.

“The demand for Scriptures in these areas far exceeds our supplies that we are able to purchase through our donations. Much more could be done – if funds were available. However, we are placing and distributing more than 1 million copies of the Word of God, at no cost, every seven days in these areas” the group said.

The organization only gives away the Bibles with the Gideon logo on the covers, but plain Bibles are available for consumers to purchase at its distribution center at P.O. Box 140800, Nashville, Tenn., 37214-0800. Information about the products is available on the group’s website.

The Gideons serve as an extended missionary arm of the Christian church and are the oldest Christian business and professional men’s association in the United States.

Great! Get those laws keeping sex offenders away from our school kids and daycares overturned. Get those laws that permit our loved ones to grieve and honor our dead in peace, overturned.

But get them Christians, handing out Bibles, in jail. Got to protect the kids and…

Did they legalize drugs in Florida or are they putting something in the water? The Dixie County Ten Commandments issue, immigration raids in Miami, and now this.

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9 Responses to “Stop The ACLU”

  1. Gayle says:

    Well Angel, this doesn’t surprise me. It should, but knowing Florida the way I do, it doesn’t. Did you know that Orlando has a law that makes it illegal to feed the homeless? I thought the liberals were supposed to care about the homeless! People ran soup kitchens at the city park for the homeless and have been forced to shut down. You can be arrested for being caught giving a homeless person a sandwich. I didn’t make this up. I used to live there and my son still does. Liberals care about people? Sure they do!

  2. benning says:

    Funny how a public sidewalk becomes private enough to be trespassed when the perp is a Christian. If this was a Muslim I rather doubt anyone would have noticed or said a thing.

    I hope some public types get sued until their asses bleed!

  3. American Crusader says:

    This country has gone crazy. We arrest and conviction Federal Border Agents for doing their job while giving illegal Mexican drug runners immunity. Now we are arrested people for handing out Bibles? Have the left-wingers taken over? What happened to our values system?

  4. Brooke says:

    I cannot believe the overt discrimination against Christians, while everyone else under the sun is encouraged to “celebrate their diversity.”

    Benning is right; had these two been handing out Korans everything would’ve been just ducky. Hell, the school probably would’ve invited them in to stand in the foyer and issue them!

    I remember Gideons handing out Bibles close to our school grounds when I was in high school. They were unassuming, inoffensive, and very meek.

  5. InRussetShadows says:

    If I was in the Gideons (and I have seriously considered joining when I have some more money — coincidence?) I would have fun with this. I’d start wearing a T-shirt that said, “The public sidewalk is now private property if and only if you hand out Bibles.” Then I’d start standing off the public sidewalk and dangling my foot in the air above the sidewalk. Then I’d hand out Bibles in the middle of the road. What you do is you wear them down, bit by bit. That’s if the court case doesn’t triumph, which it should, hands down. Whoever wants to sue to keep people expressing their views off a public sidewalk needs to understand just what the heck freedom of speech means.

  6. Frank says:

    Notice: it says, “have been arrested after trying to hand out Bibles on a public sidewalk” — that is possibly true, but the key word I noticed was “after” — there’s something missing here that you need to be aware of: in other accounts of this story I found and in the official police report, they were actually arrested for trespassing, and that only after they went and sat in their vehicle and called police headquarters to complain instead of getting off the property. Again, it was not because they passed out Bibles on the sidewalk, but because they did NOT have the legal right to park their vehicle on the school property after the school asked them not to do so.

    This is a very important distinction. Whereas I personally disagree with the school authorities in refusing to allow a peaceable activity to continue, it seems quite unfortunate that our Gideon friends failed to use wisdom in their activities after the distribution ceased.

    In addition, please notice that the Alliance Defense Fund is the legal representative. If the arrest was related to Gideon activities, it would be The Gideons International who would be providing legal defense. And finally, if they really were defending a Gideon activity, they would NOT be issuing public statements concerning the defense.

    So the only conclusion to draw is that it appears that two men who had been performing an activity in relationship to the Gideon program were arrested, as was was stated, “AFTER” a Gideon activity, but what they were arrested for was not at all Gideon related.

    Very sad indeed. Please pray for these men, and for a minimizing of the damage their action may do to the cause to which they were obviously committed.

  7. Angel says:

    Thanks one and all for the feedback on this one..:)

  8. DL says:

    These guys must have ancesters in Nazareth!

  9. Barbara says:

    My husband is a Gideon and has been for 2 decades. I am an
    auxiliary member. Gideons would never trepass on school grounds
    to hand out Bibles. But in our area they go where they are invited and the Scriptures are welcomed. We give moneys to this
    cause and yes, we pay our way to go speak and place Bibles.
    All Gideons and Auxiliary members need prayer. There are many
    people against us including the ACLU and simular organizations but so are some police, judges, and administrators. But our biggest enemies are those Christians who wont join us and work with us while people beg us for Bibles and die without God’s word.
    Since the Bible left the classroom, and prayer no longer an
    auditable sound, kids bring destructive items to school which
    scare teachers, parents, police, and the community. Somebody
    wake up and start thinking. Dont you see that the only way back to peace in the schools, in homes and communities is thru
    Bibles. Cant you see that the fall of society came after removal
    of Moral implements like the Bible, devotions, prayer and the
    teaching of right and wrong. WAKEUP!