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Our Turn: Muzzled at the Muslim Festival

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Last week our team visited the Arab-American Festival in Garden Grove. After watching the video of Christian evangelists in Dearborn, Michigan, who were arrested for sharing their faith outside the venue, we were wary of similar events happening to us.

Here are the reports from team leader “Righteous Richard” Chavarria, and team member Tony Yu. Make sure you read both accounts; they are encouraging.

From “Righteous Richard”:

All went well until the time just about 15-20 minutes after we entered the festival. It was at that time that I handed out a  tract to an individual who told me that I needed to get permission to hand the tract.

So, I followed him to a person who’s title was Commissioner. After the Commissioner had a quick glance at the tract, he said I could not pass out the tract and order me to leave. He stated that he had paid $100,000.00 for permission to conduct a private festival inside the park.

At this point a gentlemen came up from behind me and put his hand on me forcefully as to push me away. I turned and told him that it was assault to place his hands on me. He then stopped.

I then told the commissioner that I wasn’t wanting to cause him any trouble and that I wanted to see his permit as to be sure that it forbids the public from distributing literature since he had invited the public inside.

At this point the commissioner said, “Look just get the —- out of here.” At this point I left and followed the gentlemen to speak to the police about the matter. The gentlemen told me that if I persisted that he would order a citizen’s arrest against me.

We handed a police officer a copy of the tract and a million dollar tract. Then he left to speak with his authority. Then a police sergeant came out and said that we could not pass out the tract inside the grounds. He stated that we could pass out the tracts at the entrances to the festival.

Now, get another perspective from Tony Yu:

I just wanted to fill you in on what happened on Saturday at the Arab American Festival.  As you probably already know, the Hope Chapel evangelism team was shut down and ejected from the festival premises when an angry booth operator complained to officers (not sure if they were police or security).  He specifically threatened to arrest me if he saw me passing out literature.  The Hope Chapel team stopped handing out literature on premises.  Some went outside to hand out literature and others went in to witness verbally.

The part you don’t know is that I called Garden Grove PD after the Hope Chapel team went back to Hermosa Beach.

In the future, when we are asked to stop our activities at public events, I recommend complying immediately.  But, I would suggest we should call the local PD for clarification and support.

The shift captain told me that he thought we had the right to do what we were doing. He directed me to the Garden Grove police truck inside the festival for clarification. I spoke to an officer Martin (at the truck) who informed me that we had every right to peacefully distribute literature and to speak to anyone who was willing to speak to us. He just warned me not to create any disturbance.

So, I continued to distribute our tracts.

When the angry booth operator saw me distributing literature again, he confronted me.  I led him straight to the police truck.  The officers informed the booth operator that I was allowed to distribute literature. The booth operator then began to lie about me – accusing me of shoving my tracts into people’s faces, being rude, etc.  I denied that and the police did not buy it either. The booth operator then asked me if I would voluntarily stop passing out literature.  I said, “I can’t do that.”

He left in a huff.

More importantly, our rights to speak at public events just got confirmed this past Friday.  The four evangelists who were arrested in Dearborn, MI were acquitted.

http://www.dearbornfreepress.com/2010/09/25/acts-17-group-acquitted-of-inciting-crowd/

In the future, when we are asked to stop our activities at public events, I recommend complying immediately.  But, I would suggest we should call the local PD for clarification and support.

***Steve’s note: Richard and Tony performed proper police protocol. Read this important article called “On Dealing with the Police.”


26 Comments

  1. This is the reason Acts17 brought in video cameras to protect themselves from this type of slander, lets remember something, Muslims who know their Quran must show hostlity to Chrisitians and non Christians

    Thus the Quran says:

    3:110 Ye(muslims) are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah. If only the People of the Book(Christians/Jews) had faith, it were best for them: among them are some who have faith, but most of them are perverted transgressors.

    And of course this one

    9:29
    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.

    So for a true Muslim , he must show contempt and hate toward non muslims ,thus the reaction you recieved at the Festival.

    In that venders mind you must submit to him since he is “superior” and you are perverted transgressiors!

  2. Great job sticking to your guns, Steve! I’d love to see more Christians standing up for Christ in the midst of resistance like that.

  3. lol so by Muzzled, you mean ‘not muzzled’.

  4. 2 points –

    “Its just a way of life in Dearborn” sounds a wee bit over dramatic, I don’t know the region I’ll admit but I don’t think its a bastion of Christian persecution either.
    And also, if this festival was privately funded and paid and the space is rented they have a right to bar entry to anyone. Take for instance, the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas. They make it a point to fly out all over the country and picket the funerals of dead soldiers in the name of religious freedom. Several states have innacted laws banning them from doing this which ARE unconstitutional, but were put in place because what that church does is so offensive to most people it gives us pause. Likewise if Muslims are trying to have a festival about their religion, other religions (Especially ones that condemn Muslims for being Muslims and proclaim that they will all burn in hell.) MIGHT seem offensive to them and MIGHT stir about animosity.

    Its like when Anti-War demonstrators wanted to picket GW Bush’s second inauguration they had to do it in a designated spot. They have the freedom to assemble, but police also have a responsibility to ensure public safety, hence why they get called out and tend to barricade Pro-Life and Pro-Choice rallies away from each other for fear that a fight might break out and people are killed. Its also a reason why you don’t see many Conservative Christians with floats in a gay pride parade denouncing homosexuality. Freedom of religion and freedom to assemble are not absolutes, they must be tempered by common sense, and usually that common sense is born out past cases of violence. The police came and escorted them away from the festival because they didn’t want a scene, they didn’t want people to get injured or die if a fight broke out, because its their responsibility to do so as PEACE officers.

    The last point is that I had said earlier, its akin to, how would you feel if you raised a bunch of money to rent out a space and put together a Christian Festival to promote your beliefs, which you have the right to in this country, only to have a group of Satanists, come on or even near the entrance or the grounds in general to preach conversion or hand out pamphlets on conversion to the people as they came and went from the festival, I’m certain that someone would call the police, they would come, and escort the Satanists away so that the festival could continue in peace. There’s no reason to feel like a victim or a martyr because the police took you away from the Muslim Fest.

  5. Actually, Ryan, the reason Acts 17 brought cameras to the festival is so they could make a scene and make money off it with speaking engagements. They’ve viciously went after any other Christians there doing evangelism that did not agree with their account.

    Anyone with a clue about Arabic culture knows you don’t stick a camera in a muslim’s face, even if it’s LEGAL, and try to get him to reject Islam.

    Looks like you guys are well on your way to make yourselves the next “persecuted Christians” so you can bank roll off of it by speaking at churches etc.

    In the future, may want to be less interested in shoving your freedom down peoples’ throats and more interested in evangelism.

  6. Here is California we are beginning to realize , we do not seem to have FREEDOM to express Our Christian beleifs in Jesus CHrist! We Must PRAY that we do not become like Dearbourn, MI …. We need to Stand Up for what this country was founded upon, Biblicial Beliefs, one Nation under God! AMEN! We are still a Christian Nation!!!
    God will remain unchanged … He will ultimately REIGN!!
    Our GOD Reigns,here in Frazier Park, California, in the United States of America.. for now…Remember to VOTE!

  7. Thanks for this, brothers.
    Press on in His Name.

  8. There is a fine line between our rights of free speech and where it crosses over into infringing on someone else’s rights. On public property, whether it is rented leased or whatever arrangements at a public event (ie the public is invited) freedom of speech cannot be denied to individuals. That we may disagree with muslims or satanists if they come to a Christian gathering and engage in peaceful conversations with others, hand out tracts etc. is not relevant to their right to do so. Conversely it is a Christian’s right to do the same at a public non-Christian gathering.

    This country was founded on Christian belief and principles. Over half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence held seminary degrees. The writings of our founding fathers are quite clear on their reliance on God’s providence. This extended as a basis for our moral and judicial guidance and decisions well into the 20th century. That we as Christians need to reclaim our heritage is all too clear now as the church in America largely abrogated its historic role in society and governance. This is just one of many skirmishes along the way.

    “For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:20

  9. More importantly, our rights to speak at public events just got confirmed this past Friday. The four evangelists who were arrested in Dearborn, MI were acquitted.

    Acquitted of a breach of the peace, yes. “rights to speak at public events just got confirmed” – not so much. Nothing got confirmed, the Acts 17 kids just didn’t have to pay a fine. That’s how the court system works. Unless the judge actually came down with a ruling that “the freedom to pass out religious pamphlets and inform people that they’re going to hell should never be infringed, even in a private gathering,” then nothing was “confirmed.”

    More importantly, though, let’s go to Ryan Shirtz on the instant replay. See those sura’s he quoted in the first response? Let’s compare them for a second.

    Exodus 22:20: He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.

    Deuteronomy 17:2-7: If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant,

    And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded;

    And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and, behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought in Israel:

    Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.

    At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

    The hands of the witnesses shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterward the hands of all the people. So thou shalt put the evil away from among you.

    2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    2 Chronicles 15:12-13: And they entered into a covenant to seek the LORD God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul; That whosoever would not seek the LORD God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman.

    Can’t say I’m really seeing a difference here, Ryan.

    • I think the difference lies in the fact that this was for Israel then. The Koran is still active today, along with the command to kill infidels. The Christian response to infidels is to love our enemies, do good, pray and bless. Quite a difference, no?

      The Acts 17 kids were outside the fair remember.

  10. Piper, Piper, Piper.

    Time to study your history. This country wasn’t founded on “Christian beliefs and principles.” The majority of the Founding Fathers weren’t Christian, they were Deists. They believed that there was a God, but not that Jesus was His son. Their philosophy was primarily that God was a disinterested watchmaker – he’d set the gears moving, but wasn’t paying attention.

    This “America is a Christian nation!” nonsense is a lie, and you know how God feels about those. At best, you can claim that America is a MAJORITY Christian nation, with a government that does not set one religion above another.

  11. You forgot “lie about our enemies,” as you guys have this habit of doing from time to time.

  12. Ah – Nameless Cynic you are the one that has bought into a rewrite of history. The single fact that I referenced of half of the signers of the Declaration of Independence holding seminary degrees flies in the face of your deitist revisionism. Our Founders strongly held to God’s Providence and is amply recorded by nearly all – some 150+ of them. Yes there were a few atheists in the group but they accounted to less than 5% of the total.

    I could clearly go on from there and cite the Bible societies that were founded by our founding fathers. That the first published edition of the Bible in English in the USA was supported and funded by our Congress. When the Louisiana Purchase was completed, part of the federal funding went for missionaries to take Christ to the native americans.

    Thomas Jefferson who has so been slandered as a deist at best and an atheist at worst was extremely strong in his statements supporting God’s Divine Providence.

    Obviously we will not settle this here and likely never as you have been sold a revisionist lie about our founding. I will pray for you.

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:6

  13. To Nameless Cynic,

    Thanks for your input here; I see that you are very well-read. Please check out this site that chronicles the history of Christianity in America (starting in 1607) so that you may be better informed. Thanks for tuning in!

    http://www.prdienstberger.com/nation/atbofcon.htm

  14. vintango says:
    “The last point is that I had said earlier, its akin to, how would you feel if you raised a bunch of money to rent out a space and put together a Christian Festival to promote your beliefs, which you have the right to in this country, only to have a group of Satanists, come on or even near the entrance or the grounds in general to preach conversion or hand out pamphlets on conversion to the people as they came and went from the festival”

    This is a false analogy , and here is why. In Dearborn this was a ARABIC FESTIVAL- not a religious Muslim festival a very significant fact you seem to have missed! This was an Public event open to everyone while Muslims had booths to promote Islam this was NOT the focuse of the event, and also not all those of Middle eastern origin that live in Dearborn are Muslim! there is a large Lebonese comminty that is Chrsitian that resides in there also.

    Now had this been a Muslim festival that catered to mostly Muslims you may have an arguement and I would perhaps agree with you on it.

    But since of course Christains are involved you know they must be GUILTY so lets invent false stories and revisied facts to make sure they are always the evil ones!

    But non the less in a Court of Law of the City of Dearborn before a jury of their Peers , they have been found not Guilty!

    And I know that fact really gets many angery here- Christians being found Innocent before a Court of Law how shocking! oh the injustice of it all!! there must be a hidden conspericy!! it cant be!!

    Check this out
    http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/pakistan/

  15. Lydia says

    “Anyone with a clue about Arabic culture knows you don’t stick a camera in a muslim’s face, even if it’s LEGAL, and try to get him to reject Islam.

    Looks like you guys are well on your way to make yourselves the next “persecuted Christians” so you can bank roll off of it by speaking at churches etc.”

    I noticed of course you blew over what the Quran says about non believers . in that you seem to ignore the elephant standing in the middle of the living room. Muslims that hold the Quran as the uncreated word of Allah have to HATE non muslims and even more so Christians and Jews!

    9:123
    O ye who believe! Fight those of the disbelievers who are near to you, and let them find harshness in you, and know that Allah is with those who keep their duty (unto Him).

    9:5
    Then, when the sacred months have passed, slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them (captive), and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush. But if they repent and establish worship and pay the poor-due, then leave their way free. Lo! Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.

    Lets see here Lydia , hmm no video cameras mentioned…Allah’s command is to slay, humilitate, show harshness, subdue, bring under submission, refuse to make friends with non Muslims ect

    take a glance at this website and see how wonderful Muslims treat Christians …but no video cameras seemed to mentioned in the motivation of Muslim treatment of Christians

    http://www.compassdirect.org/english/country/pakistan/

  16. Wait, since when does the Founders being Christians make this a Christian nation? Last time I checked these are the guys behind the establishment clause. Oh, and then there’s the whole Tripoli thing.

  17. Here it is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Tripoli

    Article 11: As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

    That darned liberal Washington Administration!

  18. Thanks Tony, it seems you paved the way for us. A group went Sunday and had no problems whatsoever. We handed out about 700 tracts.

    BTW, this was NOT a religious festival, it was one celebrating Arab-American relations and culture. There were a few religious booths, both Muslim and Christian. It was held in a public park with free admittance and open to ALL to attend.

  19. Jefferson was Christian, he even created his own bible, because he didn’t believe in the dogma and superstitutions contained within, called the Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazereth. But men like Adams and Benjamin Franklin were not extremely religious, in fact Franklin was a deist, some might even call him more of an egotist then a believer.
    Adams was unitarian and didn’t believe in the divinity of Jesus or the dogma of the bible, rejecting the life of a minister in favor of one of law. During his presidency he approved the ratification of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship with Tripoli (An Islamic state) in which in article XI states that the United states is in no way a Christian Nation. Though a good majority of its citizens are Christian, the governing body is secular and thus seperate from religious influence… at least in theory.

    Bottom line is that the country was founded before the industrial revolution or the scientific revolution for that matter, so of course they were religious, but in America we have the right to practice whatever religion we want to, just as long as it doesn’t harm others. If my religion called for me to sacrifice other human beings (How’s that for absolute moral laws being unchangable!) I wouldn’t be allowed to do it, because it harms others or might lead to conflicts. And this is why the cops break up opposing viewpoints, because ABSOLUTE freedom is not guaranteed, the public safety trumps it, keeping people ALIVE trumps it. Yes there is a question of just where to draw the line but each police officer has to make that call themselves, and its up to a judge to determine if they made the right call or not.

  20. If its not private, if it is public then yes, you have the right to go in and hand out pamphlets, hence why the cop said Steve was in the right. We do have freedom of religion in this country, isn’t it wonderful? Christians can fight for souls by spreading the word, and Muslims have the freedom to reject that word. And vice versa. But people can become incensed when the topic of religion comes up, the denial of your God or an opposing view can enflame the passions, Christians can become just as tempremental as Muslims on the subject, hence why the cops are on standby, the last thing we want in a country based on seperation of church and state is a holy war.

  21. Gosh Tom, well and truly muzzled!

  22. I’m not too keen on being forces to curtailed my rights because a religion has a tendency to get crazy over little things.

  23. vintango – close. Jefferson didn’t really “create his own Bible,” so much as selectively edit the one he had. Essentially what he did was take the Bible and do a pre-computer cut-and-paste (some rumors were that he did that literally, glueing the lines together – not sure on that); but he took out anything resembling miracles, magic or mystic phenomenon, to show the philosophy that Jesus was credited with.

    Sorry to quibble, but in a forum like this, details are important. They’re already trying to rewrite history, so the little things matter.

    You know, little things like:

    “I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it.” — Benjamin Franklin, from “Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion”, Nov. 20, 1728

    “Here it is that the religion of Deism is superior to the Christian Religion. It is free from all those invented and torturing articles that shock our reason or injure our humanity, and with which the Christian religion abounds. Its creed is pure, and sublimely simple. It believes in God, and there it rests.” — Thomas Paine, “Of The Religion Of Deism Compared With The Christian Religion”

    “As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?” — John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, Dec. 27, 1816

    “History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purpose.” — Thomas Jefferson to Baron von Humboldt, 1813

    “What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not.” — James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance”, 1785

    “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
    Benjamin Franklin again, in “Poor Richard’s Almanac”

  24. Oh! A lively historical debate. Now we’re talkin’!

  25. But they can’t talk, they’re muzzled!

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