panelarrow

Incident Report

| 86 Comments

Usually when we head to our local fishin’ hole, the Redondo Beach Pier, it is a placid, gentle place to hand out Gospel tracts and share our faith one-to-one; last week was the exception. A patrol officer, new on the beat, took issue with our team, led by my trusted leader Ed Lee. Here is the Incident Report we sent to our lawyer. Afterward, I’d love to hear what you have to say about what happened and your reaction to Ed’s response.

As you requested, here is a short summary of the police intervention today:

At approximately 3:45 pm this afternoon, as I was leading the evangelism outreach at Redondo Beach Pier, Sgt. ________ approached me and announced in a loud voice, “I told you people that you cannot pass out any literature anywhere on the pier or the international walkway! It is illegal to do so, and if you do not stop I will take you upstairs to the police office and cite you for a violation and it will cost you $350!”

As I took a step or two closer to engage Sgt. _____ in conversation, one of the people of our group from Hope Chapel passed out another $100 big money gospel tract to a person passing by and this infuriated Sgt. _______.  He raised his voice several decibels higher and said to the woman with our team, “I saw you earlier today and I told you to stop passing out literature!!”  Raising his voice still higher, he told her “Don’t you understand me?  Is your brain functioning properly?  Why aren’t you obeying me?!!!”

At this point I was able to intervene with the Sgt. and asked him to tell me what law we were violating. He became more agitated and replied “I’m pissed right now!!  I need a minute to calm myself down.”  After a momentary pause Sgt. ______ then said, “Pass out another one of those and I will take you upstairs to cite you and you will be able to see then what the law code is!!”

In a normal tone of voice I identified myself as a leader of the outreach group from Hope Chapel and before I could speak another word he said, “I know where you people are from, and I’ve told you people before that this is illegal, and not to pass out literature of any kind here!”

I calmly assured him that our church had researched the legality of passing out literature in a public place with the authorities in the beach area here and that we were told that it was not against the law to distribute literature in public areas.

He replied, “The pier is not a public area!  It has been designated as a park, and this is my area to patrol.”  The city council had told him in a meeting to stop anyone attempting to distribute literature.  He also stated,  “The merchants in the area had complained about littering, and that the litter was a public nuisance.”

At this point I made it clear to Sgt ______ that no one had talked to me personally about this, and I had been coming to this pier on a regular basis for over 4 years and had never been told by the police that distributing literature was illegal.  I told him that we would stop passing out literature for the rest of the day, but I wanted to know exactly what municipal code we were violating.

Sgt. ______ then said, “The merchants don’t like what you’re doing, and the city council called me into a meeting to inform me that the police were not to allow you to distribute literature on the pier and the entire international walkway area.”

I told the Sgt. that while I could understand someone may not like what we were doing, mere dislike for an activity was not legal grounds to prohibit it.  I assured him that Hope Chapel had no desire to break the law, and that we wanted to be known as good citizens in our community.  I again asked him to tell me what law was being broken and he said he couldn’t quote it at the moment, but that he would be glad to let me know.  At that point I gave Sgt. _____ my Hope Chapel business card with my contact information, and asked him to forward the information directly to me.  I told him we train our outreach people to comply with all the local laws and regulations, and that if the law had changed, we wanted to instruct our team members accordingly.  I again assured the Sgt. that it was our desire to obey all laws.  He told me he would send me the information and then left the area.

After he left, I instructed our group to put away the gospel tracts for the rest of the day.   After a few minutes of discussion with our group, I decided to go up to the office with the intent of confirming the proper spelling of the Sgt.’s name so I could follow up with him.

Leaving the group on the first floor area, I went upstairs to the police office.  Sgt. _____  was there, and he came to the window counter to greet me.  I asked him if it was possible to get an information card with his contact information, and he was obliged to give me one.  I thanked him, and left the office.  I then went downstairs and gathered our team and left to return to Hope Chapel.

What do you think? How did Ed handle this interruption? What would you have done? Click here to read part 2 to find out what our lawyer did about this.

*****

Read this important article, “On Dealing with Police.”

See how I graciously dealt with police in this video.

 

86 Comments

  1. Before I respond – is that picture from the incident?

  2. No, “uh” Steve. Seriously, do you really think that pic is funny? Do you really not care that you’re misrepresenting what happened by using that pic?

  3. Do you really need all those Batons and Helmets when evangelizing at the pier? I would have thought it would go better if you dressed down a little.

  4. I think Ed handled that perfectly.
    Now I am really curious what law or municipal code was being broken by handing out gospel tracts on the pier?

    It was great how Ed continued to be polite and comply with the officer while at the same time insisting on what law was being broken.

    Kind of sad and funny that he didn’t know – but he did know it was wrong because the City Council said it was wrong? hmm….
    Makes me feel like we’re back in the sandbox in kindergarten.
    Especially the way this officer reacted very emotionally to what was going on by yelling at the woman handing out another 100.00 in front of him.

  5. Sounds like the Gestapo or what. I like the part about what law and exact code number are we violating? That really fries law enforcement officers, because very few of then know the law much less how to enforce it other than by intimidation and threats. Sad right here in our home court! Good job!!!

  6. Ed responded in an appropriate manner and his calmness helped make the cop less aggressive as opposed to yelling back and fueling the fire. I think we can all easily respond in an aggressive manner “This man has no right to be yelling at me so I’ll yell back” but it’s good to practice exhibiting the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22.)

  7. I’m guessing from the complete lack of riot police in the written account, the answer is no.

    But, Steve, perdita has a point – as an opening photo, that one is… well, confusing – I assume it was not intended to be misleading, but rather as a humorous bit of hyperbole.

    I’d be interested in hearing Sgt. _____’s side of the story. That said, assuming that the details you’ve given are largely correct, I’d say Ed handled it about as well as possible. (It’s not that I doubt the honesty of his account, it’s just that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.) And I would definitely be interested in hearing any follow-up – what law or ordinance he cites, if any, for example.

  8. I think Ed handled the situation perfectly. He showed respect for the police officer and his authority which I think determined the peaceful outcome. In life it is important to choose one’s battles wisely.

    Ed basically turned the other cheek and I have a lot of respect for that. It is very difficult not to let one’s own pride and ego get in the way, especially when one thinks they are in the right.

    Kudos to you Ed.

  9. First, I love the picture!

    Sounds to me like it would be hard to not like Ed, and he handled it in a very mature way while also making it clear that he would be making sure of the law.

    I like the way he worded his response; the officer probably thought he had a bunch of unruly folks on his hands, and Ed dispelled the tension well.

  10. A couple suggestions:
    1. Ed, and all leaders, should have with them copies of laws and legal cases showing that what the team is doing is legal and present them to the officer.
    2. I would have asked for the officer’s card right away.
    3. Ed did a great job in remain calm and polite. He did an excellent job in diffusing what could have been worse situation.

  11. Is there a “No Handbills” sign posted on or adjacent to the premises? Redondo Beach has long had a municipal code requiring compliance with such signs.

  12. Personally I think handled the situation properly. I wonder if the city council can pass an order to prevent handing out tracts. Please keep us informed.

  13. Michael Mock wrote: “I assume [the photo]…was not intended to be misleading, but rather as a humorous bit of hyperbole.”

    You got it, Michael. Welcome to my blog!

  14. The very blog header show Steve celebrating before a pyre of Darwin and Newton (or is that Beethoven), so you know he loves his bizarre images.

  15. Steve,

    I understand the point you’re trying to get across with the picture, but I feel it’s in bad taste not to mention it could be taken as what happened during the event.

    Then again, the way this country is operating, that might be something that could happen in the future to you folks. Scary thought…

  16. Morning Steve, I know that’s how you intended it. However, you have said that you believe our future will be like that.

    That photo makes me question your sincerity about that belief. Was “The time will come when that may have to happen,” also a bit of humorous hyperbole? I’m now thinking it must have been.

    That said – yes it was handled well. But do you think police overreaching their authority only happens to your type of Christian?

  17. Glen – did you realize the photo was intended as humor when you first saw it? Before you read anything you realized that it was hyperbole?

    Gosh, maybe I’m just not as inured by propaganda as you lot.

  18. perdita, YES! I mean come on, riot gear?

    If you’ve spent any time on Pastor Steve’s blog, you know that his sense of humor includes sarcasm and lots of it. In fact, even if the picture was part of the story, I would have assumed otherwise until reading.

  19. I’m a little confused by Ed’s statement, “… it was our desire to obey all laws.” There are unjust laws.

    Also, what evidence exists that you or anyone the officer approaches are under the jurisdiction that the particular law, if that law exists in the first place?

    And finally, if a particular law is identified and it is proven to have jurisdiction, how can the officer write a citation without giving a legal opinion? Under their system, only lawyers are qualified to give legal opinions to a third party.

  20. “Also, what evidence exists that you or anyone the officer approaches are under the jurisdiction that the particular law, if that law exists in the first place?”

    I meant:

    “Also, what evidence exists that you or anyone the officer approaches are under the jurisdiction *of* that particular law, if that law exists in the first place?”

  21. IRT to the photo: I think Steve’s fooling himself when he refers to it as hyperbole. He’s written enough about persecution of Christians, such that it’s probably best understood as a theme for this blog.

    IRT the confrontation, it sounds like Ed handled it well.

    IRT the legality, I think it’s unreasonable to expect evangelicals to carry around documentation about whether they’re allowed to evangelize. It’s *also* impractical to expect a police officer to list the statutes relevant to the instructions he’s giving; indeed, he has the authority to require people to obey him, even in the absence of regulations governing the specific situation. I don’t know whether handing out tracts would or should have been legal. I guess I can imagine valid arguments from both sides (re. freedom of speech vs ordinances about litter).

  22. @Steve

    I am sure you are aware by now that atheists have no sense of humor. The only thing that gets them giggling is reading, hearing or seeing bad things happen to Christians.

    I love this site. The pictures, posts, commentary… it is all great.

  23. Wow I leave Knoxville for two weeks to help in Tornado relief in Joplin and Steve’s E-gang has police going gangbusters on them.

  24. Eh… its not worth getting worked up over a picture, it just comes across as nit picking, if you read the article you know the picture doesn’t match so why gripe about it? Also freedom of speech should be respected yes, but there are ways we limit it. If my next door neighbor throws a large house party where there is shouting, drinking, and loud music, I can call the cops and they can come and break up the party because we’ve implemented laws against disturbing the peace. Its the same reason we can’t say bomb in an airport… disturbance of the peace… and its also the reason why states have enacted laws prohibiting the picketing of funerals, because the Westboro Baptists love to disturb the peace so its best to keep them a few blocks out of sight and let families grieve. If the businesses in that area are suffering because potential customers feel harassed by preaching and its hurting the livelihoods of the shop owners than they might complain to their local government to actually DO something about it. It would be no different if there were a bunch of indigents in tin foil hats standing outside the shops screaming about how the government is taking over their minds through floride in the drinking water. The cop comes by and shooes them away so that they stop disturbing the peace.

  25. Also… Go Sock Puppets go!

  26. I am sure you are aware by now that atheists have no sense of humor. The only thing that gets them giggling is reading, hearing or seeing bad things happen to Christians.

    Um, no. You must be talking about someone else with the same name.

  27. @vintango2k

    Re: Disturbing the peace, the US Constitution was established to protect and maintain individual rights. Who’s peace has been disturbed when someone hands out a tract?

  28. It amazes me that people will go after the picture as the primary point of debate. It’s an illustration. They’re all over the internet. To assign a bad motive (including stupidity) to Steve is just a cheap shot.

    I hope we learn more about this case. Christians should not have to carry around information that spells out for over-enthusiastic cops that we have the right to pass out literature. (Unlike me, in the enclosed mall on Black Friday. The rent-a-cops told me to cut it out, and I cut it out because they did have that right.) However, what *should* be (should be able to freely go about our business) and what *is* (the possible need to explain our existing rights) are two different things.

  29. Storm – I was the one that brought it up and even I commented on the post itself. I wasn’t making a cheap shot – I truly think the photo is misleading. (Steve tends to use pictures of current, real events acurately and photo-shopped images for hyperbole.) Others don’t feel this way – fine.

    But can you list anyone who commented on the photo without commenting on the post?

    Can you point to anyone that said Steve’s motive was ‘stupidity’?

  30. Steve – and E-team,

    I think Ed did a great job. Keeping calm is very difficult to do sometimes, especially when faced with oppression. There’s no other word for it, but perhaps this borders on repression too? It’s blows my mind how far backwards this country is going in a hurry. Keep up the good work Steve and Ed and E-team! Serving Jesus is always the “Higher” cause.

  31. I believe Ed’s reaction to an angry man with a badge on his chest and a gun on his hip, standing in a very public venue with strangers staring and a team of God’s faithful servants looking on in hope that Ed will be able to somehow calm this over zealous police officer, defend their right to “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15), was exemplary considering the pressure he was under. As one that evangelizes on a regular basis at the Redondo Beach Pier, I can only hope and pray that I would have enough presence of mind to stay as calm and collected as Ed Lee was. I am as impressed with Ed”s proactive stance in clarifying what supposed law was broken. Well done Ed. I will use this incident to be better prepared than I have been by keeping a copy of the Redondo Beach Municipal Code with me when I am there with team. FYI the R.B.M.C. section is 4-1.101 Distribution. The exemptions provisions that would allow HAND-TO-HAND distribution of tracts is R.B.M.C. section 4-1.102 item (c). Which states: ” The provisions of this chapter (meaning 4-1.101) shall NOT apply to HAND-TO-HAND distribution of ANY….tract…. when such HAND-TO-HAND delivery is made in or upon private property or public or private premises.”

  32. what would I have done?

    exactly what I DID do… I left the creepy fundamentalist church that I belonged to because I was tired of feeling guilty about never having done enough, not being effective in the things I was coerced into doing (like handing out tracts and knocking on people’s doors), and having to act like a total twit any time I was questioned or challenged.

    • II read your post.

      I have a question for you? The creepy fundamentalist church you say you left, was it the JW sect?

  33. I was there that day and was asked to not pass out tracks or be fined, so I told him I would go off the pier to the strand and he said he could not stop me from doing that, so off I went for an hour and passed out all my hundreds of tracks, Praise the Lord.

  34. I was there that day and was asked to not pass out tracks or be fined, so I told him I would go off the pier to the strand and he said he could not stop me from doing that, so off I went for an hour and passed out all my hundreds of tracks, Praise the Lord.

  35. I was there that day and was asked to not pass out tracks or be fined, so I told him I would go off the pier to the strand and he said he could not stop me from doing that, so off I went for an hour and passed out all my hundreds of tracks, Praise the Lord.
    Boy no offense, but you guys really get off track on tangents. Ha ha

  36. I was there that day and was asked to not pass out tracks or be fined, so I told him I would go off the pier to the strand and he said he could not stop me from doing that, so off I went for an hour and passed out all my hundreds of tracks, Praise the Lord.
    Boy no offense, but you guys really get off track on tangents. Ha ha Let me know how it turns out Steve with the Pier, please.

  37. @Jim

    “The correct action is this: Assume that it is the law, comply with the order and cease your activity. Then contact your lawyer and he will decide if the order is or isn’t valid and contact the police accordingly.”

    But Jim, aren’t I innocent until proven guilty? I was asking about the jurisdiction of the law because jurisdiction is supposedly an element of the cause of action. Don’t they have to fulfill each element of their cause of action? I’ll admit that proof of jurisdiction is difficult to do right there on the street, but if they can’t at least claim the elements of a valid cause of action right there, why should I have to do anything they tell me?

    Oh, because they have a gun. That’s right. I thought this was ‘merica.

    “Mine. Because people like Ray, Steve, and Tony don’t just stop there. They fire up PA systems and start to preach to people who are not there wanting to hear them make a ruckus. It’s quite often that I am at a cafe or a park with friends and some sanctimonious preacher shows up and starts yelling fire and brimstone…. forcing me to either take a stand or leave to continue our conversation / activity.”

    Then you should personally bring your cause of action so I can face my accuser, not farm it out to your hired goons.

  38. By the way, Jim, you are using a slippery slope.

  39. The rights guaranteed by the US constitution are not absolute. You do not have the right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater, for example. You don’t have the right to hold up a huge banner proclaiming the divinity of Jesus in the middle of a four-way intersection, as another example.

    IOW, your ability to express yourself is weighed against other factors, including local ordinances, past encounters with law enforcement officers, and the interests of the community in general.

  40. Dennis wrote: “Makes me feel like we’re back in the sandbox in kindergarten.
    Especially the way this officer reacted very emotionally to what was going on by yelling at the woman handing out another 100.00 in front of him.”

    This was after he told them to stop. This woman acted like a child in kindergarten trying to still grab a cookie from the cookie jar after her mother told her not too.

    You guys are funny acting always like the innocent victims. If I was a business owner in the area’s that you guys always go to, I would also try to get you guys to stop by any means possible. You should feel lucky that they are taking the legal route.

  41. You indeed do have a right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater if there is in fact a fire. These Christians believe with all their heart that there really is in fact an actual fire.

    Even if they are wrong, the motivation is true.

  42. Atheists like to appear tough and imposing. The reality is that atheists back down when you call their bluff.

  43. @atheistologist

    you mean they “turn the other cheek”? hahaha

  44. No we just hide behind stormpuppets, I mean sock puppets, and post snide comments,… no wait.. who was that?

  45. Stormpuppets:

    Atheists like to appear tough and imposing. The reality is that atheists back down when you call their bluff

    That’s odd. Seems like we’re all still around, sniping away. And under our own pen names. So your definition of “backing down” is… um… what, exactly?

  46. Bathtub:

    btw – “Stormpuppets”?

    Awesome. I think we’ve found his name.

  47. Atheists don’t care about the Truth. They only want to mock, scoff, malign and argue.

  48. @whateveratheists

    A slight generalization, yes?

  49. They only want to mock, scoff, malign and argue.

    Says the person who continually and obnoxiously uses sock-puppets. You don’t have a leg to stand on.

    Motes and beams, yo.

  50. @ Patrick

    I don’t think Ed or any of the team members that day were acting like the victim. They could if they wanted to because it appears that the police officer had no business threatening fines and what not. Instead the team stopped what they were doing and are now legally finding out what is allowed or not. That’s our M.O. all the time to comply with authorities while at the same time fulfilling the great commission.

    That is way more important than all these rabbit trails everyone is trying to go down.

    For us as believers we have a single purpose: get the Gospel out. That’s it.
    Not because we like to be “victims” not because it makes us feel good, not because of ego, or any other strange reason you might come up with.

    Despite what you may think our motivation is.. it is love and concern.
    If you were to die in your sins today the Bible says you will end up in Hell.
    That should concern you. It does me. So that’s why we do what we do – to give people the good news of Jesus Christ.
    The people on our team are all just regular people with enough heart and braveness to go out and share their faith. Handing out tracts is not disturbing the peace or ruining any of the business down there. 90% of the people laugh and gladly accept our tracts so you could say we HELP the business down there. No need for an overzealous officer of the Law to come and yell and threaten. That’s why I say sandbox because he is being a bully at that time which is really not necessary.
    Just like I would say he is being a bully if he got in your face for littering, etc.

    Sheesh – funny how everything on this blog turns into opposition, name calling, and all sorts of rabbit trails. Anything but to face the truth.

    EVERYONE is going to be accountable to God one day. Believe it or not.
    Doesn’t make a difference to God. 10 out of 10 will die and give an account for every thought you had, every word you spoke, every action you took.

    So we’ll just keep on warning people best we can and sharing with them the GOOD news which is that Jesus died for our sins. Repent and believe the Gospel.

  51. Sockpuppet theists don’t care about the Truth. They only want to mock, scoff, malign and argue.

    Fixed that for you, Stormpuppets

  52. Seth responded to me with the following: You indeed do have a right to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater if there is in fact a fire. These Christians believe with all their heart that there really is in fact an actual fire.

    Even if they are wrong, the motivation is true.

    And yet, when the fire department shows up to reveal there’s no fire, the theist will be arrested.

    I’m talking freedom of speech, independent of what is being spoken. That right is not absolute. People do not have the right to say whatever wherever or whenever they want.

  53. The truth hurts doesn’t it?

    Atheists can’t deal with someone telling the truth about them.

  54. @Dennis

    As you see me in a “burning building” and or “drowning”, I see you as wasting your life for a cause that you even yourself say is up to God to do. “only God can turn the unbeliever” or something to that effect was said by you and Steve. I don’t believe in your idea of a God and there are millions of others that don’t. There is even millions of people that believe in some other sort of deity and think that it is the one and only true God/Gods.
    Also I don’t agree with you giving up a percentage of your money to fund Steve and some sort of “Christian Army”. I would support you and your beliefs a lot more if you interpreted the Bible for yourself and used your finances to help those in need personally. Feed the hungry without needing anything in return like having them listen to your (someone else) belief system.

    Lead by example.
    I am thinking more of following your example and coming up with pamphlets to hand out to you, your fellow “fantasy” believers and the people that you hand tracts out to. Of course I am not going to do this, because you and I are not qualified for this job. Once you are “qualified” people come to you. People came to Jesus and not the other way around. (if Jesus even existed)

    Anyways, I hope you get what I am trying to tell you here.
    You found “God” and three days later you are handing out tracts without even fully understanding, reflecting/meditating about what that meant. You told me “At least I have the Bible on my side now when I get in arguments with Rachael” and “this will help me to help Rachael change for the better”. The only person I saw changed was you. Reading some of your comments on here make me think of an extremist muslim the way you want women to cover up at the beach and how you think that a woman’s bare chest is now somehow different than a man’s bare chest. Remember how in Holland there was equality for men and women in this respect? There wasn’t a bunch of dudes walking around with boners ogling topless women. You got brainwashed into believing that nudity is a sin. I see the Bible as trying to separate you from your family, the earth, animals, nature, and other humans. I would love for you to come down from “heaven” and back to Earth.

  55. No, come on now. Really?

    For it to be “LOL Atheists,” you should have written

    Tha trooth iz boo-boo.

    No see Ceiling Cat, no luvz

    Don’t you pay attention? Geez!

  56. @Dennis

    “That’s our M.O. all the time to comply with authorities while at the same time fulfilling the great commission.”

    Paul and Silas did not comply with authorities. There was a “no proselytizing” Law under Roman rule. There wasn’t even a permit process.

    If there was a permit process, what does that say about who is the master in that context? “You can only proselytize if we approve.” But my authority is derived from the great commission, through Jesus alone.

    Paul and Silas disrupted business and got jailed as a direct result (http://ref.ly/Ac16.16-21). No one cared until they disrupted business, I might point out. They were blameless in that they didn’t claim any rights violations, and in doing so, were a great example and something believers today should strive to emulate in all contexts, especially one where we are supposedly considered blameless until proven otherwise.

  57. Dennis wrote: “If you were to die in your sins today the Bible says you will end up in Hell. That should concern you.

    And the Quran says that if you were to die today that, because you didn’t follow the pillars of Islam, specifically the one about not ascribing partners (i.e., Jesus) with Allah, you will end up in Hell.

    Does that concern you?

    If it doesn’t concern you, then why should what the Bible says concern me?

    What is the method that you use to determine that I should be concerned with what the Bible says will happen to me, but that I shouldn’t be concerned with what the Quran says will happen to me?

  58. @ Nohm

    You never grow tired of the old Muslim analogy do you?
    The method I used to come to the conclusion about Islam is to look at where it started, how it started, who started it. Also what does the Qu’ran teach?
    When I have time I intend to read the whole thing I will.
    Also again as stated before Islam is a works based religion as are many others. Somehow you work for Heaven. Christianity says that there is nothing you can do to inherit Heaven. Jesus Christ paid the fine. Also he said: I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the father but by me. I believe that with all my heart.

    @ Anthony

    I agree with what you say. The time will come when we will need to stand for our rights (like in Dearborn MI) but for the most part when we go out it is a case by case situation. Most of the time we comply and move along to another location. Other times you stand your ground. I just read last night in Acts about Paul getting arrested and the Jews trying to kill him. I believe those days will be here again sooner or later.

  59. Amen Brother Dennis!

  60. Dennis,

    I don’t “grow tired of it” because of how applicable it is. You suggest that Patrick should be concerned by what the Bible (a book he doesn’t currently accept as divine) says about his eternal destination, yet you yourself are not concerned with what the Qur’an (a book he doesn’t currently accept as divine) says about your eternal destination.

    Do you understand why I bring this up? It’s because you expect him to do something that you yourself don’t do. In fact, you admit that you haven’t even read the entire Qur’an.

    The method I used to come to the conclusion about Islam is to look at where it started, how it started, who started it.

    As we do with the Bible. Now, why is your conclusion about the Qur’an more accurate than our conclusion about the Bible?

    Also what does the Qu’ran teach?

    A lot of different things. Was this a question to me, or just a general comment?

    Also again as stated before Islam is a works based religion as are many others.

    Relevance? Why is non-works-based better than works-based?

    Somehow you work for Heaven.

    And why is Christianity better?

    Christianity says that there is nothing you can do to inherit Heaven. Jesus Christ paid the fine. Also he said: I am the way the truth and the life no man comes to the father but by me.

    Okay, but why is that better than a works-based religion?

    I believe that with all my heart.

    Okay, but why should I?

    Lastly, the reason I use the “old Muslim analogy” is to try to get people like yourself to recognize that you’re asking me to do something that you yourself won’t or don’t do. You are asking me to accept claims from an ancient holy book, yet you won’t do the same with a different ancient holy book.

    The Muslims I talk with are just as convinced that their faith is true as you appear to be convinced that your faith is true. Both the Muslim and yourself use many of the same arguments. Both Muslims and Christians point to miracles and prophecy as evidence that their faiths are true.

    So, why should I believe you, Dennis, instead of a Muslim?

    And, most importantly, what makes a non-works-based religion more special than a works-based religion? In our day-to-day life, isn’t a meritocracy considered to be a good thing?

  61. Correction:

    My first paragraph above should have been:

    I don’t “grow tired of it” because of how applicable it is. You suggest that Patrick should be concerned by what the Bible (a book he doesn’t currently accept as divine) says about his eternal destination, yet you yourself are not concerned with what the Qur’an (a book you don’t currently accept as divine) says about your eternal destination.

  62. Dennis, here’s maybe a better way to illustrate how this all appears to me:

    Dennis: Baseball is the best sport because it has two teams competing, running around, using a ball, wearing uniforms with numbers, playing in a stadium of grass, and fans get to watch it. Also, in baseball, the players get to throw the ball.

    Nohm: But NFL football is the same way. It also has all of those things that you listed. Why is baseball better than NFL football?

    Dennis: You never grow tired of the old NFL football analogy do you?

    Nohm: No, because it’s applicable. Everything that you listed applies to NFL football also.

    Dennis: Yes, but baseball is better than other sports because it uses “innings” instead of “quarters” or “periods”. Baseball uses innings, and that’s the correct thing to do, or it wouldn’t be in the rules.

    Nohm: Why is having “innings” more important than having “quarters” or “periods”?

    And so on…

  63. The atheist cannot grasp the concept of a personal religious experience or conviction that allows a person to discern right from wrong for them.

  64. @Dennis

    I think those days are here if one holds to certain principles. If we really believe Jesus alone has been given all authority under heaven and earth, and that our orders come from the One who has all authority, what evidence is there that we need a permit to fulfill the great commission in any context, in any sense?

  65. The atheist cannot grasp the concept of a personal religious experience or conviction that allows a person to discern right from wrong for them.

    I’ll repeat again how annoying it is to have someone who thinks that they can mind-read, especially when they’re completely and obnoxiously wrong every time.

    Like the quote above.

    I can grasp it. My issue is this: both you and a Muslim state that you had a personal religious experience that allows you to discern right from wrong for them.

    But both people can’t be right, correct?

    So, what method do we use to determine who, if either, is correct?

    That’s the problem, “Praying for Atheists”.

  66. @Noam

    “The Muslims I talk with are just as convinced that their faith is true as you appear to be convinced that your faith is true. Both the Muslim and yourself use many of the same arguments. Both Muslims and Christians point to miracles and prophecy as evidence that their faiths are true.”

    I assert that the can’t both be true in the same way, in the same sense. A cannot simultaneously be A and non-A. In the same way, God cannot exist and simultaneously not exist.

    So if there is only one truth on this subject, what if the Christian point of view is correct? With that framework in place, would you then be able to answer the question and not change the subject to avoid answering the question?

    The question is, in light of the law of non-contradiction stated above, if the Christian worldview is true, would it concern you that your eternal destination is hell? And what is your plan for dealing with judgement?

    I’m just asking “what if?” What’s with all the equivocation?

  67. According to the atheists this is the only life we have. Yet the atheists seem to spend a lot of their precious life engaged in silly debates, arguments and quarrels. All of the atheist arguments have been done and redone ad nauseam.

  68. @Nohm

    Sorry, I meant to type Nohm, not Noam. Also %s/that the/that they/.

  69. Anthony wrote:

    I’m just asking “what if?” What’s with all the equivocation?

    I don’t believe that I’ve done any equivocation. I was only trying to point out that Christians don’t appear to do this same “what if” for any other religion’s beliefs, like Islam, for example. In short, as I stated, I’m trying to point out that someone is asking someone else to do something that the asker wouldn’t/hasn’t done.

    I see a problem with that.

    If you still feel that I’ve equivocated (if that is indeed the word you intended to use), please point it out to me and I’ll either defend or apologize.

    The question is, in light of the law of non-contradiction stated above,

    First of all, I agree with your point about non-contradiction; both Muslims and Christians cannot both be right.

    It appears to me that neither are right. But I might be wrong about that.

    if the Christian worldview is true, would it concern you that your eternal destination is hell?

    Of course it would concern me. But this question is definitely different than Dennis’ original statement. Dennis simply stated that we should be concerned. Your question first has the “what if” in it. Please notice that Dennis’ statement did not contain that what if.

    But as for the what if, yes, you’re correct, I have no desire to spend eternity in Hell. But again we have the problem that you are asking me this “what if” question, but I have a hard time believing that you’ve ever asked yourself “if the Islamic worldview is true, would it concern me that my eternal destination is hell?”

    Maybe I’m wrong; maybe you have asked yourself that very question. But I’m doubting that, and I doubt that the vast majority of the Christians here have. So, again, we have my issue where you’re asking someone to do something that you yourself do not do.

    And what is your plan for dealing with judgement?

    None, because it’s simply a hypothetical “what if”. If we were to continue the “what if”, I would say something like “I would figure out what I need to do to make sure that I don’t end up in Hell”, but that’s very different and far more specific than “I would figure out what God wants”.

    But I have no reason to believe that there will be a judgment, so I don’t spend any time planning for dealing with it, in the exact same way that you don’t spend any time planning to deal with the judgment by Allah, as described in the Qur’an.

    Lastly, you had written:

    So if there is only one truth on this subject, what if the Christian point of view is correct? With that framework in place, would you then be able to answer the question and not change the subject to avoid answering the question?

    I’ll state again that if you scroll back up and read through the comments, that the “what if” was never stated. It was simply a statement of, and I quote, “If you were to die in your sins today the Bible says you will end up in Hell. That should concern you.

    Do you agree that your “what if” question is different than that statement, and why I’d take it differently?

    For the record, and if you go back through all of my comments on this blog I think you’d agree, avoiding questions is not exactly my style; to do so would make me a major hypocrite, as it’s something that I get on other people’s cases for doing. If you have evidence showing otherwise, please present it and I’ll either defend or apologize.

    I appreciate you responding to me, Anthony, and I hope I was able to answer your questions.

  70. Anthony, I just read through the entire thread of comments here, and your post at 12:19pm on July 1st is the first time that you, or anyone in this thread, asked that “what if” question.

    Therefore, I’m a bit confused by what appears to be your frustration that I haven’t answered the question; to me it appears that’s the first time you asked it. Therefore, there wasn’t anything presented to me before to even equivocate about.

    If you can further explain your point of view on this, please do, because it appears to me that I’m innocent with regards to your claims of equivocation and avoidance.

  71. truth about atheists,

    According to Christians, you’re supposed to live your life emulating Jesus.

    Would Jesus use sock-puppets?

  72. Actually, I might as well ask you, Anthony:

    If the Islamic worldview is true, would it concern you that your eternal destination is Hell? And what is your plan for dealing with Allah’s judgment?

  73. The atheists demand concrete answers to questions that have no concrete answer.

    When dealing with atheists remember this quote from the movie WarGames…

    “The only winning move is not to play.”

  74. @Nohm

    “If the Islamic worldview is true, would it concern you that your eternal destination is Hell? And what is your plan for dealing with Allah’s judgment?”

    Oh, it would concern me quite a bit. I would be absolutely terrified if it was the true worldview. Because in that worldview, your good must out weigh your bad. And if you have 50% good and 50% bad, only one more bad deed will send you to hell.

    If the Islamic worldview is true, I have no viable plan for dealing with Allah’s judgment because I have no assurance my math has been correct thus far. What if I had a really bad year, so bad that my mind has tried to forget it. So bad that I forget to use that year when attempting to calculate my good vs. bad deeds.

    I wouldn’t be able to deal with Islam if it were true. In Islam, I would have to modify it in order to overcome the certainty of hell. I don’t have to modify Christianity in order to avoid hell.

  75. Anthony:
    Let’s consider your statement up above.

    In the same way, God cannot exist and simultaneously not exist.

    But… but… I thought God could do anything

    So if there is only one truth on this subject, what if the Christian point of view is correct? With that framework in place, would you then be able to answer the question and not change the subject to avoid answering the question?

    The question is, in light of the law of non-contradiction stated above, if the Christian worldview is true, would it concern you that your eternal destination is hell? And what is your plan for dealing with judgement?

    Well, to be honest, that’s called “Pascal’s Wager” (it’s pretty well dealt with here, if you’re curious).

    But unfortunately, you go on to parse it into a yes/no question. You act as if your only choices are Christianity and Islam, and therefore, Christianity is the best choice, because… well, frankly, because your flavor of it claims that you just have to join the Jesus Club, and it’s all good.

    However, if you’re a Calvinist, you’re pretty much SOL anyway. If you’re a Catholic, there’s a whole complicated series of rules, and you can mostly bypass them by buying the local cathedral a new holy water font. If you’re Jehovah’s Witness, there’s only 144,000 souls going to heaven anyway, since the beginning of time, so why bother?

    (And, incidentally, your math on the Islam question isn’t real good, either. If it concerns you, just make sure you do more stuff that the Qu’ran approves of than it disapproves of. If you’re so close to the 50/50 line that you have to count pennies given to beggars, you obviously aren’t doing something right.)

    But there are other choices. Buddhism, for example, doesn’t even bother with heaven – you get cycles of rebirth until you gain enlightenment. Move back to the Pagan religions, it gets even hairier.

  76. Richard:
    Incidentally, these columns are getting a trifle chunky, with 75 and 100+ responses.. I would suggest putting up a post that’s just a picture (of whatever makes you happy/holy/whatever), and label it “Open Thread”

  77. @Nameless

    “But… but… I thought God could do anything…”

    I don’t believe I ever said God can do anything. For example, God cannot sin. Simply put, God cannot do anything against His nature.

    Maybe you smell “Pascal’s Wager” but I am not a fan of that position, myself. I am a Calvinist, incidentally. The 50/50 calculation in Islam is just an illustration. I’m sure I have crossed the line far beyond counting pennies.

    As for reincarnation and paganism, really? I was exploring the “what if” so that I would not be accused of not doing something I was recommending for someone else. I’m willing to take my own medicine. Am I really being accused of not exploring all possibilities now? Why?

  78. @Jim, maybe you didn’t understand what I wrote previously. I didn’t say the courts only deal in crimes. They claim they can deal in contract disputes as well.

    Either way, there has to be the violation of a legal right and courts are limited to only violations of a legal right. Why? Because governments have one stated purpose: to protect and maintain individual rights. And only those are justiciable, by their own rules.

    From everything I’ve seen for the case/controversy requirement, the principles of the Declaration of Independence established through the enabling acts and concertized in several state’s constitutions like California’s, and hundreds of cases defining the judicial power, clarifying that courts only adjudicate *justiciable* controversies, and plainly stating an injury requirement point to standing or the injury and causation requirement the foundation test and basis of all subject matter jurisdiction.

  79. @Anthony

    I do agree with you Anthony, you probably were not disturbing anyone’s peace by handing out tracts, no bull horns, no soap boxes, just handing out pamphlets, but even handing out these messages en masse can upset shoppers if they’re looking to simply shop and not be preached to. Shopkeepers have to deal with that and can have their livlihood’s effected if customers are deterred from shopping at those locations and instead go elsewhere. One or more store operators probably got into a conversation with a few people who received a tract and were annoyed by it and relayed this info to the store owner, who in turn relayed it to the police, urging them to ‘crackdown’ on this behavior in order for commerce to continue unabated.
    If you’re serious about handing out tracts in that area you could press your rights, and you would most likely win in a court case as freedom of speech is well protected in the US, but it may take a few years to fully resolve the case.

  80. @vintango2k

    “If you’re serious about handing out tracts in that area you could press your rights, and you would most likely win in a court case as freedom of speech is well protected in the US, but it may take a few years to fully resolve the case.”

    It has nothing to do with rights, at least for me.

    Maximum 440 days in most jurisdictions, actually. Then it must be dropped for failure to prosecute.

    Well before that, the case should be dropped for lack of jurisdiction or standing, assuming they follow their own rules of fairness and jurisprudence.

    If not, I would plan to sign a guilty plea as long as I can get a few questions answered, not before. If they won’t take my plea, then I can appeal on the grounds that they would not allow me to knowingly enter an informed plea.

    I wouldn’t do any of this to protect my rights. I don’t believe there are any rights for government to protect. I would do this to show that the courts are unfair and are only there for the PR.

    The government has no duty to protect anyone. It’s all pretend.

  81. @Steve or Richard

    Did anything happen on July 2 when the E-Team went to the Redondo Beach Pier?

    Please keep us updated.

  82. Pastor Steve. You did simply put, very well.

  83. Here’s the Redondo Beach law PERMITTING the distribution of tracts:

    http://www.qcode.us/codes/redondobeach/view.php?topic=4-1-1-4_1_102&frames=on

    4-1.102 EXEMPTIONS from provisions.
    (b) The distribution, peddling, or delivering of any handbill, circular, poster, dodger, pamphlet, leaflet, folder, tract …

    The officer CLAIMED that the pier is not a public area. I doubt that is true. But that could make all the difference.

  84. Ed handled the situation perfectly! When it comes to the distribution of tracts, a genuine as well as sincere kindness should always accompany the true Christian! Anything less spoils “our” testimony and brings shame to the name of Christ! Nice to know our team is back on the pier telling the good news of the savior!!

    “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man” (Colossians 4:6).

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.