Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I can't believe I'm about to defend this guy

A pastor has gotten himself arrested for protesting the mascot of the school's sports teams (the Demons, in case you were wondering). Now to me it sounds like a pretty darn silly thing to protest, but should it be illegal?

A minister who was arrested outside a Georgia high school for disorderly conduct says he was speaking out against the school's evil mascot.

Pastor Donald Crosby told CBS affiliate WMAZ he was "standing up for Jesus" when he was arrested Monday outside the Warner Robins school, and he'd do it again.

Now to be fair, there may be other aspects of the story that weren't reported. But they do report this:

"Officers found the group did not possess a picketing permit," the release says.

"On several occasions, offers asked Crosby to leave the premises. He refused to comply with officers and was arrested. The remaining people dispersed in an orderly fashion," police said.

Now I'm pretty sure that if he'd been harassing people that would have been mentioned in the story. But it seems the only thing they could get him on was the fact that he didn't have a licence to picket. You need a licence to do that in Georgia? What's next -- will you need to get a blogging licence? This goes well beyond the ravings of an overzealous backwoods preacher; it is a matter of putting a serious chill on free speech, and should not be allowed to stand. And if he gets good legal representation, it probably won't; it sounds as unconstitutional as hell.

Edited to add: There's more on the case here. Apparently it's the city of Warner Robins that requires a picketing permit, not the state. And that article also has a photo, which raises yet another question -- would they have bothered him if he were white?

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