Tomorrow, July 12, the four missionaries arrested in Dearborn for having a conversation on a public street with people who approached them to discuss Christianity will be arraigned for breach of the peace. Tonight, according to ABC News, they are going back to the scene of their arrest, where there presently is no Arab festival going on, and have invited those who want to discuss Christianity to meet them there. I hope they won't get either beaten up or arrested. I also hope they have streamed video that can't be confiscated by the police, as their other video has been.
I encourage readers to watch the ABC segment here.
--The reporter says that the mayor said that there was at the festival a "free speech zone" but that the missionaries weren't in it! What??? Just because an "Arab festival" is going on does not mean that conversations about Christianity can be confined to a "free speech zone." There's a "free speech zone." It's called the United States of America. This, and the reporter's mention of it as though such a thing is unremarkable, is terrifying. Oh, by the way: I'm indebted to a commentator for this link to a U.S. Supreme Court opinion in the Heffron case that said that on fairgrounds (which the Arab Festival wasn't, but waive that) people can be restricted to passing out literature at booths. Liberals have been trotting this SCOTUS opinion out ever since the arrests, sometimes ignoring the fact that these missionaries weren't passing literature when the arrest took place. But beyond that, guess what? This same opinion expressly protects the right to "mingle with the crowd" and "orally propagate their views"! See for yourself. It's in paragraph 655.
--The mayor, at 35 seconds into the ABC segment, characterizes the motives of the Christians as stirring "emotions against Muslims." How he divines this is something of a mystery. But what's especially striking is that then, at 2 minutes into the segment, he claims that such a motive "violates the spirit of the Constitution." Think about that for just a moment. In other words, if your motives in doing something are ostensibly anti-Muslim, even if what you are actually doing is otherwise perfectly legal, you are somehow violating the "spirit" of the Constitution (perhaps he should have started talking about "penumbras"). I assume this means you can be arrested. Next stop: Arresting people for eating pork in "Muslim areas," walking dogs--you know, anything that is done with an anti-Muslim motive.
--The mayor is so clueless that he thinks all four missionaries were cited for refusing to obey an officer's order. This isn't true. Only the young lady, Nageen, was so cited, apparently because she didn't immediately and tamely give up her video camera. The mayor then spins out this confused claim that they were all cited for refusal to obey an officer's orders into a completely made-up claim (which the missionaries say the confiscated video would refute) that the police told them to "break it up" and that they refused. I don't know where the mayor is getting this. Maybe he just makes it up out of his head. He seems like that kind of "make it up as you go along even if you have no idea what you are talking about" guy. Maybe the police told him that. It will be interesting to see what happens in court, seeing as videotape that the missionaries claim is exculpatory continues to be MIA.
--The reporter says that the missionaries were involved in a "disturbance" at last year's festival. Don't you love that way of describing it, without any clarification? As though maybe the missionaries were rioting or something. Here's that "disturbance" that they were "involved in."
Bonus: I was going to blog this separately but didn't get to do so before the ABC report came up. See the video here to learn of the unnerving harassment Nageen was given by the male Dearborn police after she was arrested. Nothing actually violent, but some words (and a demand to take off an overshirt in front of them) clearly intended to frighten her as a powerless female at the police station. You have to watch most of the video to get to that part of what David Wood is saying.