Could it really happen in America? Could three citizens be arrested on the public sidewalk for reading a Bible, having a camera and holding a "Celebrate Life" sign? I want to believe that this would not and could not happen in the country I love so dearly, but yesterday it did.
The city of Winter Park Florida thought that these three American citizens, were dangerous enough that they called in the city Swat team to body search, hand cuff and arrest fellow prolifers and friends Jay Rogers, Professor Pat McEwen, and Cheryl Bishoff. They were then taken to the Orange County Jail for booking.
So why did this city find it necessary to go to such measures to arrest three Christians on a public sidewalk? Let's go back to last August when a group of peaceful Christians took to the streets and held a public witness in the neighborhood and residence of the newly promoted CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, Jenna Tosh. On a sidenote , this particular center performs on an average of over 100 abortions per week!
Almost immediately city commissioners of Winter Park went to the aide of Jenna Tosh and passed a 60-day emergency ban on residential picketing aimed at a specific home. Later, commissioners approved in a 4-1 vote an ordinance that would make the ban permanent, not without the packed house of concerned citizens expressing their utter dismay and opposition to this ban that prohibits free speech. Mayor Ken Bradley was the only dissenting vote, expressing his opposition to the ban siting it unconstitutional.
Since then, warriors for the lives of unborn human beings have gone back to publicly witness and share the truth of abortion in the neighborhood with police coming, telling the Christians they must leave, but never with the threat of arrest. The police on both occasions seemed to be confused as to what the ordinance really enacted.
This is only the beginning, but I believe with all my heart that this is what Jesus meant when He said to be the salt and light of the earth. Please pray with us down here in Central Florida that God will use these unjust arrests to bring God glory and to challenge this ordinance that bans American citizens from their first amendment rights of free speech!