Christian Group Ordered to Stop Praying on a Washington, D.C. Public Sidewalk by Federal Law Enforcement Officials

March 30, 2007

WASHINGTON, Mar. 29 /Christian Newswire/ — The Christian Defense Coalition was sponsoring a public celebration of The Stations of the Cross when they were ordered to leave a public sidewalk in front of the Library of Congress while they were kneeling in prayer.

The group had been granted a permit by the United States Capitol Police and they were not blocking pedestrian traffic on the public sidewalk.

The Coalition calls the incident a trampling of the First Amendment and a gross violation of protecting religious expression in the public square.

Coalition Director, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, wonders why anti-war protesters were allowed to spray paint the United States Capitol Building with no consequences, while peaceful Christians were ordered to leave a public sidewalk for praying.

The Christian Defense Coalition is now in discussion with lawyers at the American Center for Law and Justice to consider all their legal options and ensure religious freedom is protected in the nation’s capital.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, comments, “One of the cornerstones of our democracy is the right of every America to peacefully express their views in the public square free from government interference and harassment. All citizens, regardless of their faith traditions, should be able to publicly express them with the full assurance that their beliefs will not be trampled or crushed by public officials or law enforcement. Sadly, that was not the case yesterday in Washington, D.C.

“It is extremely troubling when American citizens are told by federal law enforcement officials that they are not allowed to pray on a public sidewalk and they must ‘move along’ or face the consequences. The Christian Defense Coalition is in the process of considering all our legal options and will continue to work diligently to ensure that the First Amendment and free speech rights are protected in the public square.”

See a news article and photos from the event



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