Christians Face 47 Years in Prison

For Reading Bible, Praying On Street

December 17th, 2004


       Tupelo, MS - After a federal appeals court denied an emergency appeal to stop prosecution of 11 Christians on Tuesday, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan ordered four of the Christians to stand trial on three felony (criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot) and five misdemeanor charges. If convicted, they could face up to 47 years in prison.

The Christians were arrested on October 10 for praying, singing, and reading scripture during an annual “gay pride” event known as “Outfest” in Philadelphia.

Since the federal courts did not intervene to halt the state prosecution, the last route for the Christians would be an appeal to the Supreme Court says the Christians’ attorney Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

“First, symbols of Christianity are removed from the public square, now, Christians are facing years in prison because they preached the gospel in the public square. Stalin would be proud,” Fahling said.

The federal appeals court in Philadelphia denied emergency relief despite video footage Fahling calls “undisputed evidence” that shows the Christians cooperating with police and continually being harassed by the Pink Angels, a group of homosexuals organized to impede the gospel message. Philadelphia city prosecutor in the case, Charles Ehrlich, attacked the Christians as “hateful” and referred to preaching the Bible as “fighting words,” the judge agreed. 

Charges were dropped against the remaining seven apparently because they were not seen quoting scripture on the videotape.

The Philadelphia case represents another example of discrimination toward Christians,” said Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association national headquarters. “The past month has poured forth cases of Christian persecution seen in the higher education institution, public school systems, and the judicial court system.”

Judge rules against Christians who preached to homosexuals