ANN ARBOR, MI – It was a free speech victory for Pastor Terry Jones as he addressed a crowd of supporters this past Saturday, April 7th. Pastor Jones and his associate pastor, Wayne Sapp spoke out against the evils of Sharia law in front of the largest mosque in North America.
A group of counter-protestors chanted obscenities and chased Jones’s supporters who were awaiting his arrival at the mosque. His supporters displayed signs in English and Arabic, which read, “I will not submit”. [Click here to see news video]
In February 2012, Pastor Jones’s organization filed a Special Events Application Permit as required by Dearborn. According to the application, he wanted to expose Sharia to a small gathering expected at 20-25 people. He indicated that he picked Easter Saturday to symbolize the persecution of Christians. [Click here for Special Events Application]
This time the City of Dearborn used a new tactic to stop his speech, a ‘Hold Harmless’ agreement. It didn’t work. The Thomas More Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on Monday April 2nd, claiming that the wording of the agreement placed an unconstitutional restriction on Pastor Jones’s First Amendment rights.
TMLC attorney Erin Mersino wrote in the lawsuit. "Plaintiffs should not be forced to sign a one-sided, unconscionable contract subject only to the unbridled discretion of the city's legal department in order to exercise their constitutional rights," She continued, "the city's free speech restriction imposes an unconstitutional burden on plaintiffs' constitutional rights."
On Thursday, April 5th, Federal District Court Judge Denise Page Hood granted the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order. She enjoined Dearborn from requiring Pastor Jones to sign a ‘Hold Harmless’ agreement before approving his permit to speak on public property. [Click here for Order]
The area surrounding the mosque and the counter-protestors was heavily guarded by police from several jurisdictions, including Dearborn, Detroit, and the Michigan State Police. The event also received local and national TV, radio and print media coverage.
Pastors Jones and Sapp offered prayers to open and close their event. They spoke of preserving the First Amendment and the United States Constitution and evangelizing American Muslims.
Stand Up America Now was established to proclaim the Holy Bible to Muslims and educate Americans about the threat of Sharia law to our Nation’s fundamental principles of freedom.