Maine’s Attorney General Using Civil Rights Law to Silence Christians – Freedom Force
Maine is a beautiful place. It is a place of vast and wonderful wilderness and has twisting and turning coastline that if stretched out could touch both coasts. It is full of majestic mountain ranges and tranquil lakes and rivers. Mainers are wonderful people, who are difficult to get to know, yet friendly and helpful. Yet, Maine is the least evangelized state in the country. Evangelical churches are scarce. Many towns have no Bible believing fellowships, and most Mainers have never been confronted with the reality of sin or their guilt before a holy and wrathful God. It would be safe to say that very few Mainers have heard a sermon, and fewer have been called to repentance. So it should be no surprise that in such an environment, a street preacher would raise a fuss. But has Christianity become so offensive that it should be made a violation of civil rights to preach it in the street? Maine’s Attorney General thinks so.
In an unprecedented move against the free speech of Christians, Maine’s state attorney general has filed a civil rights lawsuit against a pastor over his pro-life preaching outside of a Planned Parenthood facility in Portland. Attorney General Janet Mills, a pro-abortion Democrat, is seeking to keep Lebanon pastor Brian Ingalls, 26, from standing within 50 feet of the Planned Parenthood facility—or any Planned Parenthood location in Maine. So, what Mills wants to do is to restrict public access to this citizen, even though Ingalls has not had any noted confrontation with anyone. He has not threatened any of the women entering Planned Parenthood. So, what this really comes down to is that this woman wants to silence the message. Mills alleges in her lawsuit that Ingalls spoke too loudly on Oct. 23 about “murdering babies, aborted babies’ blood and Jesus” while preaching outside of Planned Parenthood to the point that his pro-life pleas could be heard in the room where examinations take place.
She asserts that Ingalls didn’t lower his voice enough that particular day after being approached by police and contends that his passionate preaching “demonstrates his intent to interfere with the safe and effective delivery of health services at Planned Parenthood.” So, what if a man walked past a gynecologist office and was speaking loudly about how wrong it was for a doctor to examine a woman that was not his wife? Would this not be demonstrating his intent to interfere? Would Mills have brought suit against that man? Probably not. The point that we have to get to is that this is an issue of an opinion. I agree with Ingalls’ opinion. I believe that it is a fact. I believe that abortion is murder. I believe the doctor, nurses, mother and father are all guilty of murder. But that is not the question. The question is, does Ingalls have the right to share his opinion in a public place?
Well, according to the First Amendment, he does have that right. And this point has already been made in court.
The city of Portland recently lost a lawsuit that challenged their imposed 39-foot buffer zone, which essentially pushed pro-lifers to stand across the street from the facility, where they could not provide help to abortion-minded women. The city agreed to pay $56,500 in legal fees over the matter. Mills’ request to keep Ingalls 50 feet away from the facility would force him to stand at an even greater distance from the facility than the previous ordinance had required—which had to be repealed following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that found even a 35-foot buffer zone in Massachusetts to be unconstitutional. If a 35-foot barrier is too far, then surely a 50-foot barrier will be. But in the end, I think this kind of madness should have a cost. Ingalls, if successful should bring a suit against the Mills personally for persecution. Once it costs the unbeliever, maybe they will think twice about attacking believers.