Federal Judge Orders City to Allow Speech in Front of Mosque On Saturday
ANN ARBOR, MI – Late this morning, Detroit Federal District Judge, Denise Page Hood, granted the Thomas More Law Center’s motion for an Emergency Temporary Restraining Order and enjoined the City of Dearborn from requiring Pastor Jones to sign a Hold Harmless’agreement before approving his application to speak in front of a mosque on Saturday, April 7th. [Click here for Motion]
Referring to a provision in the Hold Harmless Agreement which the City demanded that Jones’s organization sign before he would be allowed to speak, Judge Hood stated,
“This is is clearly an unconstitutional clause which impedes Plaintiffs’ First Amendment right to free speech and assembly.”
[Click here for Order granting motion]
Judge Hood’s order went on to state:
“The ordinance requiring the indemnity agreement and the “Hold Harmless” presented to Plaintiffs are unconditional and violate the First Amendment to the United States Constitution as to Plaintiff and others who wish to exercise their rights to speak and assemble in the public fora.”
As late as last Friday afternoon, March 30th, the City was insisting that Jones’s organization, Stand Up for America Now, sign the Hold Harmless agreement before he would be allowed to speak. The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor Michigan filed its federal lawsuit on Monday, April 2nd; the Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order was filed on Wednesday, April 4th when a satisfactory resolution could not be reached with city attorneys.
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Law Center commented,
“Dearborn has a history of discriminating against Christians who want to speak out against the internal threat of Sharia law and Islam. And every time the City attempts to curtail the Constitutional rights of Christians, we will confront them in a court of law. There is no doubt in my mind that the City knew the Hold Harmless agreement they were trying to get Jones’s organization to sign was unconstitutional.”
Ironically, minutes before Judge Hood’s order was received, the City approved the application without the need of the Hold Harmless Agreement. However, the City’s insistence that the entire case be dismissed was rejected by the Law Center. The reason: the “Indemnification agreement (Hold Harmless) ordinance and the unfettered discretion given the legal department were still in place. Consequently, the City could again violate the constitutional rights of Pastor Jones and others who may want to exercise their free speech rights in the future.
With this order, Pastor Jones and his associate Wayne Sapp have been given a green light to proceed with their speech in front of the Islamic Center of America (the largest mosque in North America) in Dearborn, Michigan.
Stand Up America Now is established for the purpose of proclaiming the Holy Bible to Muslims and educating people about the threat of Sharia Law for our Nation’s fundamental principles of freedom. As part of its outreach efforts, Stand Up America Now travels around the country speaking about Christianity at Muslim events and mosques.