Much to the barely concealed chagrin of the Detroit Free Press, the Christian evangelists who were arrested for distributing St. John’s gospel on a public street outside an Arab festival in Dearborn, Michigan, a few months back have been found not guilty of breaching the peace. One of the four defendants was apparently found guilty of the less serious offense of failing to obey a police officer’s order.
The Freep’s story, of course, trashes the evangelists as anti-Muslim bigots but has little to say about what the case was actually about, namely, the enforcement in the U.S. of a sharia law restriction against preaching religions other than Islam. That caused the alleged concern that the evangelists’s conduct might incite violence. It’s an outrage that the case was ever brought to court. As I noted in a recent column, the Supreme Court has expressly rejected the potential that listeners could become agitated as a legitimate basis for suppressing speech.
For a more enlightening account of what happened, see this post from Powerline’s John Hinderaker — complete with video of the purported “incitement.”