The Cross Is A Dangerous WeaponSwords at a North Carolina festival are okay, it’s the Cross that is dangerous and against the law…
By de Andréa
September 16, 2013
Regardless of whether or not you are for displaying symbols when it comes to representing the Christian Faith, one should understand the intended representation here.
Apparently there are some North Carolina police officers that believe a Christian who openly carries a cross out in public, is according to law, wielding a "dangerous weapon!" Well…spiritually and historically speaking, they may be correct… Check out the video here.
A Christian evangelist witnessing at a public festival in North Carolina this past weekend was forced to put away a wooden cross that he was holding, as police asserted that it could be considered a "dangerous weapon." Well a ball bat could be considered a dangerous weapon at a public park but like the cross, I don’t think that it is the intended use. Moreover I would like to see the list of dangerous weapons to see if crosses are on the list.
Brothers Jesse and Matthew Boyd, along with friend Kent Blalock, attended the 32nd annual Historic Morganton Festival on Saturday to open-air preach, distribute Gospel literature and hold Scripture-based signs as a witness to attendees. Matthew carried a small 3-pound wooden cross that bears the question "Are You Ready?" and folds away when not in use.
The men state that even before they attended the event, they became aware that there could be problems in light of the festival rules, which barred free speech activity on the streets. In turn, Jesse contacted City Attorney Louis Vinay expressing his concern, the City Attorney sent him a compilation of relevant case law that protected free speech activity at public events.
Most notably, the festival rules illegally required the evangelists–and anyone else who wished to engage in free speech–to stand in a "free speech zone,"
Official "Free Speech Zone" set up by event organizers 20 yards outside the festivities.
According to the Boyds and Mr. Blalock, the festival organizer said it was against the law for Christians to hold signs and distribute tracts within the festival. There was a "free speech zone" established for the festival for such activities. Seriously…, since when does there have to be a "free speech zone" established on public property? Is this anything like a GUN FREE ZONE where no guns are allowed? Remember this is taking place on a public street, paid for with the Boyds and Blalock’s own tax dollars. They have every right to be there and to do what they were doing.
"It was just very politely stated to her that we were not going to stop, and that their rules or so-called laws did not supersede our rights as American citizens under the U.S. Constitution," Matthew explained. "We're on a public street; you can't just make [your own] rules."
Well the organizer just wasn’t going to have any of this blatant exercise of freedom at her’ festival so she brought back a man that identified himself as the chief of police.
"The chief then focused in on the cross, saying that it was a violation of the [city's] sign ordinance, and we just kind of went back and forth, … [explaining that] the language of the ordinance did not apply here," Matthew recalled, as Jesse noted that the law pertained to poles and other objects used to hoist signs that could be sharp or injurious.
Matthew then said "He kept referring to [the cross] as a dangerous weapon or a possible dangerous weapon."
He then agreed with the officer that not only was the cross, spiritually speaking, a deadly historical weapon in terms of dealing with sin and the devil, but he then appealed to reason. "I said to the chief, 'Sir, you know we're out here peacefully. Our entire approach is peaceful, and just because something could be used as a deadly weapon doesn't mean it is,'" Jesse explained. "I said, 'That the walkie-talkie attached to your shirt could be a deadly weapon if you swung it and hit somebody in the head with it.'"
Festival-goers hold wooden swords sold by an event vendor.
It is obvious that this is just another case of harassment of Christians, targeting the brothers with the cross. Other attendees who were carrying 4 foot wooden samurai swords and other objects that could be used as weapons were not harassed. "We train with these at my Aikido club, and they are deadly weapons," Jesse noted. "There were people with light sabers and plastic swords and all kinds of things that could have been a dangerous weapon, and yet the police chose to zero in on our 'Are You Ready' cross."
Oh that’s not all, the organizer then told them they would have to stop passing out tracts as well and holding their signs or leave the event all together. So you see, this wasn’t about crosses or dangerous weapons, it was about those nasty Christians. As police conferenced with each other for a half hour or so, they returned and told the evangelists that the cross had to go and warned them it was their last chance.
Their decision was to put the cross away, but then continued their other endeavors.
THE BOTTOM LINE: It is obvious that the police were picking and choosing in threatening the men with arrest over a cross while others were walking around with wooden samurai swords. The cross was no more a dangerous weapon than the man holding it was. Anyone seeing the pictures above should be able to agree with that.
Mr. Vinay said that the town of Morgan has lots of churches and is a very "Christian" city, which I have no doubt is the case. He also said the cross was somehow "collapsible," meaning that it could be folded up and made much smaller to carry.
No one was threatened and no one was hurt by the cross or the samurai swords. It appears that the event organizer, Sharon Jablonski just had a problem with Christians being on the scene, because she wanted them to just go away; free speech, cross and all. Sharon Jablonski obviously believes that only her speech is free and protected under the first Amendment. This is the Ideology of Muslims Nazis and Communists, not Americans.
UPDATE:Police Chief Mark Tolbert cited the particular ordinance that he believes the men were in violation of. According to Tolbert, Section 6-2046, Item C-3 of Morganton's ordinances reads:
"To Carry or possess any banner, poster, sign or other similar device which is made from or has a component made from a club, police baton, night stick, sharp object, dangerous weapon or other material that could be used as a dangerous weapon. Any length of metal, lumber, wood or similar materials for the purpose of displaying a sign, poster, plaque or notice shall be construed to be a dangerous weapon, unless such weapon is made of material that is no larger than 3/8” x 2 inches or made of PVC pipe or similar light plastic material."
It sounds to me that this law paints with a broad brush as to what a "dangerous weapon" is, according to this ordinance. if you wear a cross that is made of any of the above material and is longer than 2 inches and thicker than 3/8 inches with a message on it, you are in violation of the ordinance. Some may say that is silly, but let me point out how it is the law. In addition, it would be much easier to conceal a 2 inch weapon than a five foot cross. Personally, it sounds like the ordinance should be completely rewritten so that it at least doesn’t violate the U.S. Constitution and create a Police State. If you wish to contact the event organizer, here is the website and contact information:
If you wish to contact the event organizer, here is the contact information:
Historic Morganton Festival, Inc.
P.O. Box 1472
Morganton, North Carolina 28680
P.O. Box 1472
Morganton, North Carolina 28680
Phone: (828) 438-5252
Fax: (828) 432-2518
Fax: (828) 432-2518
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Thanks for listening – de Andréa
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