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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Tennessee Grandfather Banned from Reading Bible on Public Sidewalk

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2017 Nov 15
  • Comments

A man in Tennessee who was stopped from reading his Bible on a public sidewalk due to a city ordinance is arguing that the ordinance violates his religious freedom rights.

CBN News reports that Paul Johnson is being supported in his argument by First Liberty Institute and the Center for Religious Expression, who sent a letter to Sweetwater, Tennessee city officials on Johnson’s behalf.

Johnson himself expressed his thoughts on the situation: "I was shocked that a city had a law banning anyone from reading the Bible on a public sidewalk without the city's permission. All I want to do is tell people about the love of Jesus by reading my Bible, but I was worried I might be arrested if I tried."

The letter sent to city officials requests that the ordinance be repealed because it is “overbroad and unconstitutional,” as well as “outdated.”

"Because he can't go into the mission field and go to all the world to preach the Gospel, he does that anywhere nearby that he can," said Chelsey Youman, counsel for First Liberty, in an interview with CBN News.

The letter also notifies city officials that Johnson attempted to get a permit to preach and read the Bible in public, but that he was arbitrarily denied.

The letter concludes by demanding that Johnson be allowed "to peacefully share his religious beliefs at future events without imposing the unconstitutional permit requirement for 'demonstrations' on him."


Photo courtesy: Unsplash/Aaron Burdan

Publication date: November 14, 2017