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of 'abuse of power'
Posted By -NO AUTHOR- On 01/04/2005 @ 1:00 am In Front Page | Comments Disabled
The attorney for the Christians known as “the Philadelphia 4″ who were arrested for protesting at a homosexual event last year defended his clients on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, saying city officials are guilty of “abuse of power.”
Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney at the American Family Association’s Center for Law & Policy, appeared on the program to talk about the case. Also appearing was Charles Volz, a legal adviser to the homosexual “OutFest” event.
As WorldNetDaily reported, on Oct. 10, the group was “preaching God’s Word” to a crowd of people attending the Philadelphia event and displaying banners with biblical messages.
After a confrontation with a group called the Pink Angels, described by protesters as “a militant mob of homosexuals,” the 11 Christians were arrested and spent a night in jail.
Eight charges were filed: criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways.
None of the Pink Angels was cited or arrested.
After a preliminary hearing in December, Judge William Austin Meehan ordered four of the Christians to stand trial on the three felony and five misdemeanor charges. If convicted, they could get a maximum of 47 years in prison.
“My clients were peacefully evangelizing,” Fahling told O’Reilly, referring viewers to the online video of the protesters.
Saying the protesters used “gentle voices,” Fahling said, “What they were doing is what every evangelist does, and that’s bring the message of the gospel of Jesus to those who don’t know Christ. There’s no crime in that.”
Continued Fahling: “The real issue is the profound abuse of power that took place in Philadelphia. … I have not seen an abuse of power like this in this country ever.”
Volz claimed the protesters refused to abide by the rules set out by the Philadelphia police, so they were arrested.
“Forty-seven years in jail for preaching the gospel?” Fahling asked rhetorically. “This is an historic case. … Now when you speak in the public square, at least in Philadelphia, you will be sent to prison if they have anything to say about it. That’s frightening, that’s chilling, and every American ought to be … outraged that this is happening in America.”
Volz said he didn’t think any of the protesters ultimately would go to jail.
“They might get six to 12 months probation,” Volz said. “Nobody’s going to jail for 47 years.”
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