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Battle Cry
"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Gal. 4:16

Christian T-Shirts Work Where Tracts Restricted

Issue Date: July/August 1998

Soul winners who have been restricted in passing out tracts on private property such as shopping malls are turning to "T-Shirt Evangelism."

Christian Law Association's newsletter, The Legal Alert, reports that a couple in Virginia were recently ejected from a strip mall for wearing a T-shirt promoting the Biblical stand against homosexuality. Besides being forced to leave, they were arrested for trespassing. Christian Law Association attorneys drafted a motion to dismiss, arguing that the couple had a constitutional right to wear the shirts as a peaceful expression of opinion in a public place. The prosecutor decided that the charges would not stand up in a court and dropped them.

On another front, Christian Law Association deals with a steady stream of cases in the public schools where students are restricted in bringing the gospel into the school yard or classroom. Christian Law Association has successfully argued that if a school allows T-shirts with any kind of messages it can not discriminate against shirts with religious themes. Although schools cannot officially promote religion, teachers often make the mistake of thinking that this also means students do not have free speech rights.

In one incident, the students were assigned to write a report on an activity which they were particularly good at and make an oral presentation on the subject. Some chose sports, or a hobby. One bold youngster decided that one thing he could do well was share the gospel with others.

He was told he could not demonstrate that skill because it could be offensive to other classmates. Christian Law Association sent a legal opinion written to the school reminding that a student's free speech rights do not stop at the school yard gate. When this was clarified for the school officials they allowed the youngster to go ahead.

Many school officials need a little help understanding that allowing religious discussions and witnessing between students is not the same as the school itself officially presenting a religious perspective or doctrine. Soul winners must know their constitutional rights and stand firm on them when necessary.

Organizations such as Christian Law Association can be a great help when it becomes necessary. They can be reached at P.O. Box 4010, Seminole, FL 33775 or (813) 399-8300.

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