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 8600, Mason, OH 45040
or (888) 252-1969.