Court Declares Door-to-Door Witnessing Protected

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled 8-1 that local governments cannot require a permit to do door-to-door witnessing or political campaigning.

Jehovah's Witnesses asked for a ruling against a Stratton, Ohio statute. The Stratton village board had claimed they were trying to protect elderly residents from harassment by door-to-door solicitors and con artists.

"It is offensive - not only to the values protected by the First Amendment, but to the very notion of a free society - that in the context of everyday public discourse a citizen must first inform the government of her desire to speak to her neighbors and then obtain a permit to do so," wrote Justice John Paul Stevens.

Richard Land of the Southern Baptist's Religious Liberty Commission was pleased with the ruling: "It should not be up to the government to decide whether or not a group will have the right to propagate its faith to the people of the community."

We should be continually grateful to America's founding fathers who framed the constitution. They saw that there were basic rights that had to be protected for truth to prevail. Those rights could not be taken away even if they also permitted some people with evil intentions to use them.

Christians in much of the world are forbidden from taking the gospel door-to-door. In some places, they risk their lives to do so. As soul winners, we must not neglect the opportunities provided by these freedoms.

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