Monday, June 16, 2008

Man fined for preaching near Liberty Bell

Judge finds street evangelist guilty of 'interfering'

Posted: June 15, 2008
8:53 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A man arrested for preaching on a public sidewalk too close to the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia has been declared guilty of violating federal law.

He was fined over $400, put on probation and told not to go in Independence National Historical Park – or on its surrounding sidewalks – for a year.

On Oct. 7, Michael A. Marcavage, director of the evangelistic organization Repent America, stood on the sidewalk outside the Liberty Bell Center, on the western edge of Independence Historical Park, preaching a message against abortion and declaring "we need to repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ" to a crowd waiting to enter the park.

"This is where we have been on a number of other occasions," Marcavage told WND. "This time we were ministering to people waiting in line to see the Liberty Bell, speaking on the message written on the Bell, which reads, 'Proclaim liberty throughout all the land.'"

Marcavage then was confronted by a National Park Service ranger, who demanded he move to a "free speech zone" some distance from the entrance, where he could continue preaching under the permission of a "verbal permit."

Marcavage refused to move and refused to accept a verbal permit, claiming the First Amendment protected his right to speak in public.

He then was arrested, taken away and charged with violating the terms of the permit that he had refused to accept. Video of Marcavage's arrest, posted on YouTube, can be viewed below.

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