End Run at Bull Run (Park)
November 13, 2012
Manassas, Va. — The Center for Religious Expression sent letter today to officials with Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority and Fairfax County seeking relief from a speech ban imposed on [Remain unidentified for safety concerns], Pastor with Jerusalem Baptist Church in Fairfax Station, Virginia, who was prevented from handing out water bottles and DVDs in Bull Run Park in Manassas on August 26, 2012, during the Pakistan Festival.
Though Bull Run Park is a publically-owned park, and the 2012 Pakistan Festival was free and open to the public, [Remain unidentified for safety concerns], - an Arab-American who ministers to fellow Arabs - was forced to leave the area under the threat of arrest because Fairfax County police officers and park officials consider the property “private” during the festival. CRE wrote the letter to assure recognition of [Remain unidentified for safety concerns], free speech rights during the next Pakistan Festival in August of 2013.
“All citizens enjoy the fundamental right to share their views in public places. These same rights extend to [Remain unidentified for safety concerns], and his Christian speech,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum.
Kellum emphasized the benign nature of [Remain unidentified for safety concerns]intended speech. “[Remain unidentified for safety concerns], only sought to engage in friendly discussion, while handing out free water and DVDs on a hot day. His opinion cannot be banished just because someone happens to disagree with it.”
Kellum also disputed the suggestion that the park was private. “As long as the area remains free and open to the general public, the park is public, not private.”
CRE’s letter demands a written response within three weeks.
Center for Religious Expression is a 501(c)(3) non-profit legal ministry dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people.