Free Speech Restored
September 07, 2016
Foley, Alabama — September 7, 2016. Today, the federal District Court for the Southern District of Alabama entered an order and judgment against the City of Foley, ensuring that they will no longer ban Pastor Raymond Williamson from evangelizing on City sidewalks.
Pastor Williamson and some fellow believers from his church shared their faith once a month on public sidewalks near a well-travelled intersection in the heart of Foley, Alabama. Though the group caused no problems over the years, the City amended its parade ordinance in 2014 to require a permit to speak anywhere where there would be more than 20 people. In August 2014, the City issued Williamson a criminal citation and fine, advising him that he would never be permitted to evangelize there no matter how many people showed up.
CRE filed a lawsuit and a Motion for Preliminary Injunction on Williamson’s behalf. The District Court granted the motion, allowing Williamson to return to Foley without fear of punishment while the case progressed. CRE pressed forward, and the City of Foley eventually repealed the ordinance and agreed to concede the case.
“Yet again, the First Amendment has prevailed,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Public evangelism is a God-given right. Pastor Williamson doesn’t need permission from the government to do it.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people.