San Antonio, Texas — August 5, 2020. The Center for Religious Expression (CRE) won a federal lawsuit today, securing the First Amendment right of Christian Jose Muniz to hand out literature about his faith on public sidewalks in San Antonio during popular events.
Ever since turning his life over to Jesus Christ 30 years ago, Muniz has been going out publicly to share his testimony of God’s love in action. On April 2, 2018, he went to downtown San Antonio to hand out gospel tracts to people heading to the Alamodome for the NCAA Final Four Men’s Basketball Championship.
He didn’t block the sidewalks, sell anything, or bother anyone.
Nevertheless, San Antonio police put a stop to his evangelism.
They issued him a criminal citation under an ordinance that banned handing things out in the downtown area (labelled a “Clean Zone”) during the Final Four event. The police warned Muniz that if he didn’t stop right away, he’d be arrested. Disheartened, Muniz left.
CRE filed suit, pointing out constitutional impropriety of banning gospel tracts as if he were peddling unsanctioned merchandise. And today, the Court agreed, declaring the ordinance unconstitutional, ordering the City to never enact it again, vindicating Muniz’s constitutional freedoms.
“We are overjoyed at the court’s recognition that San Antonio cannot play fast and loose with constitutional rights, using a commercial regulation to shut down noncommercial religious speech.” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Today, free speech is the champion in San Antonio.”
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. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.