Bristol, Tennessee — December 17, 2018. In response to a demand by the Center for Religious Expression (CRE), the City of Bristol has agreed to cease banning pro-life speakers from using sign poles to ensure their messages of life can be seen.
April Rees wants to reach out to women considering an abortion and offer real alternatives for them. For the past year or so, she has participated as part of a sidewalk counselling ministry on the sidewalks bordering the Bristol Regional Women’s Center in Bristol, TN, sharing messages of hope and life. To capture attention and ensure her compassionate motives, April displays a sign saying “Jesus Loves You,” inviting women to have a friendly conversation about alternatives to abortion.
Recently, the abortion clinic began erecting a large pink sheet to block April’s sign from view of women in the clinic’s parking lot. So, on November 16, 2018, April attached her signs to a pole so she could lift it high enough to be seen. But, she was soon approached by Bristol police who said attaching her sign to a pole was unlawful, and ordered her to remove it. Fearing arrest, April complied, but her sign could no longer be seen, censoring her message.
CRE sent a letter to Bristol on April’s behalf, insisting they cease the ban on sign poles. And, today, CRE received a favorable response from Bristol ensuring that April will be free to resume using her sign pole without issue.
“We are encouraged by the City of Bristol’s quick correction of its error,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “Citizens have the right to make their messages seen, and lifting signs on a pole is a time-honored and constitutionally-protected way to do so.”
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.