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« on: December 27, 2004, 03:59:13 PM »

Sacramento Police Promise to Allow Christians Access to Capitol Sidewalks

by Allie Martin
December 27, 2004

(AgapePress) - Police officials in California's capital city have stated they will no longer prohibit Christians from handing out literature on public sidewalks.

For the past year and a half, a small group of Christians has distributed religious literature on sidewalks near the State Capitol building in downtown Sacramento every Saturday night. But on several recent occasions, city patrolmen informed members of the group they were in violation of a local anti-canvassing ordinance and had to leave the area. The Christian group complied, but felt they were within their rights of free speech and religious expressions -- and consequently sought legal advice from the locally based Pacific Justice Institute.

Brad Dacus
PJI contacted the city attorney and, in a letter, explained its clients' actions and application of the law. Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute, explains the city's response.

"The good news is that the official representing these patrolmen quickly contacted us and told us that not only would they cease from doing that and intimidating this particular group of Christians, but they would also make it clear to all their patrolmen that these activities are constitutional," Dacus says. The quick response, he says, is "commendable and greatly appreciated."

According to the attorney, such misunderstandings are common. "The sad truth is that many in our society today are very hostile towards people sharing the gospel [and] sharing the good news of Jesus Christ," Dacus says. "They often have a misguided attitude and belief that they are entitled somehow to silence and censor those who are proclaiming such issues of faith that they find offensive."

But Dacus says there is no reason why Christians should give up a "prime venue" -- public sidewalks -- for sharing their faith. A public sidewalk, he says, is a recognized forum for handing out literature.


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