Street preaching: Legal

A federal court in Chicago has upheld the right of Wheaton College students to harangue passersby at Millennium Park.

Wheaton College students will continue to preach in and around Millennium Park in Chicago, IL, after a federal judge ruled in their favor on Thursday.

As CBN News reported four Christian students sued the city last September after park security prohibited them from preaching in the park and on its nearby sidewalks. The students said the restrictions “severely hinder First Amendment rights for all within a public forum.”

On Thursday, US District Judge Robert Blakey granted a preliminary injunction allowing anyone to preach and pass out religious literature in the park.

Well … sure. If musicians have the right to pull out a guitar and start singing, and sundry political organizers have the right to stand on a soapbox and agitate for this or that reform, then preachers also have the right to speak.

Few of us are particularly surprised or annoyed by music and singers — even bad musicians and singers — and few of us get too bothered by activists of one sort of another; it’s just a part of the noisy urban show. What is it that is so uniquely irritating about street preachers, anyway? I’m only thinking aloud, but it probably is that there is so often a whiff of zealotry or even madness about them. I’ll stop for a bit to listen to a singer or activist, but will go out of my way to avoid a preacher.

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