Religious Expression Banned on Bourbon Street?

Monday, October 1, 2012

By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News

NEW ORLEANS, USA (Worthy News)-- Last year, New Orleans’ Mayor Mitch Landrieu approved a ban prohibiting loitering on Bourbon Street "for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise."

The ban -- which is backed by both fine and up to six months imprisonment -- takes effect in a city built on license where women can legally bear their breasts for beads just as long as they don't discuss the religious implications of "Fat Tuesday".

Louisiana police have already warned an Assembly of God pastor that he may no longer share his religious views on Bourbon Street after preaching there for the past 30 years, according to Charisma News.

“Religious speech is just as important and just as protected by the First Amendment as speech about any other subject at any time of day," said Joseph La Rue, Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel. "New Orleans cannot make criminals of people simply because they want to talk about their faith."

“City Officials in New Orleans have chosen to criminalize speech about faith while allowing just about every other conceivable topic to be discussed and exposed. It’s not up to the government to decide the topics we can and cannot discuss. The First Amendment protects an individual’s freedom of speech. This law should be declared unconstitutional.”

Coincidentally, the ban comes on the heels of President Obama's recent UN address that threatened to curtail speech denigrating religion, notably Islam, despite the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.