freedom under threat in us

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    An attorney with a pro-family ministry says a judge's decision on Tuesday, ordering four Christians in Philadelphia to stand trial for witnessing at a homose*ual pride event, is comparable to the atmosphere of the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s. In October, 11, Christians were arrested as they were praying and reading scripture during the annual "gay pride" event known as "Outfest" in Philadelphia. Those in the group were charged with three felonies (criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot) and five misdemeanors. On Tuesday, charges were dropped against seven of the individuals; but Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan ordered the other four to stand trial on the charges. They were also banned from doing any type of evangelism within 100 yards of any "gay and lesbian event." Brian Fahling is the senior trial attorney for the American Family Association (AFA) Center for Law & Policy, which represented the group in the Philadelphia court. Fahling says the Christian activists are being persecuted simply for exercising their constitutional rights. An emergency appeal may be the next step because the four, if convicted, could face up to 47 years in prison. The attorney says the charges were dropped against the remaining seven because they were not seen quoting scripture on the videotape. Fahling says in Philadelphia, it appears the public reading of scripture will land a person in jail.
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