Newsletter Archive: Persecution for Trying to Preach on a Public Campus – 7/08/2005

For many years, the newsletters for Open Air Outreach were only published through email. Those newsletters were not posted online. We are now in the process of archiving these old newsletters online so that they are available to the body of Christ at large to read and be encouraged and edified by them.

The contents from this post was an email newsletter sent out on 7/08/2005

This newsletter has no copy-right.
Feel free to share it by forwarding it on or by printing it off.
Praize Report
presented by: http://www.OpenAirOutreach.com
July 8th, 2005

18 MONTHS IN JAIL??

Court today wasn’t very smooth. I spoke with the prosecutor who said he wanted to go ahead and prosecute this case. He gave me three options:

1) 30 days in Jail starting today. When I’d be released it would be on my perminant record, but no probation. The problem with this is that having it on my record my give me trouble when leaving the country on a preaching trip.

2) 1 year probation, a $2,000 fine, roughly 100 hours community service, and monthly probation check ins, and then after a year it will be cleared from my record. The problem with this is that I don’t have the money, it’s hard to travel when on probation, and if I get in more trouble for preaching with the police it could be I violate my probation and will go to jail.

3) I could plead not guilty and go to trial. The problem with this is that on one of my encounters with a police on this public campus they said “We’re letting you go on a warning. Sign here. It’s an achknowledgement that we gave you a warning.” So I signed it and thought nothing of it. But seeing that paper again it court, it says that I understood that if I came back to the campus I’d be arrested for tresspass.

So those are the options I was faced with today in court. I has first told the prosecutor that I was pleading not guilty, then waited about 5 minutes and told them I wanted to change it. I almost signed the paper that said 30 days in jail, but then I realized it was wrong and had him correct it to the 1 year probation.

Then I went before the judge. I tried to explain to him that all I tried to do was go to a public area and use my free speach to preach the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore asked that he dismiss it, but he said if I wanted to debate it I would have to take it to trial. Then he asked  “How do you plead” I couldn’t say “Guilty” in order to recieve the probation. Though that would be the easier way out, and trial would be the harder way, I see the harder way as the honorable way. I thought about it and said “Your Honor, I’d be lying if I said ‘guilty’.” So he said “How do you plead?” and I felt my conscience forced me to say “not guilty your Honor”. I’d rather have my tongue cut out then to have it say “guilty” in order to get the easy way out. The only thing I’m guilty of is going to a public campus to use my right of freedom of speach.

A problem for them is that the administration already said it’s ok to talk to people on campus, and to give out bibles. They allow the Gideons to do that. But if I wanted to preach it would have to be off campus. So what the cops are saying and what the administration is saying is two different things!! And the campus cops had admitted “this is a public school”.

So I’m taking it to trial. The only problem is the paper I felt forced to sign which says if I returned I’d be arrested. If I didn’t sign that paper then, I would have been arrested then. My hope is that we can get that paper I signed thrown out and not recognized as a legal document because it’s unconstitutional. It’s like signing a paper that says if you go to a public park you’d be arrested for tresspass. You should never have to sign a paper like that, or be forced to jail.

I’m still trying to understand why am I in this situation. All I tried to do was go to a public area and use my freedom of speach rights. And I didn’t even get to preach! Why did I get a warning to stay away from a public area? Why was I forced to sign that paper or else I would have been arrested? Why am I now facing up to a year and a half in jail? This simply doesn’t add up legally though spiritually it is another story.

No matter if I am found guilty or not in the court of man, I know that I am justified in the court of God!

I feel the Lord is saying “Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” Mt 20:22

And I feel that I am saying “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.” Mt 26:39

For the Audience of One
Jesse Morrell
http://www.OpenAirOutreach.com – Taking the Gospel where it belongs

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