Two street preachers who were jailed for walking across the street at a 2012 Fort Worth, Texas “Gay Pride” parade, are seeking to have their convictions overturned by the United States Supreme Court.
Joey Faust, current pastor of Missouri based Long Run Baptist Church, and at the time the pastor of Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas, and Ramon Marroquin, who was then a member of Kingdom Baptist Church, were arrested and jailed for simply crossing a street that everyone else was allowed to cross – whether sodomite or Christian. Police had formed a skirmish line to stop them from crossing this street, which was preventing them from preaching at the main celebration event at the end of the parade.
Their initial conviction was overturned by the Second District of Texas Court of Appeals in a well thought out opinion. But the state petitioned the Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas , which reinstated the convictions. A motion for a rehearing was made by the appellants, but was turned down after an apparent internal struggle within the court, as the court’s response took two months instead of the typical two weeks. There was even a notation that the presiding judge would have granted the rehearing.
The street preachers now intend to take their fight for religious liberty and free speech to the United States Supreme Court, if the necessary funds can be raised.
Their attorney, Shelby Sharpe, is primarily known for winning the landmark homeschooling case in Texas (https://www.thsc.org/homeschooling-in-texas/the-history-of-home-education-in-texas/meet-shelby-sharpe/). He is representing the preachers free of charge.
The Rutherford Institute has also helped in this case, and is currently providing media exposure for this cause.
Taking a case to the Supreme Court is quite expensive, even with free legal help. The filing and printing fees are roughly $3100. Any donations to help with this cause are greatly appreciated.
Donations can be made through PayPal at this account:
Funds can also be made payable to “Sharpe & Rector” and sent to the following address:
J. Shelby Sharpe
Law Offices of Sharpe & Rector
6100 Western Place, Suite 1000
Fort Worth, Texas 76107
Below is a more detailed look at the events surrounding this court case from a previously published Trumpet Online article when the appeals court had overturned the conviction.
Fort Worth police tried to restrict the movement of people based simply on their church membership.
“Pride goeth before destruction” – Many pictures of this event are so lewd they could not be published.
(Fort Worth, TX) – The Trumpet Online
Two street preachers were vindicated by a Texas Court of Appeals when their convictions for “interfering with public duties” for attempting to preach the truth at a “gay” pride parade were overturned.
The men, Joey Faust and Ramon Marroquin, were members of Kingdom Baptist Church in Mansfield, TX, and had been preaching during the parade without incident along with other church members. As the parade finished, the church members as well as other members of the public began walking alongside the parade route toward a park area where the “gay celebration” was to continue.
After walking about a block, the preachers were confronted by a skirmish line of police officers from a special Zero Tolerance Unit. The police officers prevented only those who were members of Kingdom Baptist Church from passing by the line; all others were permitted to pass. The police officers would not explain their actions. Believing the police orders forbidding them to cross the line were not lawful, the preachers decided to cross anyway, and were arrested.
Joey Faust, pastor of Kingdom Baptist Church (now Long Run Baptist Church in Missouri), tried to reason with the police officers that their conduct was not lawful. He tried to shame the men into refusing to enforce illegal orders from their superiors. One of the officers in charge was a known lesbian, and Faust boldly told the men if they were going to just enforce her unlawful orders rather than uphold true law, that they were being “effeminate” and “may as well just put a bow in their hair.”
In the trial, the police officers mis-characterized what Faust said, saying he called an officer a “fag”. This did not happen; but even if it did, in America one should still have the right to use a common slur against sodomites without being arrested. (It is called free speech.) But nevertheless, Kingdom Baptist Church did not engage in much of the gratuitous name calling that the police accused them of; they mistook the words of another group as belonging to that of Kingdom Baptist Church.
This was not the only example of shoddy police work by the Fort Worth Police Department. The prior year at the same event, another member of Kingdom Baptist Church, Chad Sutherland, was also preaching the truth. As he was walking down the street as the parade was ending, carrying a sign with scripture on it, he was punched in the faced by a sodomite. Sutherland, standing there with a red mark on his face, watched as the sodomite made a phone call to his boyfriend, sobbing that the police were going to take him to jail. The lesbian police sergeant soon showed up to “investigate” the assault. The homosexual told her that Sutherland was the one that punched him. Disregarding the red mark on Sutherland’s face and his suggestion that the officer examine both of their hands for evidence of punching someone, she said that unless they both left they would be arrested. The sodomite left; Sutherland disregarded this ridiculous and unlawful order and continued his street preaching without incident.
The police in the trial tried to show that blocking the church from walking along side the parade route was necessary for the protection of the public and the church, and they used this supposed episode as “evidence”. Although this event never happened as falsely described by the officers at trial, Defense Counsel J Shelby Sharpe chose not to contest this “fact” as he was confident that even if this event did occur as described by the officers, it would not be justifiable reason for the police to restrain the preachers from moving down the street and preaching.
Thankfully, Sharpe’s confidence was not misplaced, as the appeals court came back with a decision reversing the convictions of Faust and Marroquin. The court explained their reasoning:
“The skirmish line at issue here was not narrowly tailored to serve the government’s interest in public safety. All members of the church were barred from proceeding down the street regardless of whether they had previously assaulted parade-goers or not, whether they were yelling profanity or threatening words or not, or whether they were even protesting at all…The skirmish line prohibited all members of the church from exercising their right of free speech merely because of their association with the church. This is far too broad a limitation…Although we do not believe that the police were required to wait until violence erupted before they stepped in, we do believe there must have been some indication that the public’s safety was at risk beyond the history of one assault by a member of the organization who may not even have been present at the time the skirmish line was in place.”
(The entire text of the decision can be read here.)
The court concluded their decision with the notation “Do not publish.” This was done because the decision contained no new or significant legal reasoning. It is good that the appeals court in the district including Fort Worth still recognizes this fact.
But the country is slipping fast. Just a few years ago, one “homosexual activist” appeared in downtown Fort Worth, and his message and few supporters were overwhelmed by a great number of Christians standing against him. Now, a few short years later Fort Worth hosts annual “gay pride” parades that attract many supporters, including the mayor and alderman, and that feature disgusting displays of near naked perversion. Virtually no Christians stand against this, instead some professing the name of Christ even march in the parade.
A whole gaggle of police, prosecutors, and a judge conspired to convict men for standing against this perversion. As these appeals court justices retire, they will likely be replaced by the new generation represented by the clueless prosecutor of the case who looked and acted like a silly little girl who had no conception of the laws of nature, nature’s God, or the Constitution of the United States. When this occurs, the open door of preaching that still exists in portions of this country will be closed.
But regardless of the tide of wickedness that is sweeping over this land, Christians are called to occupy until the Lord comes. They are to faithfully “let” (hinder the evil) until they be taken out of the way (2 Thessalonians 2:7.) The persecution suffered by these preachers is nothing compared to what has come before and what will soon come to past. But praise God for their bold stand, and for the legal defense provided by Sharpe and the Rutherford Institute. May we all be ready and accounted worthy to stand for the the truth when our time comes.