Skeptic News: Street Preacher Claims Religious Persecution

From: Religulous blog

This religious persecution story originates from the Rutherford Institute — which has been helping perpetuate Pastor Michael Salman’s story — explaining that it has “come to the defense of a Phoenix resident who was told she could not hand out free bottles of cold water to passersby on a public sidewalk during a ‘First Friday’ festival as a means of exercising her Christian beliefs.”

In a letter to the Phoenix City Attorney, Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead says a woman named Dana Crow-Smith and her Christian friends gathered at one of the First Friday events to “publicly express her Christian faith and engage willing passers-by in conversations about their religious beliefs.”

Crow-Smith brought along a cooler full of water bottles, heeding the Good Book’s advice found in Matthew 10:42: “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”

However The City of Phoenix provided a “fact sheet” of what happened, which doesn’t include hating Christians.

A Phoenix “Neighborhood Preservation Inspector” inspector came into contact with Crow-Smith because she was distributing religious materials and the water from private property on the corner of 1st Street and Roosevelt, which was not her private property.

“At no time did the city attempt to limit in any way Ms. Crow-Smith’s communication of religious beliefs,” the document says. “Staff explained that water or food could not be given away unless they had a mobile vending license, which other vendors at the event have obtained.”

The city’s document continues to explain that Crow-Smith wasn’t even cited — she was informed of the code, and the city said she agreed to stop handing out water. However Later that night, city staff found Crow-Smith on private property again, and giving out water, again.

This seems less a case of religious persecution than a case of a Christian feeling that doing “Gods work” put’s them above the law.

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