Pastor Don pushing Jesus on senior citizen

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Pastor Don pushing Jesus on senior citizen

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! explores a real court case. Read about it below and decide how you would rule. Then read the actual verdict and let us know whether you agree.

Pastor Don Kimbro of Church on the Rock in Albuquerque, N.M., had a special movie he wanted to show his older members. He asked Kathleen Stark, who ran the Bear Canyon Senior Center in the city, if he could show the film, Jesus, at her facility. The movie tells the story of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Luke, and concludes with a narrator stating that Jesus is the son of God, and inviting viewers to adopt Christianity and join in a prayer. Kimbro also wanted to give away large-print New Testaments at the end of the movie.

Programs for just about everything

Bear Canyon is one of six nonresidential senior centers run by the city of Albuquerque and used for many community activities. Members, who must be at least 55 years old or married to someone that age, enjoy lectures, classes, movies, crafts, bingo, dancing and exercise at the centers.

Private groups and individuals organize and sponsor many of the centers' programs, and nonmember groups can use the buildings for classes and other activities if the subject matter is "of interest to senior citizens." A wide range of subjects is listed in the activities catalog, including amateur radio, ceramics, Chinese, choral group, economics, el abuelo (the clown of Spanish culture), fishing, Medicare and health insurance counseling, myth of the hanging tree, and plants and people of New Mexico. There are also religion-related classes, like the Bible as literature; myths and stories about the millennium; theosophy; and an oratorio called A Passover Commemoration. The centers encourage ideas for new classes and programs.

Drawing the line at proselytizing

When Stark received Kimbro's request, she sent it for review to Mark Sanchez, the city's deputy director of family and community services. After viewing the film, Sanchez denied Kimbro's request, saying that city policy prohibited the use of senior centers "for sectarian instruction or as a place for religious worship."

A First Amendment argument for both sides

Kimbro and his church sued the city, arguing that he should not be prohibited from showing the film and handing out Bibles. Kimbro argued that the city had unconstitutionally restricted his right to free expression under the First Amendment; the city's reasoning for its denial of the film showing did not outweigh his, and the church's, rights under the Constitution.

City officials argued that their hands were tied. The First Amendment prohibits the state establishment of religion, and Kimbro's request would violate that basic principle by promoting Christianity in a city-sponsored forum. The city also contended that the Older Americans Act required them to prohibit use of the centers for religious teaching or worship, or risk losing federal funding. Finally, the city said that its policy protected seniors, who are a "captive audience" and "vulnerable" to the kind of proselytizing and coercion that Kimbro's program represented.

The Verdict

The District Court held that the primary purpose of the film was to promote Christianity, and that the city had a right to exclude the film, since its subject matter did not fit the purpose of the senior centers. But the Court of Appeals disagreed.

First, the Court of Appeals noted that speech intended to convert nonbelievers enjoys the same protection under the First Amendment as any other religious speech, including the Bible classes that were being run at the center. Quoting the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals noted that "it is no violation for government to enact neutral policies that happen to benefit religion."

The court also held that the city was wrong to rely on the Older Americans' Act to justify their restriction. Loss of federal funds is not a "compelling government interest" that can be used to overcome the city's duty under the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, the court found it insulting to senior citizens for the city to argue that seniors would be coerced or intimidated by Kimbro's program. "People in this age group are not in need of special insulation from invitations to adopt a religious faith," the court said, adding that attendance at Kimbro's proposed presentation was voluntary.

http://www.aarp.org/politics-society/rights/info-02-2011/jesus-movie-at-senior-center.1.html"

Thoughts?

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


mellestad
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As long as the government

As long as the government wasn't funding the thing, and as long as the people at the senior center had to go out of their way to partake in the class, and as long as a non-Christian request would have the same opportunity, I don't have any issues with it.

 

 

I'm interested in some things though...if the state has no ability to voluntarily filter something like this out, do they have the ability to filter *anything* out?  By this reasoning I'd think someone could go in with a class about voodoo sex rituals and they'd be protected, which seems a bit odd to me.

The idea that the senior center would object to any 'sectarian' classes seems very reasonable to me, and if the court is saying that isn't a possibility then how do they keep this from becoming a preach-a-thon?  I guess maybe that doesn't matter though, as long as any religion has the ability to do so.

 

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 hey man, haven't seen you

 hey man, haven't seen you in a little while.  I'm ignorant of the law, but I don't see why any government sponsored event should promote religion? Unless it is to educate against it.

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 Well, if I had my

 

Well, if I had my druthers, there would be no religion allowed on government property. However, the city has opened the doors of those facilities for some limited amount of religion and that bring the question of how much should be allowed. Basically, where shall the line be drawn?

 

This is going to be a problem any time it comes up because the first amendment has not one but three purposes. The case that the church made was not freedom of religion but rather freedom of speech. In all honesty, freedom of speech does go to the idea that the government should not be in the business of deciding what messages are legitimate.

 

Another problem here is that the case made by the city was really weak. It rests on three grounds, none of which is actually good enough to make a case for what they did.

 

First, that they have a responsibility to not be involved in religious expression. Well great but there is a problem here, in that the Supreme court has ruled on this a few times over the years and the duty of the city in this case is to remain neutral. Not to decide where that particular line is to be drawn.

 

Second, that the government needs to have this oddly inconsistent policy in order to comply with the federal law that makes the funding they are using available. A laudable goal to be sure but not one that can shield them from constitutional scrutiny. As it stands, by restricting religious expression, they are holding an opinion on a specific matter which they are not permitted to hold. If they want to provide a center for, well, any type of discussion, they can say whatever they want to but they can't get in the business of deciding what opinions are valid.

 

Third, that they have a duty to protect senior citizens as a group which is vulnerable. A laudable goal here as well but not one for which they have statutory authority. Sure, if some con man wanted to do a seminar on the insurance contracts he was selling with no intention to ever pay off any claim, the city could intervene there. But then, said con man could not legally sell those contracts over the phone or by mail either.

 

On the other hand, to say that senior citizens are automatically vulnerable to religion is patently absurd. Sure, they may well be vulnerable but the government does not have a duty to protect people from things that are not actually against the law. Then too, just because someone is old does not mean that they are stupid. This is a senior center that has a fascinating array of activities from more than a dozen separate computer clubs through ham radio an on to basket weaving. If someone is able to handle such activities, I would bet that they are able to handle some religious whack job trying to hand out bibles.

 

Also, why is the AARP newsletter discussing a fifteen year old case like it just happened last week? I know that much because I found the case file on google by just googling the name of the church. Honestly, I was hoping to find the church web site to see just what manner of whack job this guy is. Sadly, no luck there.

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Brian37
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My mom's retirement home

My mom's retirement home allows a couple of Baptist guys to "minister" to the elderly there. What pisses me off is that the entire place is one giant two story hallway like a 5 star hotel, with the dining room in the center, where they hold their weekly meeting. We have to run the gauntlet to get past them to exit the front door and someone always tries to invite us as we pass.

 

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I honestly think it was okay

I honestly think it was okay i.e. I agree with the court of appeals, as long as any kind of religious or secular group could present at the senior center. The senior center itself was not promoting an establishment of religion, merely allowing the pastor to use its facilities. I view this as similar to my university, which does not condone any religious group, but allows everyone to form clubs and groups and reserve rooms for meetings. Also, viewing the movie was optional, so I don't see this as much "proselytizing."

If it's ruled that the first amendment overrides this "Older Americans Act," then it should clearly be repealed to prevent cities from losing federal funding.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:I

Never mind.........

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
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 Brian37 wrote:My mom's

 

Brian37 wrote:
My mom's retirement home allows a couple of Baptist guys to "minister" to the elderly there. What pisses me off is that the entire place is one giant two story hallway like a 5 star hotel, with the dining room in the center, where they hold their weekly meeting. We have to run the gauntlet to get past them to exit the front door and someone always tries to invite us as we pass.

 

I hear you on that.

 

Locally, we have a soup kitchen run by the council of churches and synagogues. That is fine enough. They should be providing such services to the community.

 

That being said, once in a while, a group of volunteers will show who think that they are there for more important things than to get food into people who cannot afford to feed themselves. Then what happens is beyond the pale in my book.

 

People will be let into the dining area and seated. But before the meal is served, someone will come out to lead everyone in prayer. Occasionally, people will also distribute crosses and/or bibles. This will happen as a thing that must be done if one wants to get food.

 

Despite the name of the sponsoring group, no temple has ever required that people cut off their foreskin in order to get fed. But let the Christians get involved and the message all too readily becomes: “Before we feed you, you need to accept Christ into your heart”.

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100percentAtheist
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I think that if the

I think that if the Christian guy pays for the full rent of the facility, it should be fine (possibly even for voodoo sex). 

But if the federal (or state) fund are spent to cover the costs associated with running the facility during the event, then of course it is in violation of the constitution. 

So, did the guy pay for his rent?

 

 Edit: personally, I would strongly support prohibiting religious proselytizing by the 28th amendment to the constitution.