On Friday, June 15, 2012, the christian group Bible Believers decided to protest the Arab International Festival in Dearborn, Michigan, with a pig’s head on a spear. They got pelted with rocks by the crowd.
Further, in 2015, the Bible Believers lost in Bible Believers, et al. v. Wayne County, et al. .
“Despite their efforts, however, the officers ultimately determined that they could not easily stop the altercation
while the Bible Believers were present. The officers thus decided to remove the Bible Believers from the festival grounds,” said a dissenting judge
SCOTUS said the Bible Believer constitutional rights weren’t violated.
“The district court held that Defendants’ actions in cutting off the Bible Believers’ religious speech did not violate the Constitution,” read the court opinion.
The believers claimed a “Heckler’s Veto,” but the court didn’t buy it.
“The scenario presented by this case, known as the ‘heckler’s veto, occurs when police silence a speaker to appease the crowd and stave off a potentially violent altercation, ” explained case background, “The particular facts of this case involve a group of self-described Christian evangelists preaching hate and denigration to a crowd of Muslims, some of whom responded with threats of violence. The police thereafter removed the evangelists to restore the peace.”
Bible Believers lost with the help of the police.
In dissent, Judge Rogers said, “Yes, you can get the police to help you attack and disrupt something like a minority cultural identity fair,” responded Judge Rogers, “even if the police are not inclined to do so.”
Clearly, the majority opinion agreed the Bible Believers did have a right to free speech
Judge Boggs said, “I would have thought that a simple examination of pre-existing First Amendment law would make the following points quite clear. Brandenburg v. Ohio held that obnoxious speech cannot be suppressed,” he explained, “even if the speaker is inciting listeners in favor of such speech, unless the speech is likely to incite those listeners to imminent lawless action directed at others.”
The moral of the Bible Believer story: Don’t make someone want to hit you. You might be in the wrong.