College Alters Speech Policy After Christian Student Sues for Barring Campus Preaching

exministriesUncategorized10 Comments

 

College Alters Speech Policy After Christian Student Sues for Barring Campus Preaching

By Heather Clark | christiannews.net

Thomas-Nelson-Community-College-287x300HAMPTON, Va. – A community college in Virginia has altered its free speech policy after Christian student was barred from preaching on campus without prior approval.

As previously reported, Thomas Nelson Community College (TNCC) student Christian Parks had filed suit against the university earlier this year after experiencing difficulty in publicly preaching the gospel on campus. Parks has spoken on four different occasions in the college courtyard, discussing God’s existence and proclaiming Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.

However, the third time Parks preached the gospel in the campus courtyard, he was confronted by three uniformed police officers from the TNCC Police Department. The officers ordered Parks to stop preaching. Though Parks thought the officers’ actions were unconstitutional, he complied with their order.

A few days later, Parks began preaching in the same courtyard for the fourth time. Once again, campus police officers silenced him, according to the lawsuit filed by the Christian legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on behalf of the student.

Following the second encounter with police, Parks asked TNCC administrators why he was not allowed to preach on the school’s campus. He was told that, in order to engage in open-air preaching, he would first have to join a registered student organization and then receive permission from TNCC officials four days in advance of any preaching.

If Parks did not comply with the regulations, he could have been subject to disciplinary actions, including suspension or dismissal.

“It is repugnant to Mr. Parks that he, as an individual citizen and student at a public community college, must notify the government in order to speak on campus when he feels convicted by his religious faith to speak and preach on campus,” Parks’ lawsuit contended.

But as Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring decided not to defend TNCC’s college in court, his office decided to work out a solution to the matter to avoid lengthy legal entanglements.

“Once the suit was filed, our office got all parties together to help facilitate a solution prior to extensive litigation,” a spokesperson for Herring told theVirginian-Pilot.

Consequently, the university altered its free speech policy to declare outdoor areas on campus as “venues for free expression,” eliminating its designated free speech zones. While it allowed for “reasonable time, place and manner restrictions” in regard to free speech—in accordance with Supreme Court precedent—the university says that any regulations will be narrow and will not interfere with the right to speak.

“As a result of the case, the Virginia Community College System and Thomas Nelson Community College have changed their policies to allow much greater freedom of expression for students,” ADF attorney Travis Barham told reporters.

In addition to altering the university’s free speech policy, it also agreed to pay attorney’s fees in the amount of $24,999. Parks will only receive $1 in compensation for nominal damages.

 

10 Comments on “College Alters Speech Policy After Christian Student Sues for Barring Campus Preaching”

  1. M.

    Shocking. I’ve personally experienced some similar to this at uni. It was after a prayer meeting and I was just ministering to a young woman (who was an atheist). As I was speaking, I could her see becoming more interested in Christ, unfortunately, a friend of hers (who was apparently part of the student council) he was with her at the time and told me “if I am part of a Christian Union, I must have clothing saying what Christian I’m part of…” Because what I was doing was considered “illegal” and I was just surprised at the way he cut me off but I didn’t want to cause problems so I left them in peace. These things are happening my fellow believers, its really sad.

  2. Edward A. Hara

    QUOTE: “Following the second encounter with police, Parks asked TNCC administrators why he was not allowed to preach on the school’s campus. He was told that, in order to engage in open-air preaching, he would first have to join a registered student organization and then receive permission from TNCC officials four days in advance of any preaching.”

    This is the typical Protestant mindset “No one tells me what to do. I make up my own mind as to what is right and wrong.”

    The college was not banning him from preaching. They were asking him to follow certain guidelines which I believe the college has a right to do in order to keep out nutcases. Mr. Parks, in a state of high dudgeon, decides that this violates his freedom when he is, in fact, on private property and should, if he were a good and obedient Christian as he claims, submit himself to the authorities above him as is stated in the book of Romans. If he wishes to preach in the public — GO FOR IT! But this is not a public venue. But this is not acceptable to him, for he alone is the boss of his life, which is also why he is not Catholic. No one tells Mr. Parks what to do.

    I am on the side of the college here. The only people who made out here were the lawyers.

    BTW — I wish I could have been there to hear him present his personal “Gospel.” He and I would have had a very, VERY interesting discussion, seeing that I am a former Protestant and have a distinct animus against all their heretical teachings.

    1. Desiree

      This college is a public one- it is not private property (it is owned by the state – which means it is owned by “the public”); this fact makes it one of the most appropriate places to exercise the constitutional right of free speech.

    2. 1servant

      I will be praying for your healing Mr Hara, that animus sounds very painful, hope you find THE CURE before it’s too late. May God have mercy!

    3. BROLYN

      Don’t be disturbed because Mr. Parks does open air preaching. He can’t do it alone, there must be a conviction by the Spirit of God that makes him to preach. He is touched about people’s souls shooting to hell. Even if the place was brought to light by lawyers, it was for God’s glory that at a particular date, a Christian would preach in it. In many communities they allow the devil to speak more through secular promotions, sinful activists who are struggling with issues, etc., but they despise the Christians who do open air preaching.
      1 Corinthians 2:14
      The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. (NIV)
      King James Bible
      But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
      Many people claim that they are Christians but 100% full of religion, broken down by religion, think validated but never. it was just a personal desire, try and see how terrible it is with a natural mind. LETS SUPPORT AND PRAY ALWAYS FOR THOSE WHO PREACH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST JESUS DEAD AND RESURRECTED PERIOD…….

    4. MAK

      In response to Mr. Edward A Hara. First of all, the article never mention if the guy was Catholic or Protestant. Oh let me guess, you figured that he was a protestant because he didn’t come under the control of Caesar or Constantin’s anti-Christ manipulation…pretty obvious huh..but bro the statement you made…”But this is not acceptable to him, for he alone is the boss of his life, which is also why he is not Catholic. No one tells Mr. Parks what to do”…This statement is ludicrous. It blasphemes everything that Jesus, Peter, and Paul all died for; preaching the gospel. Did Jesus every get permission from Herod or Pilate…or did Peter or Paul consult the Kings or Emperors of their day…or did any of the prophets like Elijah ask Ahab or Jezebel permission to speak the Word of the Lord. Even the Pharisee’s demanded from Jesus by what Authority do you do these things…obviously it wasn’t from them….bro read your bible…And also the comment you made…”seeing that I am a former Protestant and have a distinct animus against all their heretical teachings”…CATHOLIC CHURCH IS THE WHORE OF BABYLON…how much heretical can you get than that! Bro go read your bible and put down that Catechism.

  3. BROLYN

    Philippians 1:12-14 But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel; 13 So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; 14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (KJV).

    You don’t tell a yielded man to Holy Spirit when to preach. I don’t know why carnal(unspiritual) men usually desire to interfere matters of the Spirit judging them with their carnal minds and authority. This is not an insult, but its happening all over the world. But the good news is; BY THE LOVE OF GOD UPON OUR LIVES, WE ARE READY TO PREACH MORE, MY BROTHER I PRAY YOU PREACH MORE AND BETTER.

    14 And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. (KJV).

Leave a Reply