Pastor wins case for street evangelism

Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Charlie Butts (

A federal appeals court has given a Chicago street preacher permission to condinue his ministry.

Pastor Curt Teesdale and eight members of Garfield Ridge Baptist Church were handing out scripture and talking to the public about the gospel at a street festival in 2008 when police arrested Teesdale on a charge of trespassing, even though he and his church members were standing on a public street.

Sterett, Noel (Mauck & Baker)The charges were quickly dropped in criminal court, but the Chicago law firm of Mauck & Baker filed suit in federal court on behalf of Teesdale's constitutional rights. Attorney Noel Sterett tells OneNewsNow that when the pastor won in district court, that decision was appealed by the city.

"We received a decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and it's a mixed bag," he details. "The decision is a tremendous victory for free speech rights and for Pastor Teesdale, because it affirms that the city cannot prevent Pastor Teesdale or others from his church from exercising their First Amendment right to proclaim the gospel at upcoming festivals."

On the downside, though the legal battle was prolonged for three years, no damages will be collected because of the way the law is written.

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