The Rutherford Institute is putting
Phoenix, Arizona on notice for the mistreatment of a
Christian who wanted to give away free bottles of water.
The situation dates back to a year ago, when Dana Crow-Smith was
handing out free water at the city's First Friday Festival. A
city official, the neighborhood preservation inspector, told her to
stop until she paid a $350 application fee and a $30 annual
license fee and got approval -- which would have taken up
to four weeks.
John Whitehead, founder of The Rutherford
Institute, intervened and describes what happened
"I had written a letter to the city officials, saying that this
was clearly not an act of selling, that therefore, on public
property at a festival -- when it was 112 degrees, by the way -- in
the scorching heat of Phoenix, someone should be able to give away
a free bottle of water," Whitehead tells OneNewsNow. "The city
responded by saying even if she was on private property, their law
requires that you have to have a vendors permit."
But he contends it is a dangerous precedent that deserves to be
"It would mean that a church on their private property could not
hand out free water," the attorney reason. "We really don't
think that this makes any sense. So, I have responded to the city,
saying it absolutely makes no sense and that they have to shape up
or we are potentially going to file a lawsuit over this as a
violation of the First Amendment right to freedom of expression and
freedom of religion."
Phoenix is the same city that put Michael Salmon in jail for 60
days for constructing a building on his private property for prayer