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.
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.