Image for representational purposes only.
A Virginia church has won its battle to display two pro-life signs in front of its property after initially being told otherwise. Criminal charges had been levied against them.
The Valley Church of Christ of Harrisonburg received a letter from the city’s zoning inspector on April 20th informing them that two signs hanging on the outer perimeter of their property violated a city ordinance that prohibits banners, pennants, and flags.
Exemptions are granted for national flags, political parties, corporations, charities, holiday flags, and civic groups, according to the Rutherford Institute, who represented the church in this case. The city asserted the signs were banners and thus not up to code, WHSV reported. The institute described what was on the ‘controversial’ signage:
One sign shows a fetus cradled in a pair of hands with a quote from Mother Teresa: ‘It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.’ The other sign quotes Jeremiah 1:5, ‘Before I formed you in the Womb I Knew You,’ with a picture of the face of a baby.
The city ordered the church to take the signs down within 10 days or be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor, which includes a penalty of 12 months in jail and a fine of $2,500.
On Monday, the city lifted its complaint against the church. The signs are still hanging up. “Under the First Amendment, the government has no authority to pick and choose what type of speech it approves,” said John W. Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute.
While we are pleased that Harrisonburg city officials were quick to set things right in this matter, this is merely one example out of a hundreds of incidents taking place across the country in which speech and expressive activities that the government perceives as controversial, politically incorrect or unpopular are criminalized, caged, censored or silenced.
h/t: The Blaze
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.