"Prayer and Scripture Reading During Gay Celebration Could Cost Christians 47 Years in Prison
'Stalin would be proud', says lawyer for defendents
PHILADELPHIA, December 17, 2004 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A group of eleven Christians were arrested on October 10 for praying, singing, and reading scripture during an annual 'gay pride' event known as 'Outfest' in Philadelphia. The members of the group were charged with three felony (criminal conspiracy, ethnic intimidation, and riot) and five misdemeanor charges.
An appeal to a federal appeals court to stop the prosecution was denied Tuesday. Further, charges were dropped against seven of the men and women. However, Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan ordered four of the group members to stand trial on the charges. If convicted, they could face up to 47 years in prison.
Since the federal courts did not intervene to halt the state prosecution, the last route for the four in question would be an appeal to the Supreme Court according to their attorney Brian Fahling, senior trial attorney for the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.
'First, symbols of Christianity are removed from the public square, now, Christians are facing years in prison because they preached the gospel in the public square. Stalin would be proud,' Fahling said.
The federal appeals court in Philadelphia denied emergency relief despite video footage Fahling calls 'undisputed evidence' that shows the Christians cooperating with police and continually being harassed by the Pink Angels, a group of homosexuals organized to impede the Christian group. "