Original. Student reported. Your daily dose of Right-minded news and commentary from across the nation
LAWSUIT: Student Talking About Jesus Told To Shut Up

Conservative attorneys have come to the defense of a student who was simply talking about Jesus in his campus quad when administrators told him to stop because he did not have permission to preach and he might offend someone.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit earlier this month on behalf of Thomas Nelson Community College student Christian Parks, 24, saying in court documents he was prohibited last fall from his constitutional right to free speech under an onerous and unconstitutional campus policy.

“The First Amendment strongly protects the rights of individuals to freely speak,” Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for the firm, said in an interview with The College Fix.

One day in mid-September, “Parks decided that he needed to inform his fellow students and other passersby of their need for salvation through Jesus Christ by preaching in the open, outdoor areas of the … campus,” the lawsuit states, noting the Hampton-based college is on 86.5 acres, and the area in which Parks preached was in a “courtyard that resembles a public plaza with tables and benches.”passion3

He had given similar talks two times earlier that semester, but on Sept. 13 –when he began to do the same thing– “three uniformed officers” approached him and shut him down, the lawsuit states. A few days later, when he tried again, another uniformed officer came and told him to stop, it adds.

Kupec, in an interview, pointed out that when Parks was asked to stop talking, he was not blocking any building entrances or exits, nor did he carry any signs or using anything to “amplify” his voice. He also was not saying anything inflammatory, she added.

Yet school officials told Parks his actions violated the Student Code of Conduct and a Virginia Community College System policy that requires students to be part of a student organization before he or she can speak in open areas of a campus. In addition, students can only speak in campus areas college officials approve ahead of time, and they must register with officials four days in advance, according to the policy.

Kupec said that the Virginia Community College System’s policy essentially allows “public officials to have unfettered authority in picking and choosing who gets to speak.”

“This policy … inhibits students from exercising this very basic, constitutionally protected freedom,” she said.

The lawsuit, Parks v. The Members of the State Board of the Virginia Community College System, explains that students’ First Amendment rights to free speech apply to sidewalks and open spaces on campus. It also contends students have the right to express their views anonymously and spontaneously.

“It is repugnant to Mr. Parks that he, as an individual citizen and student at a public community college, must notify the government in order to speak on campus when he feels convicted by his religious faith to speak and preach on campus,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit aims to force the Virginia Community College System to revise its policy to better adhere to students First Amendment rights.

Contemporary American society has become too hostile to the idea of free speech that might “offend” a person or groups of people, Kupec said.

“The First Amendment does not protect against being offended – that would be an impossible task,” she said.

The idea of free speech is especially important at a college or university, she added, because these are “places where some of the greatest ideas and movements in history and birthed and developed.”

College officials have declined to comment to the media, telling the Daily Press that they do not speak on pending litigation.

College Fix contributor Andrew Desiderio is a student at The George Washington University.

Like The College Fix on Facebook / Follow us on Twitter

IMAGES: Youtube screenshots – Passion of the Christ

About the Author

Add to the Discussion

  • Tanks-a-lot

    Well, a muslim student might kill that Christian. It’s the religious right of muslims to kill enemies of allah. Anyone that declares their non-muslim faith in the presence of a muslim is guilty of blasphemy under shariah law. Should a Christian be killed by a muslim on campus the college might have to acknowledge that islam isn’t a ‘religion of peace’ which they propagate through their usually Saudi funded islamic studies.

    • Albert8184

      Well, your analysis is deficient in a few aspects. For one, the United States doesn’t recognize the authority of shariah law. The Constitution trumps shariah law in the United States. And the “right” you describe to kill infidels isn’t recognized in the United Sates.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        muslims do not recognize the authority of the Kuffar’s Constitution or any other Kuffar laws.

        muslims don’t care about any other rights than those under islamic law.

        That’s the point of being muslim, to hate all things non-muslim.

        • John D

          If they want a war, let’s do it.

      • timetorun

        true, but fundamentalist muslims would laugh at this since they believe their law supercedes the laws of men.

        • Crystal

          So would fundamentalist Christians or Jews who cite honor killings and sanctioned murder as ordered in Deuteronomy.

          • timetorun

            i dont think so in your examples, but too little time to answer the whole thing, but there would be circumstances where the laws of Christ and some of the old covenant laws would supercede the laws of men or government and would require a follower of Christ to follow his conscience and let the response be in God’s loving hands. christians down thru the last 2000 years have had to do this and trust their lives to God–in this world we will have trouble but Jesus is King.

          • Stuart Buncher

            What a lie! The Bible doesn’t cite honor killings. Now if you want too talk about honor killings, just go to any Muslim country today. They kill by stoning in a public square or by hanging, with the populace helping.

          • John D

            I think he is talking about stoning of sinners in the old testament. Jesus brought it to an end when he said “let those who are without sin cast the first stone.” Guest is a troll trying to incite an argument. I will ignore him.

          • John D

            I have never heard of a Christian or a Jew who cites honor killings. You are a total moron. The so called honor killing (stoning of sinners) was over 2000 years ago. The New Testament supersedes the old in the Christian religion.

        • Albert8184

          Well, it all comes down to the law of the jungle, doesn’t it?

      • Proteios

        Good point. Plenty of that in the middle east. Cant wait till that gets imported here like in Europe. Time to learn Spanish.

    • Dean Winchester

      If someone Muslim or otherwise feel that there religious laws trump the laws upheld in the United States they can leave and take there ideas with them.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        Well, good luck with that now that they are here and consider every mosque to be forever islamic property. One day they will have to be killed off to get rid of them.

        It’s that or let them gain enough numbers to subjugate or kill non-muslims here without any hope of stopping them.

        • Crystal

          The prejudice in this hurts my heart.

          • John D

            Your ignorance hurts my head.

        • carol.geiger

          The Muslims do it more elegantly: they increase in numbers, stand up for a public position, get voted in and voila, here they make the laws.

      • Katsuro Ricksand

        It is perfectly legal for the college to decide for themselves who is allowed to make speeches on campus and when they are allowed to do so.

        • Stuart Buncher

          Not if the college is publically funded as all Community colleges are.

        • John D

          Learn the law moron. Publicly funded colleges are not free to stifle free speech that isn’t volatile. For that matter neither are private ones.

    • Crystal

      The bible also says that Christians should kill non-believers, and much of the Old Testament is not a “religion of peace”. I realize many would argue the New Testament has replaced the Old Testament, but Christians still follow many of the Old Testament rules/covenants (ex. 10 Commandments). This is also the section of the bible with which many Christians most often back up their discriminatory views towards homosexuals or non-whites. I just think your comment is a bit ridiculous,considering how similar mainstream Islam & Christianity actually are.

      “If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy
      God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight
      of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath GONE AND SERVED OTHER GODS, AND WORSHIPED THEM, either the sun, or moon, or
      any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be
      told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and,
      behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is
      wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that
      woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that
      man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die”- Deuteronomy 17.

      • Albert8184

        No it doesn’t. The entire Bible was written by Jews for Jews, whatever Messiah they accepted. The word “Christian” didn’t even enter the common languages of men until after the death of Christ. Nor has the New Testament “replaced” the Old Testament. Seems there’s enough error to go around on both sides of the fence.

        • Stuart Buncher

          Jesus, as a Jew followed the Old Testament, as the New Testament came out over 200 years after he died.

      • Tanks-a-lot

        “he bible also says that Christians should kill non-believers”

        you just discredited yourself with your first line of stupidity.

      • Proteios

        can you state the verse saying Christians should kill non-believers. I must have missed that one. And no, my uneducated friend, the cult of mohomed and Christianity are quite different. THe problem is you need to study both rather than get educated on huffington post.

        • Crystal Moore

          I am a Christian and a historian (who questions the veracity of the bible that was written by men), so I actually know the bible quite well. I already did state the passage. Deuteronomy 17. It pretty clearly says non believers (of the Christian God) should be stoned.

          “Deuteronomy 17

          If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy
          God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight
          of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone
          and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or
          any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be
          told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and,
          behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is
          wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that
          woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that
          man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”

          • studi30

            There was no Christian God when the Old Testament was written. There was no Christian God, who is the Jewish God, until over 200 years after Jesus died. Jesus was a devout Jew who followed the Old Testament. Deuteronomy, from the Old Testament, was talking about the Jews who were wicked, and the punishment for their transgressions.

          • Crystal Moore-Archer

            I didn’t say there was a “Christian” God in the Old Testament. There was Yahweh, who was based off of the Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda. I am also well aware that the earliest New Testament accounts came several hundred years after the death of Jesus. My point is that Deuteronomy does say that killing others is okay when they do not follow the same faith as believers of their God. If you are making the argument that this does not apply because it was in the Old Testament and Yahweh was the god of the Jews, then you must not know that Christians worship the same God. They too follow many of the same laws of the Old Testament. Would you make this same argument about ignoring the Ten Commandments just because they didn’t come from New Testament writing after the death of Christ? All you’ve really done is confirm my original point.

      • Stuart Buncher

        No the 5th Commandment says thou shall not Murder, not thou shall not Kill. The Quran says that in order for the messiah to come, all Infidels, every other religion, must embrace Islam or die. The Bible doesn’t say anything derogatory about non Whites. It does mention Black skinned peoples, as they were also in the Middle East. In Hebrew they are still called the Cusheem, or dark skinned people.

        • Crystal Moore

          “Deuteronomy 17

          If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which the LORD thy
          God giveth thee, man or woman, that hath wrought wickedness in the sight
          of the LORD thy God, in transgressing his covenant; 17:3 And hath gone
          and served other gods, and worshipped them, either the sun, or moon, or
          any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded; 17:4 And it be
          told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and enquired diligently, and,
          behold, it be true, and the thing certain, that such abomination is
          wrought in Israel; 17:5 Then shalt thou bring forth that man or that
          woman, which have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that
          man or that woman, and shalt stone them with stones, till they die.”

        • Crystal Moore-Archer

          I think you are also confusing parts of the Quran with the Hadiths.

          • studi30

            What parts?

    • John D

      Are you serious? The so called religious right to kill doesn’t supersede the legal consequences. Your example is flawed.

  • Al Czervik

    The time has come to speak out loudly that the easily offended are themselves offensive in their intolerance. After all, what gives them the special priviledge of being without offense when their very actions are designed to offend those of religious conviction?

  • Dr. Paul

    Will the administration ban muslims from speaking? Hardy Har!

    • Katsuro Ricksand

      If you read the article, you know that the rule about asking permission to speak applies to everybody. So muslims already a r e banned from holding speeches without permission, just like everyone else.

      • Proteios

        As an academic I am shocked at the progressive slide into airport-like constraints against free speech. The consequence of this is academia is becoming more like a state run training camp. Sad, because when I was a student, anyone could say anything and it was part of that learning experience. So sad. So anti-intellectual.

        • John D

          It’s pretty sad when the least free speech organizations are Colleges and Universities. That’s what happens when your faculty is Marxist.

      • John D

        So that makes it OK? You are an idiot. I bet you have a closet full of Brown Shirts.

  • pmcurl

    What? No mention of damages? He deserves damages for violation of his rights, including puntitive damages.

  • Albert8184

    I wonder if these people would have arrested Martin Luther King for talking about his faith?

    • Proteios

      they might now. Academia isn’t what it used to be. Saddens me but convenience and the battle cry ‘someone might be offended’ reign supreme.

  • Check out this incredibly fascinating, impeccably researched, and irrefutable truly Christian free video about the Apocalypse. It will change your life. Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cn9t0m6eG4Q

  • Mack

    Unless he is using a bullhorn or being abusive or predatory, the garbled speech of yet another make-it-up-as-you-go-along pray-chur in an open area is protected by the Constitution.

  • marcuspiggus

    Someone should go the same place this student was speaking and start reciting from the Quran just to watch the administration squirm.

    • Proteios

      that day is coming. RIght now, the cult likes to keep a low profile out of fear of anyone actually reading that hate-speech. so its very passive and most attempts follow informal islam101 based agendas. They usually wait for a critical mass before they throw temper tantrums.

      • dan

        cult do have any idea how stupid you sound? I hae lived in over 5’muslim countries and I have seen no terrorists or xtremists. The only time I have seen terrorists are on the media.As for your pathetic hysteria of muslims somehpw rulinh over ur country, Muslims will not impose shariah as it does not exist

        • John D

          What a load of crap. So those violent demonstrations are all fake? And you deny Sariah law exists? What a moron.

          From a liberal web site “Discover the networks”

          Islam teaches that shari’a, as God’s revealed law, perfect and eternal, is binding on individuals, society and state in all its details. By logical extension, any criticism of shari’a is heresy. Muslims who deny the validity of shari’a in any way are labeled as non-Muslims (infidels) or apostates (those who convert to another religion) by traditionalists and Islamists. As such, they face the threat of being prosecuted for apostasy, a crime that carries the death penalty in shari’a.

  • L.B.

    Please make a donation to either the Alliance Defense Fund or the Thomas More Law Center. Or a donation to FIRE which fights specifically for free speech on college campuses.

  • Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having. http://bit.ly/1orZYQc

  • thinkaboutit

    I attend here, and I’m extremely confused as to why this was an issue. Three weeks ago a group from The Gideons were passing out Bibles inside the main building. Hypocritical of them to not allow a student to speak on his beliefs.

    • Katsuro Ricksand

      I don’t see any hypocrisy. The Gideons weren’t holding a speech. They were handing out books that people were free to decline.

      • John D

        None are as blind as those that will not see.
        Also
        “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
        That’s for you Ricksand and the other morons spouting your nonsense.

  • Katsuro Ricksand

    You know, I can’t help but notice that the rule about getting permission for speeches applies to everybody. The only reason that Parks is the only one being told off is that he’s the only one who disrespected the rules.

    Everybody keeps saying “If a Muslim did it they would be okay with it,” but I can’t find anything in the article supporting the idea that the college officials would be okay with Muslim speches without permission.

    • Ransom

      I’m not disagreeing with you, but applying your own logic: I can’t find anything in the article that says Parks was the only one who disrespected the rules.

      • Katsuro Ricksand

        You know, that’s actually a fair point. But I’d still say that we can’t complain about double standards unless we get a concrete example of somebody else breaking these rules with no consequences.

        • John D

          Did you ask permission to post? I find your comments highly offensive.

  • Mack

    It’s not as if he were playing the guitar – now THAT would be offensive.

  • MSMediacritic

    Well, maybe this would be of interest… looks like they won’t be able to do it in the future (but they can try).

    http://www.thefire.org/virginia-bans-unconstitutional-campus-free-speech-zones/

  • MarkJ

    One quick way for the student to have responded: “You want me to shut up? You do realize that you’re talking exactly like a Nazi? Don’t believe me? Google it.”

  • Juli R Jovanovska

    A lot of the comments on here argue back and forth between religious ideals (some true, some not… but that’s not my point).

    Did this student even bother to attempt going through the proper channels to be permitted to speak? The article doesn’t say. It only says that Kupec, the speaker for the firm representing the student says that the policy may make it difficult for students to exercise their 1st amendment rights. It doesn’t say that he went through the proper procedures and was denied unfairly, THEN decided to be a street-corner evangelist in the quad. It hardly seems like an issue of “Free Speech” being denied when there are protocols in place to do so in an organized and orderly fashion.

    If he just couldn’t be bothered to do things as the school requires, and then broke the school’s rules, what does it matter what you all are arguing about between references to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam? The point is the student was wrong and doesn’t get to claim his freedoms were denied just because he was too stupid/selfish/lazy to bother with making the attempt.

    • John D

      Fool. The school cannot legally require that you get permission to speak.
      NAZI brown shirts like you make me sick.
      Or maybe you would be more happy in Cuba or Russia?

      • Juli R Jovanovska

        Yes, they can. The Student Code of Conduct and a Virginia Community College System policy that requires students to be part of a student organization before he or she can speak in open areas of a campus. In addition, students can only speak in campus areas college officials approve ahead of time, and they must register with officials four days in advance, according to the policy.

        So, there is a policy in place — legally — that students comply with. This guy didn’t bother with that. So that’s why he’s in trouble.

        Now, as I said, if he had gone on according to the policy, done everything he was supposed to do, and THEN got in trouble, he would have more of a leg to stand on, and I would agree that he’s looking at a potential ‘violation of civil liberties’ issue. As it is, he kind of shot himself in the foot by not going through the proper channels to accomplish his goal.

  • John D

    This is what colleges have come to. Run by a bunch of Brown shirt NAZIs.

  • Lawrence E Bosumbe

    Hi everyone,

    I think this is the time we must understand what is what, who comes from where, who does what, who reveals what, and who is who?

    The history shows that all who stood on the side of the truth they were helpless, humiliated and killed.

    I want to tell everyone here that there is one and only one book through which God spoke in time and space and that book is called ” The Holy Bible. ”

    naturally speaking it is impossible to serve or believe the unique God in different ways.

    When God called Abraham, He told Abraham about promise of a seed. If you read Galatians 3:15-17 Apostle Paul was extremely specific when he explained. In the verse 17 he emphasize and said: ” the Law, which came four hundred and thirty years later, does not invalidate a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise ”

    Meaning even though Moses came with law, the promise God made to Abraham stood and no law here on earth can nullify that promise. The seed God was talking about was not the corn seed nor the mango seed. The seed was Jesus Christ as Apostle Paul stated to Galatians.

    Remember in the time of Abraham all the nations were pagans and where far from and God wanted one chosen person to create the holy nation that will be called the people of the living God. As a seed can only produce the crop that belongs to the same species, God wanted the entire mankind believe through Abraham.

    Reason why, there is no God unless you believe the God of Israel. Since in the time of old. Reason why Jesus spoke loud in John 14:6 and said: ” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

    Meaning, there is no such a thing as a religion or belief. God gave nonnegotiable offer of salvation that’s called Gospel in a nutshell in John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ”

    Life without Christ is one way down to the bottomless pit called Hell. God does not care about your belief, your faith, your heart, your smile, your donations, or your worship.

    True God that the entire earth should believe is the God of Bible. If you don’t believe in God of Israel through Jesus, you’re damned to Hell. Because Allah is not God and it will never be, Buddha is not God, and it will never be.

    Jesus is the KIng promised to be enthroned for ever and ever in the Kingship of David and enlarge its borders beyond seas.

    Isaiah 9:5-7 ” For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given;
    And the government will be upon His shoulder.
    And His name will be called
    Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
    Of the increase of His government and peace
    There will be no end,
    Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
    To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
    From that time forward, even forever.

    The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”