Americans United for Separation of Church and State

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Church State Issues

Maricopa Community College Charging People For Sharing Religious Faith

Jan 25, 2012

Yes, some people are annoyed by those preachers on college campuses. But they should be allowed to have the same free speech that everybody else is allowed.

Source

College charging for free speech

Bob Kellogg - OneNewsNow - 1/23/2012

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) is asking a federal court to halt a policy enforced by Maricopa County Community Colleges in Arizona that charges fees for the right to free speech on campus.

Jonathan Scruggs of ADF filed a lawsuit on behalf of Ryan Arneson, a Mesa resident who had shared his faith and handed out literature at South Mountain Community College for two years. However, school officials told him last year that he would have to meet certain requirements in order to continue doing that.

"He'd have to pay money, obtain insurance, wait 14 days after applying, and do all these burdensome requirements, simply to go and carry on a conversation with someone," Scruggs reports.

Jonathan Scruggs (ADF)But as the attorney points out, the school apparently discriminates against people of faith, as officials make exceptions to their policy for others.

"The university will allow political speakers to come on campus without having to [jump through] these hoops and go over these burdens. But for our client's religious speech, he has to get insurance, pay money, [and] do all these difficult things," Scruggs explains.

But he goes on to add that the courts have routinely ruled in the past that policies like the one at South Mountain Community College are unconstitutional.


Source

Free speech at heart of lawsuit against Maricopa Community College

Posted: Jan 18, 2012 1:20 PM Updated: Jan 18, 2012 1:25 PM

By Phil Benson

PHOENIX (KPHO) -

Attorneys for the Alliance Defense Fund asked a federal court Tuesday to halt a Maricopa Community College policy that puts what they call unconstitutional burdens on visitors, if they wish to engage in free speech on the Arizona system's campuses.

The motion stems from a Dec. 29 lawsuit in which ADF attorneys argued that charging fees, requiring an insurance payment and demanding a two-week advance notice is unconstitutional.

The lawsuit arose after Mesa resident Ryan Arneson was unable to express his Christian beliefs on the campus of South Mountain Community College because of the college system's burdensome requirements, ADF attorneys said in a statement.

"Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can't come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period," said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs. "Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn't be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies."

The policy requires private individuals and groups alike to pay a minimum $50 fee, pay for insurance and submit a request form and proof of insurance 14 days prior to visiting campus.

The motion for preliminary injunction filed Tuesday asks the court to suspend the MCC policy while the lawsuit moves forward.


Source

Maricopa Community College Charging People For Sharing Religious Faith

Submitted by Michael Allen on Jan 19, 2012

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has asked a federal court to halt a Maricopa Community College policy (in Arizona) that requires private individuals and groups to pay a minimum $50 fee, pay for insurance, and submit a request form and proof of insurance at least 14 days prior to visiting a campus.

The lawsuit came about after Mesa, Arizona resident Ryan Arneson was unable to express his Christian beliefs on the campus of South Mountain Community College because of the college system’s requirements.

In a press release, ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Jonathan Scruggs said: “Free speech is protected by the First Amendment, which means it can’t come with a price tag and a burdensome waiting period. The courts have routinely ruled policies like this one unconstitutional. Christians visiting public college campuses shouldn’t be deterred from expressing their beliefs because of cumbersome, unconstitutional policies.”

The motion for preliminary injunction filed Tuesday asks the court to suspend the policy while the lawsuit moves forward.


Here is a copy of the lawsuit, which is a pdf file.