Archive for the ‘soul winning’ Tag
Last weekend, we were doing our door-to-door outreach in the neighboring town of Claremont when we were stopped by the police. I was with the BBQ Princess (nine years old), BBQ Boy III (seven), and four of my teens on Bonita Ave when two squad cars responded to our threatening and offensive scheme (i.e.-inviting people to church). I was told that soliciting is not allowed in the city of Claremont. I respectfully explained that we weren’t selling anything or asking for donations or anything of the sort. Our church brochure has pictures of luxury items and asks the reader to consider if earthly things will give them happiness. He pointed to the pics (which included a sports car, yacht, and house) and said that we were trying to give away prizes. At that point I was very tempted to get disrespectful and ask, “Are you dumb or stupid?” I exhibited a supernatural amount of self-control and calmly explained the point of the brochure. He quickly brushed me off and said that the bottom line was that we couldn’t do that in Claremont. After checking my I.D. and adding my name to the terrorist watch list, he let us go and suggested we head into Pomona. So we knocked doors in Pomona.
That evening, it only took a few minutes of research to find Claremont’s actual solicitation ordinance. Turns out they actually did attempt to restrict all forms of door-to-door communications (including soul-winning, not just commercial soliciting), but it was struck down by the Supreme Court. They don’t have the right to restrict religious communication. The definition for solicitation is very carefully defined in their ordinance and what my teens and I were doing Saturday should have never been interrupted. I printed out the 13 page PDF of the solicitation ordinance and went down to the Claremont Police Department this morning. I asked to speak to the Watch Commander. The receptionist asked for my name, typed it into the computer, and there I was! Officer response at 10:30-something am on Bonita Ave. Cool. The Watch Commander came out, I briefly re-hashed the situation and he promptly…
Boo-yah! Score one for the soul-winners! He said we did nothing illegal and that we should have never been told to “cease and desist”. I told him that we would be back in Claremont this weekend and that I was concerned that another call would come in. He assured me that he would send out an E-Mail to all of his officers reminding them of the details of the ordinance, specifically the definition of soliciting.
Christian, let me ask you this: If soul-winning were truly outlawed, I’m sure it would upset you. But would it actually affect your life? I’m so thankful for the twenty or so faithful teens in my youth group who would truly be affected by that.
And I know many of them would go to jail with me.