Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Conviction Of Minister Who 'Threatened' Judge With Bible Quote Overturned
Good God! It's now safe for ministers to quote the Bible and predict that God will smite a judge.
The Rev. Edward Pinkney's First Amendment rights were violated, a Michigan appellate court has ruled, when he was imprisoned for quoting the Bible in an article he penned for a Chicago based newspaper.
Pinkney has been fighting for the rights of black people in Berrien County Michigan for years. He has been rallying against what he believes is public corruption and vote tampering.
But when he was himself convicted of paying people to vote in a recall election, he was the one who found himself in legal hot water - convicted of vote tampering himself. While on probation, Pinkney wrote for the newspaper that the Lord would smite the judge who sentenced him. He quoted a line from Deuteronomy to underscore his point. The court took offense to what is supposedly the word of God. Pinkney was declared in contempt of court for threatening a judge.
This is a case that we've followed closely on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com. We've had Pinkney's trial attorney, Buck Davis, on as a guest. It was amazing how people from both the left and the right who usually disagree came together during that show to express their support for Rev. Pinkney.
The ACLU very effectively took up Pinkney's appeal. Without question, his freedoms of speech and religion were violated by the lower court ruling. It's inconceivable that in a nation which was founded on the premise of religious freedom that a minister would be imprisoned for predicting what God might do.
Further, the lower court clearly doesn't understand the line the Constitution places between church and state. When it gave weight to the Biblical passage by deeming it a threat from the heavens, then the court acknowledged and - in effect - endorsed that religious premise.