Church Says Fort Macon Tried To Block Free Speech

A church group says it has won a free speech dispute with the North Carolina park system.

A news release says members of a Wilson church were prevented from sharing their religious beliefs with other visitors at Fort Macon State Park.

The Grace Baptist Church members say a park ranger told them they needed a permit and would be cited if they continued.

The Wilson group says it went to Fort Macon to play group games, swim in the ocean and picnic.

Liberty Counsel, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, took up their cause saying the park system's rule violated the church member's freedom of speech.

A day before an injunction hearing, Liberty says the state signed a settlement agreement, stating that the park rules will not be applied to the church, that the park system will adopt new rules that are constitutional and they will pay attorney fees and costs.

The North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation had no comment on the settlement.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by robert Location: newport on May 11, 2009 at 06:57 PM
    Free speech is good. If you have something to say, pick a spot to have your speech. If I am interested, I will go to you (your spot) and listen. If I do not choose to go where you are, and you choose to come to where I am, that is an invasion of privacy. I have rights too, and my right is not to have you thumpers cramming BS down my throat. So mote it be.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on May 11, 2009 at 12:44 PM
    Tim, WITN deleted my last post, but I meant to tell you that I did not think about the Atheist/Pagan groups. I would run them off of my property quick. If they came up to me at the beach wanting to talk about their beleifs, I would tell them to come see me in church and then we could talk, but the beach is the beach and when I am there, please nobody waste my time.
  • by Alex on May 11, 2009 at 09:58 AM
    Were they inside or outside? I would have no problem with them outside, but inside you are trying to learn about the Fort and enjoy the history. What they are saying is important but if you are wanting to win souls for Christ you have to make yourself relevant. And you don't do that by bothering people on vacation, you do it by first living the life so people see there is something different about you, and then telling them the good news. Jesus met peoples earthly needs before telling them the way. Forcefeeding people just gives them a gag reflex.
  • by Tim Location: Vanceboro on May 11, 2009 at 08:19 AM
    What is sad Sam is if some athiest or pagan group was out there doing the same they would have stood on their head to put a stop to it. It is do as we say, not as we do.
  • by Sam Location: Williamston on May 11, 2009 at 07:11 AM
    Tim, I feel the same way man. I can learn things on my own and that's what church is for. The Jehovahs just need to carry their merry little self somewhere else. Also when I am at the beach, I want to stick with the beach and nothing else.
  • by Tim Location: Vanceboro on May 11, 2009 at 06:59 AM
    I love how the church tries to stop certain speakers and things yet when the very rule is applied to them they run for the same blanket to cover themselves with. What a bunch of hipocrates. I do believe that the people that complained to the rangers, and I sure some spineless wretch did, should have handles it themselves. I no longer get visits from jehovahs witnesses or the mormons because I took care of the issue myself. I can have time with my bible, I don't need someone with a sales pitch to help me along.
  • by Ank Location: Greenville on May 11, 2009 at 06:22 AM
    GBHB: I recommend you check out the "Second Hand Smoking Bill Vote Monday" article here on WITN. If you'll read the comments, it's hypocrisy in motion my friend.
  • by Ank Location: Greenville on May 10, 2009 at 09:58 PM
    GBHB: History was always my favorite subject and is a hobby of mine :). Apart from high school I don't have a formal history background, but as I said it's a hobby plus you have to know a few things when you have a passion for 'fighting the good fight' as you say. Jay, I appreciate your concern, but if you really want to convert non believers to Christianity I don't think trying to force fear upon us with threats of eternal hell is the most tactful way to go about it.
  • by Cactus Location: Strabane on May 10, 2009 at 04:05 PM
    Just how does one seperate state from church. Which half (or portion) of the brain is church and which is state. "Thou shall not murder" is part of the Ten Commandents, so is "Thou shall not commit adultry". Murder is a crime, adultry is not.
  • by Jay on May 10, 2009 at 03:22 PM
    To all you unbelievers: On Judgment Day, when you realize that you're being sent to Hell for all eternity, will scream at the top of your lungs "WHY DIDN'T SOMEONE WARN ME?!" We did try, but you wouldn't listen. This is what's happening. We're trying to spare you from eternal torment.
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