Praying in park puts man in jail for 9 days

A Christian who prayed in a public park with six other people is serving a nine-day jail sentence for disorderly conduct even though his case is under appeal and charges against the others were dismissed or overturned.

Julian Raven of Elmira, N.Y., said he was “surprised by police at his office,” handcuffed and taken into custody this week, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which is defending Raven.

“According to his wife, police escorted him out of a court hearing … in handcuffs in front of his crying children to begin serving his nine-day jail sentence,” the organization said in a report.

“We are surprised at how eager the city was to arrest Mr. Raven again in light of his appeal. Now he will serve time in jail; however, we will continue to aggressively pursue his appeal in court,” said Joel Oster, ADF senior legal counsel.

Read more here:

He was jailed because he refused to pay a $100 fine.

Three of the other six defendants took plea deals, and three had their convictions overturned because the cops spoke directly to Julian Raven, and not to them, when asking the demonstrators to leave.

arrested for praying? whats next?

But by ‘disorderly conduct,’ they mean praying, don’t then? Why should he pay $100 fine for praying in public?

No, by disorderly conduct they mean infiltrating into an event in order to hold a protest. Its pretty common for police to keep protesters away from a rally. But Raven and his group disobeyed the police, and went to the very front of the festival to do their action.

They could have prayed anywhere, but not inside the gay pride festival.

If that guy were me I would probably be facing life in prison:p I mean come on, really… praying in public.

One parks their car in a car park; one prays in a Church

Maybe, in future, he will learn the difference

Or, what does he propose to do next; park his car in the Church and catch a flight from the Bingo hall?

He is a complete fool; and he is not the only one

I agree with you. It seems to me that the intent of Mr. Raven’s “prayer” was to create a disturbance and interrupt an event he disagrees with. Though his action may be religious, it is also political and the police have the right to monitor or prohibit political actions when it obstructs the free expression of others who have a permit to hold their event in the park. If Mr. Raven wished, he could apply for a permit to hold his “prayer” in the park without disturbing the peace of others. Then, if homosexuals wished to parade themselves in front of his group and disrupt his event, the police could prohibit their actions as well.

Now this makes more sense. I am sure if a group of gay protesters stood up at mass during the consecration and started yelling “gay marriage now!” mass goers would expect them to be arrested for disorderly conduct as well they should be.

Ooops; just re-read

He was praying in a park and not a car-park

:slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

However, if a group of gay protesters attended Mass, and sat quietly, without saying a word, I don’t think anyone would expect them to be arrested. Heck, I know several people who normally attend Mass that way.

Exactly. WND is notorious for spinning stories off in a ridiculous direction. I put them alongside The Guardian and the National Enquirer for reliability and integrity, which is to say they have neither.

BTW - This Rock had an excellent article on civil disobedience this last month. I guess it will make the CA site soon.

Not if they sat in the front of the Church, obstructing the mass and making it obvious that they are not participating, but protesting. What if they were silently kissing one another? I would then expect them to be escorted from the premises.

This is true, however a church is not a public place, which a public park would be. Generally free speech (even protesters) can not be abridged in a public forum, unless the are inciting people to violence, and merely protesting is not inciting to violence.

The diocese I use to live in had people attend the cathedral wearing the rainbow sash in support/protest and they were not escorted off the premises, they were just asked to not wear it again.

To a certain extent speech can be regulated in public places. Protesters can be separated to prevent violence. Public facilities can be rented for private affairs. If the Black Panthers rent an area for a rally, the Klan can not protest at that time at that spot. In such cases the protestors are given separate areas to prevent violence.

WETM, Elmira:

ELMIRA - The case of a protester, who disrupted a gay pride event almost three years ago, may now be heard by New York State’s highest court.

The four gay pride protesters who were found guilty in the Elmira City Court in February of 2008 appealed their convictions. The case then went to the Chemung County Court where three of the convictions were dismissed. But the case of Julian Raven is now in the hands of the New York Court of Appeals.

Raven’s case was upheld because officers spoke with him directly and advised him not to cause a disruption. But he’s confident it will also be dismissed.

Raven feels his arrest violated his right to free speech in a public park during a public event. But the Chemung County Court ruled that the constitutional rights of all four protestors were not violated.

The gov’t can impose limited time & place restrictions. Cops would always rather avoid trouble – they probably would have preferred Raven protesting on the edge of the crowd, not in the middle where they’d have to try to rescue him if trouble erupted.

I’d be interested to know if they have separated opposing protesters in the past – keeping gays away from a pro-family rally, let’s say :smiley:

Your right on, they love to exaggerate and mislead with the headlines.

You might read something like “Police force Christian to pray silently”
later in the story you find out he was in the theater at the time and bothering the other clients.

I do not trust anything they put out.

Yeah, this site seems unreliable for serious news. If a Bus crashes in some city, suddenly it’s “Bus Driver crashes bus due to student holding a Rosary. Updates Soon!”

In Massachusetts, there only one problem that I have seen and that is when we have a speaker who is opposed to gay marriage in a public place and it attracts many gay protesters who mostly stay on the edge of the event (police patrol both gay and straight events) but there are always groups that filtrate into the crowd and even then it is only one or two that cause some problem(shouting and pushing someone) but I don’t believe anyone has been arrested. Sure they make many comments but so what.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit