Georgia Man Threatens to Sue if He Can’t Tell Strangers’ Children About Jesus

via The Raw Story religion-is-like-a-penis-mens-heavyweight-tee_design

A Georgia man is threatening to sue the city of Ringgold after he claims his constitutional rights were violated by police last Friday night, when officials asked him to stop bothering strangers’ children about his beliefs in the Christian deity figure Jesus Christ.

Cleveland, GA resident Daryl Banther and his 8-year-old son were reportedly handing out religious pamphlets and questionnaires at an annual celebration in Ringgold when he was confronted by the city manager and chief of police, who interrupted his proselytizing because a parent filed a police report about a strange man in the parking lot approaching children.

He left after repeated requests and was not arrested, but Banther vowed to return the next day. He then contacted the media and informed a reporter for WTVC-TV that he did just as promised, returning on Saturday night to find that he was not hassled at all.

Appearing on camera, he claimed that Christians no longer have any rights in America, then seemed aghast that an atheist could possibly file a lawsuit to force government officials to stop showing a preference for a religion.

“They were all harassing me because I have a constitutional right to do what I was doing,” Banther insisted. “If I’m anything else, I have rights,” he said. “…But as a Christian, we have rights no more. They’re taking all the Christian rights away and I’m going to stand for what’s right this time.”

The city told the station in a prepared statement that the event, the 1890s Day Jamboree, has “established procedures” for participation, like getting approval to put on any kind of exhibit. “Those exhibiting must have prior approval, and have a booth to operate the activity they are conducting,” the statement explained.

Despite the man’s insistence that America has taken all the rights away from Christians, the city-sponsored event last Friday evening was a southern gospel music festival, featuring The Heritage Quartet among others.

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  • doodahman

    See, that’s the bullshit here. As long as the gov’t allows some fool “gospel music” show, that’s respecting freedom of religion. But to try and spread your religion, which, despite the paranoid delusions of some very sensitive atheist, is what religions do, well that’s some kind of crime. Had he been handing out pamphlets for more funding for Planned Parenthood, why that’s fine, that’s protected speech. But mention Jesus and now it’s some kind of assault. Whatever. I understand many secularists confuse religiotainment with actual religion. But that doesn’t mean you get to shut people up about it. If you or your child is so weak minded that even a discussion about religion is some kind of assault on them, you have far more serious problems than this guy.
    And to be clear, I don’t care what religion anyone is or if they have any. Atheists are equally entitled to hand out pamphlets and talk to people about their views without some religious person accusing them of assault. But this notion that somehow religion is inherently threating is nonsense. I mean, nice try, but give it up.

    • echar

      I bet the gospel music show is more likely to get followers than some dude scaring the kids with his thought virus.

    • Matt Staggs

      Do you think you’d feel different if some kind of Kool-Aid drinking cultist was badgering your child and his or her friends at a public event? For the record, I’m very much in favor of not being bothered by anyone with pamphlets about pretty much anything at public events. My local municipal government throws on country and Jesus jamborees that are open to the public and I avoid them like the plague.

    • Audio7

      Your atheist example of equal treatment of all religion rings hollow. Atheists most likely would not hand out pamphlets in public, and if they did, they’d be probably be blank.

      • InfvoCuernos

        There is actually a “secular outreach” that meets in Balboa Park in San Diego every Saturday. I don’t know what their pamphlets look like, but I bet they don’t condemn anyone to hell for their behavior.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      I see what you’re saying and the thing that comes to mind is the Muslim concept for a polytheist, shirk, where they in no way differentiate between atheists and polytheists. In this sense atheists are by definition fractured each holding different things as the holiest of holy.

      The main difference is they deny the usage of spiritual language (my previous use of “holy” of course is unforgivable in an atheistic sense despite it being perfectly understandable). Atheists believe they cannot be defined as a religion because they deny the language that religions use, which has led to interesting quirks unique to atheism.

      I say all this, but I am also a shirk.

    • Haystack

      What makes you so sure that he was singled out for religious reasons, and not because of the manner in which he was approaching people? I find it easy to imagine that if he had been handing out pamphlets favoring Planned Parenthood in a really badgering, insistent way, to children as well as to adults, that the police would just as likely have stopped him.

      I’ve never understood why Christians seem so ready to claim that they’re being singled out for unfair treatment in a society that is, itself, overwhelmingly Christian. Odds are, the cop who hassled him was Christian himself.

      Granted, I think that he may have a legitimate argument that his free speech was infringed. I just find it absurd to suppose that he was singled out simply because his message was religious.

      • echar

        This begs the question, how many people get a piece of paper handed to them and they think… You know what, this is the answer?

        Canvassing and flying leaflets is the dregs of sales. I’d rather do cold calling, because at least you are sitting in an office, or at home.

        Also, this dude should take a cue from the universe ( God, sky beard, etc) if you are getting this kind of feedback, then take it. Clearly he is doing it wrong. Entitled, indeed.

    • Dingbert

      That is one reason all Christians should fight to protect the separation of church and state just as much as any Atheist. That wall protects everyone from the tyranny of the majority, whoever they may be.

      • echar

        Even if the majority think that someone handing out papers telling you God hates fags, or the tamer You are going to hell don’t want their day ruined?

        Do you want some seven mountain dominionist telling your kids that they or their parents are sinners?

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oxf8To4dh8Y

      • Calypso_1

        You are conflating the establishment clause w/the free exercise clause and the established limitations of the latter. No majority attempted to prevent this individual from engaging in a religious practice within the confines of their place of worship or home. The individual has limited rights within the public sphere. This was not public free speech but individually targeted speech which may constitute harrasment given the effect on targeted individuals.

  • echar

    They must have been all out of wood, because this poor guy trying to spread his thought virus didn’t get burned at the steak.

  • Audio7

    Apparently being the majority religion in the USA where the only religious holidays celebrated nationally are Xian isn’t enough for its adherents to disavow the belief they are still being persecuted.

    • InfvoCuernos

      Xtians are the original sufferers of persecution complex. Just look at many of their saints. They venerate martyrdom in the name of the “word”. Never mind their own loooooong history of persecuting EVERYBODY else.

  • BuzzCoastin

    instead of suing
    maybe Jethro could pray about it
    and then Jebus could intervene on his behalf

    it is interesting that God is such a bad communicator
    that H/She needs Jethro to spread the Word

    • echar

      S/He needs a new publicist, for sure. Poor sky beard needs new worshipers.

  • RayJ

    Why is it ok for We Are Change to hand out pamphlets in a public space but not this Christian guy? Obviously if he was actually harrassing people (I.e. doing something we would object to if you removed the christian pamphlets from the equation) then that would be different but this sounds like he was just talking to people about what he believes in.
    “Your (Ethnic identity, or Interracial marriage, Homosexual relationship, Political opinion, Favorite sports team, or Disdain for religion)
    is
    like a Penis…
    Its ok to have one and be proud of it
    …but don’t whip it out in public
    or try to shove it down my kids throats”
    Bigoted right?

    • echar

      I don’t think it’s ok for WAC to hand out fliers, because I view their message as extreme and as false as this guy. Both are trying to make a profit from something they have faith in, and want you to have faith in them.

      One asks for donations on a plate on Sunday, the other asks for donations in a video and on a website. An annoyance at best, harassment maybe, and at worst a scourge to society.

      • RayJ

        Why does your view of their message have anything to do with whether they can have free speech? Isn’t that kind of the point of free speech?
        For empathy practice: Imagine some guy was handing out pamphlets in a public space about how religions just want to take your money and how we should all forget about this scourge and a religious person called the cops who came and made him leave and stop doing it. Wouldn’t you think that was probably bad?
        Or what if someone started censoring your comments on this message board?

        • echar

          I’d ignore him, but if I had kids I’d be protective of them. But this isn’t about free speech is it? otherwise you wouldn’t have attempted to stifle it with this:

          “Your (Ethnic identity, or Interracial marriage, Homosexual
          relationship, Political opinion, Favorite sports team, or Disdain for
          religion)
          is
          like a Penis…
          Its ok to have one and be proud of it
          …but don’t whip it out in public
          or try to shove it down my kids throats”
          Bigoted right?

          • RayJ

            Try reading my posts about five more times and see if you understand them before you respond.

          • echar

            I understand the presuppositions I also know a concern troll when I see one.

          • RayJ

            I picked a selection of groups that lots of people don’t like to see stomped on even if they wouldn’t mind seeing it of religious people to try to show you how it feels to be told to shut up and keep it to yourself. Hell, the homosexuality example was almost a perfect parallel (ever heard of don’t ask don’t tell?). I also used language from your own post to give you an example of a position I figured you would be favorable towards being suppressed in the same way as the subject of this article. Maybe you didn’t fail to understand me and I just failed to presuppose that these groups are somehow inherently more deserving of freedom of expression than religious people and WAC?

          • echar

            I answered you above.

      • Andrew

        Are you saying that free speech doesn’t apply to lies?

        • echar

          Can’t tell if this is a trick question.

          I am saying the message isn’t worth the cost of the paper it was printed on.

          • https://www.facebook.com/cuthbert.bodkins Threedinium

            It’s a shame, the bible seems to take on a beautiful poetry when not viewed through the eyes of the victim.

          • echar

            That’s not the bible, it’s a monster pieced together. Truncated, perverted, and malformed. But that’s not what I meant, I was talking about leaflets and such. Any more pot shots?

          • https://www.facebook.com/cuthbert.bodkins Threedinium

            I’m not challenging your point about proselytism. I’m expressing how differently I’ve been viewing the text recently, and partially in relation to the last conversation we had. And yeah, there does seem to be a lot of moments where the poetry is interrupted or strangely contradictory. I’m trying to figure out where all the conditioning I just lost sprang from and I seem to be drawing me to the rise of abrahamic monotheism. I guess… people too busy focusing on the content and not the medium (or underlying action), and then also through the veil of insecurity and survival reflexes. The ‘malformations’ you speak of seem to be made through these fears.

          • echar

            There’s people who can express this better than I. I will try to be clear though. The conditioning is deeply ingrained in our culture. The creation myth alone is a program in which inserts presuppositions about polarities (right/wrong, good/evil, male/female, wisdom/ignorance, etc) depending on how one perceives this myth, depends oh now they understand or know the message. There are countless myths in all cultures which act as social scripts.

            I recommend reading (if you have not already)

            The Laughing Jesus: Religious Lies and Gnostic Wisdom by Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

            http://tinyurl.com/lynzkwd

            Prometheus Rising by Robert Anton Wilson and Israel Regardie

            http://tinyurl.com/lkxfar3

            There’s much more, but those two are good places to start. Also pardon if I am overstepping my bounds or misjudging this dialog.

          • https://www.facebook.com/cuthbert.bodkins Threedinium

            No that is helpful, thanks, I’m acutely aware of the mist on my glasses even if I can’t see through it right now. I have read Prometheus before but I’m sure it’ll read totally different (again lol). I’ll probably come back and ask again when I’ve read through those, I’m trying to get more experience of the “metaprogramming/neurogenetic” state as well but it’s tricky business.

          • echar

            You may appreciate:

            Meta-Magick: The Book of ATEM: Achieving New States of Consciousness Through NLP, Neuroscience and Ritual

            Philip H. Farber
            http://tinyurl.com/jvwjgml

            Also this

            http://www.meta-magick.com/

          • https://www.facebook.com/cuthbert.bodkins Threedinium

            Oh thanks again. I did in fact try to document as much as I could while it was all going on, I’m working on shaping up my language and attention to detail:
            http://bit.ly/14JFJ0L
            http://bit.ly/11MSoOs

          • echar

            In reply to your most recent message. It was auto-flagged for some reason.

            Thanks I will read it over and listen :)
            *bookmarked

          • echar

            Is this music yours?

            I am an instant fan.

          • https://www.facebook.com/cuthbert.bodkins Threedinium

            I can’t help feeling a small twinge of pride, but I’d more honestly say it’s the music of all of us. I was in the ‘everything is synchronous’ place and I wanted to capture it.

  • Dingbert

    Who could forget those very first elegant words of the Bill of Rights?

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of penises, or prohibiting the whipping out thereof; or abridging the freedom of trying to shove it down kids’ throats . . . “

  • sonicbphuct

    not to point out the obvious, but the complaint filed was a man harassing children. That he happened to be harassing them about christ is irrelevant. his free speech was not infringed. had he been asking them to join a cult that worships sex with children, there would likely have been a second “charge” (even though it says he wasn’t charged with anything). So, sorry – forget the free speech issue. Stop harassing kids.

    • echar

      Bingo!

    • RayJ

      Anyone can file a complaint about anything, it doesn’t mean he was harassing children. The fact that he wasn’t charged with anything is pretty telling that what the accuser meant by harassment is closer to what most of us would call speaking things the accuser didn’t want to hear. If he was really harassing people why didn’t the police and city manager come to stop him the second day? that’s pretty irresponsible of them not to but I am sure they can just use the video tape from the camera crew that was there the second day to convict him of his heinous crimes.

      • echar

        His crime is in claiming persecution.

        • RayJ

          If anyone committed a crime here it was either the police officer and city manager who unlawfully used their authority as public officials to disrupt a man lawfully exercising his right to free speech in a public space or the person who called the cops and falsely accused him of harassment.

          • echar

            I’d like to refer you to a much more eloquent speaker than I.

            Calypso_1 said this in reply to another
            (I hope you don’t mind Calypso_1)

            You are conflating the establishment clause w/the free exercise clause and the established limitations of the latter. No majority attempted to prevent this individual from engaging in a religious practice within the confines of their place of worship or home. The individual has limited rights within the public sphere. This was not public free speech but individually targeted speech which may constitute harassment given the effect on targeted individuals.

            Just so you understand, I could give two shits what this Georgia man worships. He could worship a man that fucks grapefruits for all I care. If he handed me a flier in a public place I’d hand it back and tell him I am not interested.

            If he refused to take the hint I’d tell him to fuck off. What I do take offense to is his bullshit claim of Christians having no rights anymore. What he really means is that they can no longer do whatever they want anymore.

            I guarantee you that if a pagan was to show up somewhere and was to hand out fliers on how to smudge against the evil’s of christianity that they would get some trouble. Just take a look at the West Memphis 3. They were accused of murder and 1 was placed on death row just because they wore black in the middle of the satanic panic.

          • RayJ

            Free speech is only within your own home? Seriously? So I guess the right to peaceably assemble is just for silent crowds then or the police can make them leave. The man in question did not go into a public space and practice his religious ritual of bigamy after which the state, because it had a compelling competing interest, made him stop. He went into a public space and talked to people about something that is important to him and tried to get them to read some pamphlets about it and then the authority of the state told him to shut up and go home.
            Just because you don’t like religion (an lets be honest here, you called it a scourge further down the page) doesn’t mean religious speach is some kind of special category of speech that is actually less free.
            I have never heard it anywhere before that it makes a difference whether your speech is a soliloque out loud or specifically to someone.
            Maybe a pagan would be treated the same way but that does not make it right and is just an ad hominem attack. I shouldn’t have to defend the behavior of every religious person that there ever was for us to agree on free speech.

          • echar

            I view religion as ancient technology that has long since surpassed it’s usefulness, and is now a detriment to the progress of society. You are correct, but this isn’t about free speech.

            It’s about some dude harassing some people;.After getting a slap on the wrist, making a ridiculous and vastly insulting claim. It’s not like christians have been known to be self righteous.

            If the dude lived up to his “faith”, he would take the message the universe (God, sky beard, etc.) has sent him, bury his pride, and move forward. And ye shall know them by their works right? Well his works got him a slap on the hand.

          • RayJ

            His works didn’t get him anything when there were cameras around the next day. Maybe he went too far with the persecution complex thing and maybe he didn’t but the question is whether what happened to him was right and it wasn’t. This is absolutely about free speech because it is an article that tries to get us to cheer when a particular group gets its right to free speech infringed upon.

          • echar

            That’s your perception, and you are welcome to it. I say the guy got off easier than most people his religion have persecuted for centuries. I will agree to disagree.

          • RayJ

            Do you have a different perception of why he had no problems doing the same thing the next day after he made things more public so it wasn’t just a city manager and police officer vs. him?
            Nice job getting in one more ad hominem before the agree to disagree.

          • echar

            I will ad hominem you shortly if you don’t get the hint.

          • RayJ

            I got it: You agree with me that this guy got his rights trampled on (unless he was doing something on the first day that we don’t know about) but don’t want to admit that you (like the author of the article) basically advocated taking away his right to free speech because you want to save face. I’m done but you don’t get to just say agree to disagree and have me drop something like this so it looks like we ended in a neutral place other than your one extra slap against religion.
            And I am not against ad hominem arguments because they are mean, I am against them because they are a logical fallacy that has no place in the discourse of adults.

          • charlotte9

            “And I am not against ad hominem arguments because they are mean, I am against them because they are a logical fallacy that has no place in the discourse of adults.”

            It may be illogical to presume that the character of the person in question is necessarily correlated with the content of their position, but whether or not you use ad hominem attacks in discourse, you DO use them (internally) to pre-judge others’, as to whether or not you find their position valid.

            Yes you do; no one is that “logical”.

            If I walked up to you wearing a glittery, silver, spandex costume and told you that the space people were coming, would you believe me? Would you be more likely to believe a man wearing a long, white coat? Whether or not you used an “ad hominem argument” out loud, you would have essentially engaged in a personal, internal dialogue which included an ad hominem argument before deciding whether or not to dismiss the claims outright, before even hearing the evidence.

            Judging the character of the person before hearing the evidence behind their position is an adaptive trait which has served humans well…as illogical and sometimes bigoted, racist, stereotyping, blah-dee-blah, as it can sometimes (okay, often) become…


            In any case, you and Echar are clearly arguing different points, anyway…Echar was making an emotion-based, metaphorical comment (the metaphor was in Echar’s referring to this Christian man’s claim of persecution as a “crime”, while Echar did not mean a literal crime; see?), while you insisted on treating his comment as though it were a logical position, subject to rules of “discourse of adults”, as you put it…

            My point is that Echar never claimed that he WAS engaged in a logical discourse, but was instead providing his personal, subjective opinion, which is likely tempered by his own experiences with Christians.

          • RayJ

            It is true that everyone has their own set of biases which subtly influence the way we think about things. It may even be the case that we can never free ourselves from to some extent acting irrationally but that does not mean that when we have the chance to look at the actual arguments in play we shouldn’t point out obvious logical fallacies. If we can’t at least try to make rational decisions why even talk at all? Maybe Echar and I should just trade variations on “ATHIESTS SUCK” and “NO CHRISTIANS SUCK” and never get anywhere but I think my way is better insofar as there actually being a point.

            As to you second point you are totally correct everything Echar said CAN basically be boiled down to his prejudice against Christians and desire to stick it to them whether doing so is right (or legal, or smart when thinking long term) or not. All I was looking to do was establish that to be the case and it looks like you got that just like he did.

          • charlotte9

            “If we can’t at least try to make rational decisions why even talk at all?”

            Well, that’s sort of the point I’m trying to make, but I don’t think I’m going to get anywhere with it…there is something to be said for expressing one’s emotion-based opinion without it being treated as though the opinion were meant to be a representation of a logical debate…but I’m a poet, so feel free to use that ad hominem bait. ;P

          • GolfFan

            Now let’s not forget about the difference between “his religion” and the false religion that did persecute for centuries. There has always been a false religion that appeared as truth. The bible warns us of that. You remember, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, The garden of Eden, During Jesus’s fast. Satan has always been there corrupting and tainting the truth. Sometimes it’s just a little bit at a time. He is methodical though. Kind of reminds me of how Obama works. Step by step he is trying to destroy our Christian nation. Piece by piece he is trying to strip our rights and lead us to a dictatorship. That’s a whole other topic though. Our country was founded by CHRISTIANS who were persecuted by these same “his religion” types. So, you can’t go around associating all Christians follow Jesus any more than you can assume that all people who go to McDonalds are hamburgers. You would really learn so much about your country by watching a movie out staring Kirk Cameron called “Monumental”. Check it out. I think you’ll be amazed at the facts you don’t know about.

  • http://www.humblewonderful.com/ Tony C.

    I’m not distracted by the mans religion. I reckon this is the consequence of some preppy tosser making a complaint unaware that the world they are building is exactly described here…

    “The city told the station in a prepared statement that the event, the 1890s Day Jamboree, has “established procedures” for participation, like getting approval to put on any kind of exhibit. “Those exhibiting must have prior approval, and have a booth to operate the activity they are conducting,” the statement explained.”

    Stupid control freak parent protecting their kid from harmless pamphleting because it conflicts with their values, leaving us with a world where only approved stall holders with permits or passive consumers can be in a public place.

    Today its a Christian nut, tomorrow its an anti-Mosanto pamphleter.

  • alizardx

    “strange man in the parking lot approaching children” – sounds accurate, what’s the problem? One wonders if Jesus was all he wanted to discuss.

    • RayJ

      Yeah that sounds most likely. Look at how he used the classic pedophile move of involving the media and making things as public as possible.

  • TadpoleJackson

    I wonder when religion will be extinguished? Not that it matters, people are always going to find something stupid be self righteous about.

  • Jonas Planck

    That’s odd… there’s a church right down the road from me and it hasn’t been closed by the government yet… in fact, people still OPENLY attend it! As if it was LEGAL or something! They don’t even HIDE the place! And they even put up sayings and Bible verses on signs and billboards… How did they manage to do that? Don’t they know that they “have no rights?”

  • GolfFan

    You should watch the movie “Monumental” staring Kirk Cameron. I’d have to wager that the movie would explain both views and clarify what is happening here in this scenario. Not to mention the future of this very subject. It’s really well done.

  • echar

    USA was not founded by Christians. Some of them were, some of them were not.

  • RayJ

    Well I hope you learned something that will help you be less of a hypocritical fascist in the future, if not less of a jerk