Monday, September 17, 2012

Decadence Report, laboring on Labor Day:

After 5 days in Tampa we started heading towards New Orleans for the second leg of this outreach as missionaries to America.  The reason we did New Orleans was an event called ‘Southern Decadence’ as this annual event would be considered a Mardi Gras for sodomites.
For anyone who has never preached at this event, allow me to explain it to you or give you a visual.  If you have preached against a sodomite parade, that would be like preaching to animals while they are inside the cage.  Preaching at ‘Southern Decadence’ is going inside the cage with that animal. 
Now Hurricane Isaac had hovered over the New Orleans area while we were preaching in Tampa and this category one storm hit the Louisiana coast on the seventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.  Yes, these storms and ‘Ivan’ hit during ‘Southern Decadence’ and this is not in the news? Who says there is No God, coincidence you think?   With ‘Isaac’ gone when we arrived, there was damage in New Orleans but these sinners were still going to have their day, which means we would be there too. 
And for the record, the name ‘Isaac’ in Hebrew means "laughter" or "to laugh," perhaps God is trying to say something….you think?
“The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet”
We worked with two Churches in New Orleans, one that will house us and other that we will use for water and air-condition in the French Quarter after preaching in the hot humid weather as we will be working with a number of other street preachers at this event. 
We noticed a few National Guard vehicles riding into New Orleans and we can see damaged signs, stores and debris tossed around from the storm.  Even the Church that housed us had lost power and was running on a generator as we arrived in New Orleans late at night.
However several Brothers were preaching on Bourbon Street and of course that area had to have electricity.  They were told by police on one street that they could ‘use the banners but not the megaphone’ and another section of the street, ‘no megaphone and the banners were fine’ and yet other areas on Bourbon no one said anything. 
The next morning we went inside the police department within the French Quarter and asked if the rules have changed as their seemed to be confusion from the police on the street and I wanted to get things clarified.  We talked and were told that there was nothing new as far as laws that was going to be enforced, so we took the officers card and went to work on the streets. 

When we started on Bourbon Street it was still open to traffic and we had two groups walking the area.  After I dropped off the second group and was parking our van, I was already getting a phone call from the New Orleans police of problems on Bourbon Street.  I spoke with the officer and when I arrived on the street we met and talked.  He was not going to cite or arrest anyone but told me that he was waiting for someone to come down and make that call.  It was daylight and I just moved everyone from an intersection to the inside of Bourbon Street as it was now officially closed for foot traffic only.  It was later that we went to the church to cool down from the heat and I was told that a police commander would contact me.
“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind”
Well, that never happened, I never got that phone call.  So after our cool down break, we again split up into two groups as group ‘A’ was going to walk Bourbon Street and group ‘B’ would preach around Jackson Square. 
Before I begin to write about the nine street preachers arrested, I personally do not remember how many times I have been arrested around our beloved country, I loss count how many times I have been detained or cited for open air preaching on a public sidewalk,  In my 30 plus year service to the Lord, I’ve never had ONE conviction. 
“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them who suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body”
Hebrews 13:3

When we are told not to forget those in prison, it is not to bake a cake for the rapist doing time or send a birthday card to a convicted murderer, this is fine and God bless your work if this is where the Lord has moved you to minister.  But these verses are written for those that are sitting in jails and prisons now for their faith. REMEMBER THEM. 
"The salutation by the hand of me Paul.  Remember my bonds" 
Many of men in the Old Testament were persecuted for their faith and what they preached.  John the Baptist sat in jail for calling out the kings sin.  Our Lord stood before courts and warned His disciples of the same as fruit of their belief and we read this in the book of Acts.  These men we read about were jailed for their faith and even warned not to preach.  Much of the New Testament was written from a jail cell and one can read words like ‘bonds’ and ‘chains’ yet today in America it is foreign and if you are arrested, some believe you deserved it.
That night, nine men tasted of that verse where Paul wore bonds .   As we walked the sodomite area and was now heading towards the regular drunks on Bourbon Street where we were  confronted by the New Orleans police department and the lieutenant (the officer in charge) gave me a piece of paper that had a new code on it and told me I would be arrested if I did not leave Bourbon Street now. 
This law is labeled “Aggressive Solicitation” which specifically reads the law bans loitering on Bourbon to spread “any social, political or religious message between the hours of sunset and sunrise.”  City ordinance, section S4:419 and if convicted could be fined $500.00 and or imprisoned for not more than 6 months.  Yes, this in America 2012, where one can not walk on one of the wickedest streets in America with a sign that reads ‘JESUS’ on it.  Anything else goes, but the name Jesus is not allowed.
While I was talking to the officer in charge, brother Gary gave the megaphone to street preacher Justin as he was rushed by police and put to the ground.  I was told that anyone with a sign would also go to jail, but we continued to walk Bourbon Street another block and it was there the police were waiting, mounted police moved the crowd away from us as the National Guard stood by watching seven (7) more men arrested for holding a sign that reads “JESUS” and charged with “Aggressive Solicitation.”
Gary and Justin were also charged with “Aggressive Solicitation” and resisting an officer and Justin was accused punching an officer.  Now we do have two video cameras that were filming and both cameras do not match anyone resisting an officer or punching an officer.  But what else is new?  Did not our Lord tell us these things were going to happen?
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”
Matthew 5:10-11
Here is a clip where I was given the code on a piece of paper and two men were arrested, as we walked another block, where seven more were arrested and see all the police and National Guard.  Get use to this visual if you are a active Christian or think you are a beep on the radar.
We do have much more footage but can not expose it yet as that footage is sent to our lawyer and will be used in court but I can say those extra charges on Justin and Gary do not match any video.  As this is the very reason we have cameras and why some police officers do not want you to film them.  It is your right:
Need a visual on what Law vs. Grace looks like?
There is nothing like sitting in a jail cell for your faith and I am honored that these men did not fall to the ground as a protester crying like a baby, or did they yell or scream of their rights being violated.  Instead these men were arrested with their heads held high and walked from Bourbon Street to the police station on Royal Street in the French Quarters.  They marched in a straight line with horses ahead of them and behind them and officers walking next to them.  They carried their banners all the way to jail, without a word.  This is a living example of how to be arrested without crying that an officer grabbed you and that you have rights. 
Honored to be involved with such men.  We met with everyone at the local Church to regroup and we did not go out there with more signs or again that would only be considered protesters and we are preachers.  We needed to start finding out what these men are charged with and where they are being taken or were they going to cited and released.   I spoke with the officer in charge at the precinct and he told me that they were going to city jail.  They would not be cited and released but sent to city the jail.  Instantly, I was on the phone with local brethren and a lawyer from Detroit (James Elsman,) who has worked with us for years.  He called the officer in charge and spoke to him about releasing at least 7 of the nine men and our banners but the officer seemed to want to make a statement and send all 9 men to the city jail.
Being Saturday night in New Orleans, this could take hours before they were processed and charged.  We called the bondsman but again they were no where in the system.  Now the nine men were transferred via a paddy wagon where they sang hymns and when they were placed in the booking area, did what street preachers do.  They preached and ministered inside the large cell.  While they were starting their ‘jail ministry’ we were working on getting them out and in the big city this takes time. 
Early in the morning we found out what they were charged with and how much bond is needed to get them out.  We needed to get some $2,200.00 dollars, cash to start the process of getting them out.  But this time the arrest had gone over the internet via emails and facebook and money was raised within minutes.  We had many praying and other willing to send money to help get these men released. 

It was about Sunday noonish that we got a call, they were out and waiting for us in the lobby, so we drove out to get our boys and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for the Name JESUS.  The picture below was taken at the waiting area where 8 of the 9 men were released.  Brother Caesar was released after a few hours.

Freedom is good. The photo below was taken as the nine street preachers walked out of jail, tried and hungry.  If anyone every sat in a jail cell, it is a revolving door of people who were framed, or who were falsely arrested, who did not know that gun was under their seat, or those drugs did not belong to them.  They are innocent of driving while drunk or the police department is just racist, but these Bible Believers were guilty.  GUILTY of preaching Jesus THE Christ at night on Bourbon Street.  
“Hearken unto me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings”
Isaiah 51:7
Their court date was on Tuesday afternoon as we had legal counsel to enter a plea of ‘Not Guilty’ on all charges and they now have a court hearing in November.  We will have a Free Speech Champion named Rick Nelson from the 'American Liberties Institute' who will remove the criminal matter and sue the city and remove that law from the books.  Keep this in prayer as we have the Super Bowl and Mardi Gras which are back to back next February and this law must be removed as we plan on preaching in those same streets at night giving light into darkness.
“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you” 
After all the men were released, we headed out towards Charlotte N.C to preach at the DNC.  I have known street preachers who have been arrested and had issues with the Church they attended because they believe they should have not been arrested, as this brings shame to the Name of Jesus.  I do not know what Bible they are reading but not only do we have verses that warn we will be jailed but we have numerous examples.
Persecution and jail is fruit of true Christianity. This is not something new to anyone who reads the Bible as the writer of Hebrews writes;“And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” Hebrews11:36-37


God seemed to use us as we were willing to challenge this law.  We not only believe in what we do but are willing to get arrested as we contend for the faith as the many before us did.  Christianity is not a Sunday thing, it is a lifetime of exploits as we fellowship with these who love not their lives to death.  The Bible is not a read we read, but taste as it is good.
"O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him"
Here are but a few news articles written up about the arrest, click the link to read the full story.
-Washington Post-
Street preachers oppose law they say keeps them off Bourbon Street after dark:
“.....Have you ever been on Bourbon Street? There on Bourbon Street, you have nude pictures trying to entice people in. That would be my definition of aggressive solicitation,” said street preacher Ruben Israel, a familiar sight on Bourbon during Mardi Gras and the gay Southern Decadence festival held over Labor Day....”
Nine preachers arrested at Southern Decadence

Preachers, activists arrested during Southern Decadence to challenge ban:
“Nine preachers and activists who were arrested Sept. 1 after they allegedly yelled slurs against gays at the Southern Decadence festival in the French Quarter plan to sue the city of New Orleans over the constitutionality of part of its ordinance banning "aggressive solicitation" in the Quarter, said the group's Los Angeles-based leader, Ruben Israel. The law, passed in 2011, prohibits "any person or group of persons to loiter or congregate on Bourbon Street for the purpose of disseminating any social, political or religious message" after dark....”
-Huffington Post-
Southern Decadence Arrests: 9 Anti-Gay Preachers Nabbed For Disrupting New Orleans Celebration:
“A number of Christian fundamentalists may have claimed that gay revelers in town for Southern Decadence somehow prompted Hurricane Isaac's dangerous weather in New Orleans last week. As it turns out, New Orleans has little tolerance for anti-gay rhetoric, too, as nine preachers were arrested for "suspicion of aggressive solicitation" on Saturday after yelling homophobic epithets during a Southern Decadence demonstration…..”
The Preach report from Charlotte the last leg of our mission coming soon as here is a upcoming clip from the DNC and more preach clips from Tampa and New Orleans coming soon as well.