Civil Rights
Protesting Preachers

A group of preachers is engaged in an almost year-long legal dispute over whether they can preach on the streets of Beaufort, South Carolina.

A city ordinance passed last October that prohibits “willful” disturbances involving “loud and unseemly noise” has led to the arrests of about 50 protesting preachers, who have challenged the arrests in a case now pending in federal court. Karl Baker, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, told the New York Times the problem is that Beaufort has a country club mentality and does not like the “redneck” preachers on its streets.

But local storekeepers say the problem is not what they say, but how loud they say it. Merchant Nancy Rhett said her husband once tested the volume of a street preacher on a sound meter and found it registered 80 decibels, the equivalent of a loud orchestra. Local preacher Wayne Williamson counters, “The Bible tells you to go to the highways and byways and tell the people to come.”

Soul Count

What would happen if local churches and parachurch groups nationwide organized on the same day to evangelize their neighborhoods? On September 20, the “National Evangelistic Census” hopes to win 25 million new converts to Christ with its interdenominational effort.

Participating churches will send evangelistic teams out door-to-door, presenting a gospel message and taking responsibility for follow-up and discipleship of new believers. A six-hour, prime-time, nationally televised “Soul-A-Thon” will tally the number of new converts. Over 45 denominations have committed to the census. Among the groups supporting the project are Youth with a Mission, Women’s Aglow, TEEN MANIA, and Campus Crusade for Christ, as well as the USA Radio Network and ...

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