Michael Marcavage becomes just another guy with a bullhorn
"We are one of the very few countries that protect unpopular speech," Pennsylvania Common Pleas Judge Pamela Dembe declared today in dismissing charges against Repent America founder Michael Marcavage and three others accused of "ethnic intimidation," riot, and criminal conspiracy.

"Ethnic intimidation" in this case didn't have anything to do with ethnicity: That's Pennsylvania's name for its hate crime law—Marcavage and the others were protesting at the Outfest gay and lesbian festival last October. Marcavage said they were just reading Scripture and calling passsersby to repent. With a bullhorn. Oh, and refusing to obey police orders to move. In a recent newspaper interview, he reportedly said:

According to the Scriptures, it's the government's job to enforce God's law and to uphold his law, and the Bible talks about how, I don't want to really get into this — it'll make me sound like I'm crazy — but it does talk about how [homosexuals] are to be put to death. The wages of sin is death. But I want to make [it] clear that I'm not advocating the [independent] killing of homosexuals. … I'm saying that the government's duty is to uphold God's law. … I know that's harsh, but we have all broken the law, God's law, and we need to be held accountable.

After his arrest, Marcavage became a mini-celebrity among such groups as the American Family Association. But other groups, like Focus on the Family, gave his case little attention. Organizations like the American Civil Liberties Union and even gay advocacy groups said the arrests were unconstitutional, wrong, and bad tactics. Most agreed that the charges stood no chance in the court system.

And now that ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's editorial director. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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