Christian Evangelist James Deferio Sues to Proclaim the Word of God in High Volume

150px-megaphone-redTraveling Christian evangelist James Deferio believes what is “noise” to some is “salvation” to others. He is challenging the application of the noise ordinance against his preaching in the city of Ithaca, New York. It is part of a trend of evangelists challenging such ordinances.

Under the ordinance, you must keep your noise to below the level where it is audible beyond twenty-five feet. He was found to have violated that standard twice in August and has now sued.

His complaint cites the 2006 decision of the United States Court of Appeals striking down this type of restriction. In Deegan v. City of Ithaca, et al, the court ruled in favor of James Deferio in his challenge to enforcement in Ithaca, N.Y. Deegan was awarded his legal fees, which came to about $100,000, and a dollar in damages.

Notably, in the Deegan complaint the plaintiffs pointed out that others in the area in talking and were left alone by police.

Presumably, it is the rigid scope of this ordinance and its selective enforcement that remains the problem. Cities have been upheld in the application of time, place, and manner restrictions, including limitations on religious speech in past cases under nuisance laws and municipal regulations. See here and here. Nuisance, however, has been used by intolerant individuals to prevent the establishment of mosques and other religious facilities, as here.

Here is the Deferio Complaint.

For the full story, click here.

2 thoughts on “Christian Evangelist James Deferio Sues to Proclaim the Word of God in High Volume”

  1. I’ll be honest, I hate hearing cars drive by with loud music. I would also hate hearing someone drive around speaking on a loud megaphone. I don’t care what they’re saying, whether it’s religious, political, a business, or just someone ranting about something.

    If he wants to reach people and bring them to God, this is not the way to do it. To me, a preacher like that would appear showy. And he’s wrong to sue, because he’s just trying to prove a point and he’s not doing it for the right reasons. If he were a good preacher, he’d re-read his Bible and know that that’s not what he should be doing.

    Not the kind of church I’d be running out to join, that’s for sure.

  2. While I want to see Deferio really dumped on and the court rule in the city’s favor, selective enforcement not only undermines law enforcement,it violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. In early 2005 I endured four months of howling amplified music from Jaxson’s Ice Cream, three blocks away.

    The police hemmed and hawed, made lame excuses and seemingly could do nothing. I needed to go all the way to a state legislator to get peace and quiet. Yet when I complained against rednecks or poor people, cops stopped the noise at once.

    Monroe Udell, the owner of Jaxson’s, is a longtime resident and a big shot in Dania. I cannot explicitly accuse without proof, but it certainly looked like the old man was getting special treatment. Sheriff Ken Jenne of the police, who went to jail for corruption two years later, also lives in Dania.

    Are Jenne and Udell personal friends, and did Jenne tell the cops to go easy in enforcing the law on Jaxson’s? Again, I have no concrete evidence. But in a small town like ours, the big shots often function like a herd of farmer’s swine all eating from the same swill-trough.

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