Last night the Stand True Missionaries went sidewalk chalking at 3:30 in the morning, covering the streets and sidewalks of Troy with pro-life messages for the Gentlemen of the Road, Mumford and Sons Festival.
We have done this for many events and it is perfectly legal; we even spoke to the police as we were chalking. The city had the street sweeper come to try and wash away the chalk but it did not work. The street sweeper came and apologized to us saying he agreed with us. He said he was praying for us while he was forced to try and wash away the messages. When we came back in the morning the chalk had been power washed away throughout the whole downtown.
I was approached by the Captain of the police department and informed that if we chalked again today or tomorrow we would be arrested. I asked him why and he told me that the downtown area has been given to Jam Management for the weekend and that we no longer had free speech rights here. I asked about our property which is downtown and inside festival grounds; he told me we could not chalk there either.
I called our lawyers and we went back to the police and were given the rights to chalk on our sidewalk but that the rest of downtown was off limits.
The Captain told me that the city passed a temporary ordinance giving control to the festival and that we should have been informed of this. I explained that we would be asking our lawyers to research the legality of this ordinance. We can not allow our rights to be taken away and we will fight this if the ordinance is not legal.
For now we have our huge pro-life display up and will be ministering to people in front of our office all weekend. Please pray for our outreach; we will keep you posted on developments.