Can't Understand Why This Is Allowed
I moved to Roseburg, Oregon. The Jehovah's Witnesses are allowed to set up a display and man it right outside of the local library, and they are there every day and hour the library is open. I have never seen any religious group allowed to do something like this.
I sent an inquiry to the county library and received the following response to my personal email:December 17, 2015
I am [redacted], the director of the Douglas County Library System and wanted to respond to your website email of December 11, 2015. I have consulted with the county attorney’s office about your concern about Jehovah’s Witnesses’ use of the front porch of the library building in Roseburg, and my understanding of the law is as follows.
The front porch of the library building is a traditional public forum. Because the building is owned and operated by the government, the government cannot make decisions about who can and who cannot use the public forum based on the content of the message that the user wishes to convey. This is not a separation between church and state (or Establishment Clause) issue, because the government is not endorsing the speaker’s message. Rather, it is a Freedom of Speech issue.
The government can regulate the time, place, and manner of the use. We do that in order to avoid conflicting scheduling. We also require that users not block or hinder access to or recess from the building. We also do not want users to harass our patrons. So far as I know, the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ use of the front porch of the library has complied with all of these non-content-based requirements.
If you wish to make arrangements to use another portion of the front porch of the library building yourself, you certainly may. As with other users, we will not make a decision about whether or not to allow your use based on the content of your message. Feel free to contact me in order to make such arrangements.
Douglas County Library System
I do not understand how this can be allowed. Does anyone have any useful information? I would love to set up something with "apostate" literature.
Often thought of that. Anti witnessing literature as such.
It doesn't appear they are doing anything they consider to be wrong, it's just no one else sees it as a valuable use of their time or a way to promote their faith.
Like it or not, they view it as freedom of speech. As such, they will not 'infringe' that freedom of the Witnesses. I would suggest if that irritates you, you can always set up your own Anti Witnessing cart as previously suggested. Or, if you are active in another religion, have them set up their own.
I think you got your answer in the response from the library. In this country everybody, including Witnesses have freedom of speech. The library is a public space and they can't kick people off the property for exercising their free speech rights. Here in Washington they also have the freedom to set up in other types of public areas, such as the sidewalk at the mall, so long as they are out of the way.
It would be interesting if enough displays and g.o.d. s (Guardians Of the Display)s start crowding out the patrons.
Would they allow hate speech? Because that is what the message about the LGBT community is from the witnesses.
You could meet with the city attorney and have hard copy original witness publications which discuss their view and treatment of homosexuality, shunning and apostates. Perhaps that would change the city attorneys mind. Hate speech is probably not allowed.
Your county is right on the money.
I would seriously doubt they are using hate speech. From what I understand they dont really talk unless spoken to. Why not bring up gay marriage and have a discussion with them about it right in the public square? Let them sound ridiculous in front of people passing by.
Why shouldn't they be allowed the same free speech rights as everyone else?
Anyway, it's not like they ever actually convert anyone anymore, or even collect much money. This has got to be one of the most unfruitful activities they could possibly engage in. I say let them waste their time standing around and get on with your own life.