An outspoken road preacher is interesting to the Oklahoma Supreme Courtroom after he was slapped with a five-year restraining order that threatened him with jail time if he speaks out in opposition in opposition to a neighborhood LGBTQ advocacy group.
Wealthy Penkoski, a pastor who heads up the net group Warriors for Christ and has protested drag exhibits for kids nationwide, advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital that he believes the restraining order is unconstitutional and will herald a authorized precedent that would chill the speech of Christians and others.
“I have been preaching in opposition to this sort of stuff for years when it first began in libraries,” he mentioned of drag queen story time for kids. “We have been telling folks it is going to worsen if we do not do something, and that is the place we’re.”
Penkoski mentioned he was invited by a church in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, to evangelise exterior a neighborhood Pleasure occasion final fall after different native church buildings failed to talk out in opposition to it.
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Penkoski additionally posted a public picture of the same-sex wedding ceremony of Sheena Hayes and Morgan Lawrence-Hayes, who’s the manager board president of the Bartlesville chapter of Oklahomans for Equality.
In his publish, Penkoski referenced Bible verses condemning homosexuality, together with Romans 1:32 – “and though they know the ordinance of God, that those that observe such issues are worthy of demise, they not solely do the identical but additionally give hearty approval to those that observe them.”
The pastor additionally cited Matthew 18:6, which quotes Jesus saying that “whoever causes one in every of these little ones who imagine in me to stumble, it could be higher for him to have a heavy millstone hung round his neck, and to be drowned within the depth of the ocean.”
In a police report filed by an officer who serves on the board of Oklahomans for Equality in Bartlesville, the couple felt threatened and harassed by Penkoski’s social media posts, in keeping with native outlet V1SUT. Washington County District Courtroom Choose Linda Thomas granted the couple a five-year protecting order in opposition to Penkoski after they claimed they felt unsafe in Bartlesville due to the pastor.
The group didn’t reply to Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital’s request for remark.
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Penkoski made two extra posts wherein he expressed his disapproval of a number of Pleasure occasions in Bartlesville. In a single publish, he criticized native Disciples Christian Church for sharing images of youngsters celebrating Pleasure Month final June.
Within the different publish, he aimed to disprove an announcement made by a neighborhood LGBTQ chief who claimed throughout a Metropolis Council assembly that no adult-oriented leisure, obscenity or sexually suggestive performances occurred on the Pleasure occasion, which Penkoski maintained to be false.
Penkoski, who has a large social media following, mentioned he posted a video of the chief’s assertion intercut with footage of a drag queen close to youngsters in the course of the Pleasure occasion. The video, which confirmed “a drag queen grabbing his crotch and gyrating it in entrance of youngsters,” was pulled from each Fb and YouTube for being obscene, he mentioned.
Penkoski, who has youngsters starting from 3 years outdated to twenty, mentioned he “felt moved by God” to oppose drag occasions involving youngsters. He mentioned he has acquired a number of demise threats and that his property has been vandalized throughout his authorized battle with the LGBTQ group.
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John Whitehead, a constitutional lawyer and president of the Charlottesville, Virginia-based Rutherford Institute that’s representing Penkoski, advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital that the pastor’s case “is certainly about free speech.” They argue that the restraining order in opposition to Penkoski is “obscure and overly broad.”
Whitehead mentioned the Rutherford Institute, which represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment declare in opposition to former President Invoice Clinton, took on Penkoski’s case as a result of they imagine it might set a harmful precedent that would chill the speech of Christians or anybody else who publicly opposes LGBTQ ideology.
“I believe what we’re saying is that citing a Bible verse may very well be a criminal offense at a sure level in america,” the lawyer mentioned.
Each Penkoski and Whitehead advised Alokito Mymensingh 24 Digital that his case is probably going the primary of its variety.
“Different Christians have messaged me, and so they mentioned so far as we will inform, you’re the first Christian in America to be threatened with jail for posting Bible verses vital of same-sex marriage or drag exhibits,” Penkoski mentioned.
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Whitehead, who based the Rutherford Institute in 1982, mentioned Penkoski by no means threatened violence in opposition to his accusers and that Penkoski’s case is symptomatic of eroding freedoms within the U.S.
“The First Modification is the only real savior of America, and what I am seeing in America as we speak with all of the wokeness and political correctness is that individuals are afraid to talk,” Whitehead mentioned.
“Free speech is so vital. It raises vital considering and makes folks assume and perhaps rethink a few of the issues they’re doing, so I believe folks like Richard Penkoski are very, crucial in our society,” he added.
Whitehead mentioned that if Penkoski fails in his attraction, the First Modification is “lifeless,” which he believes “would open [the] door for persecution, clearly.”
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“He quotes what Jesus Christ says, OK? If that is a criminal offense, then we’re in a foul state on this nation,” he added.