VICTORY FOR THE PHILADELPHIA 11!
Charges Dismissed on Adults, Dropped on Lauren Murch
On Thursday, February 17th in the Court of Common Pleas
for the City of Philadelphia, Judge Pamela Dembe entertained a motion
from the Defendants to dismiss all remaining charges in the case of
the Philadelphia Eleven.
The Philadephia Eleven (Lauren Murch at far
sing a hymn of rejoicing right after charges were dropped.
This is the case in which eleven Christians, including our daughter,
17-year-old Lauren Murch, were arrested and charged with three felonies
and five misdemeanors for peacefully witnessing at OutFest, a homosexual
block party, sponsored by the City.
Charges had already been dropped on six of the adults. The remaining
four adults and Lauren still had charges against them. On Wednesday,
the Prosecutor in Lauren's case in Juvenile Court had indicated he would
drop the charges, but it had not been done officially done, and Lauren
and Bruce headed for Philadelphia.
Lauren Murch (center) rejoices outside City
Hall with two
new-found friends who came to show support for the Philly 11.
Judge Dembe, in granting the motion, stated the following, "That which
is unpopular now, may not always remain so. We cannot stifle free speech
because some don't want to hear it." In response to the outrageous claims
of the DA's office, the Judge said, "It is clear that there was no violence."
and "There were no threats."
She also referred back to Defense Attorney Scott Shields' reference
to William Penn, the Founder of Philadelphia who came to America to
escape religious persecution, saying that "here, of all places"
the right of free speech had to be protected.
Left: Michael Marcavage is interview by media
outside courthouse. Right: Sodomy supporters were also present. This
woman (we think) grabbed media attention by trying to claim that God
made her this way, and that our preaching is "hate speech".
Afterwards, directly outside the courthouse, the media crush began.
Local and national media outlets were present both in the courtroom
and on the sidewalk. Street Preacher Michael Marcavage whose group Repent
America organized this witness, has been a thorn in the side of
the Philadelphia Police for several years. A young man in his 20's,
Michael preaches full time in the streets of the City. Police were hoping
this case, the first time ever that their inclusion of "sexual
orientation" into their "Ethnic Intimidation" law was
used, would put Michael off the street permanently.
Pro-life Missionary Cal Zastrow preaches in
the street as the trial was in progress. He held a sign reading "The
Bible is NOT Hate Speech".
Cal brought his wife and four children from
Michigan to support the Philly 11.
Rather, it blew up in their faces. In a move which shows God's purpose
and Sovereignty, Pennsylvania legislators have just drafted a bill
to repeal the law that added "sexual orientation" to their
Ethnic Intimidation law! Seventeen legislators have signed on so
far. The bill is a direct result of the arrest of the Philadelphia Eleven,
and the huge amount of negative publicity that this brought down upon
God will have his way!
A couple of visiting preachers from North Carolina set up a sound system
a couple of blocks away, in front of City Hall. About 50 supporters
gathered, and another dozen police. Preaching ensued, and a call to
repentance. Hymns were sung in praise to God for victory granted. People
came from as far away as Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina in support
of the Philadelphia Eleven.
The Murch Family
wants to thank all of you that have prayed for Lauren and the others.
May God be glorified in all that we do!