• Street preachers say proposed ordinance violates First Amendment

    By: Ken Lemon


    LINCOLNTON, N.C. - A push to stop controversial street preachers from attending events in Lincolnton has triggered the argument over First Amendment rights.

    [PAST COVERAGE: Lincolnton street preachers accused of being too aggressive]

    The Lincolnton City Council has drafted an ordinance that would stop street preachers from bringing their messages to local events.



    During recent events, they’ve been captured on camera yelling at people, calling them names and shoving bibles in their faces.

    “They are screaming at you about burning in Hell, repent,” street vendor Samuel Jordan said.

    City officials said street preachers have nearly caused brawls with the in-your-face insults.

    Alan Hoyle calls himself a street preacher and said the ordinance violates his free speech. He said people who can’t appreciate street preaching probably don't like hearing the truth.

    “If someone didn’t like what they were hearing, they could walk away,” Hoyle said.

    Hoyle said he plans to speak out during a public hearing Thursday on the issue. He said he plans to tell Lincolnton City Council that their ordinance aimed at curbing street preachers is un-American.

    “Enacting what they want to enact goes against the Constitution,” Hoyle said. “Quoting scripture is not a crime.”

    If the ordinance is passed, police can give a warning and a fine then arrest anyone for annoying, disturbing or frightening people.

    Mike Payne owns Game Swamp in downtown Lincolnton and said the preachers are preying on patrons the wrong way.

    “Your rights end where someone else’s begin,” Payne said.

    The city manager said the ordinance doesn’t just apply to street preachers. He said anyone caught violating the ordinance will be penalized, including downtown business owners.

    The public hearing on the ordinance starts at 7 p.m. Thursday.

    Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com:

    Next Up:

  • Headline Goes Here

    Street preachers say proposed ordinance violates First Amendment

  • Headline Goes Here

    N Carolina regulators deny Duke Energy rate increase request

  • Headline Goes Here

    Pro golfer meets 2 North Carolina teens with chronic illnesses during Pro-am

  • Headline Goes Here

    Fire spreads to several cars in Carowinds parking lot

  • Headline Goes Here

    Border Patrol agent speaks out about viral image of crying Honduran girl