Who would have thought that in the buckle of the Bible Belt that a Christian would be forbidden from speaking to other students about the redemptive work of Jesus Christ? But it happened.
At Georgia Gwinnett College, in one of the most conservative areas of Georgia, the administration of the college said that the use of the words “sin” and “sinners” are “fighting words,” therefore, they were justified in refusing him access to the school’s property to present the gospel to his fellow students.
The following is from Campus Report:
“Georgia Gwinnett College tried to dispel a First Amendment lawsuit by claiming that it removed a preacher from campus because his discussion of the Gospels rose to the level of ‘fighting words.’”
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit in December challenging the Georgia college’s restrictive speech policies after student Chike Uzuegbunam was repeatedly prohibited from discussing his Christian faith on campus, even after he had obtained permission to do so in one of the school’s free-speech zones.
Instead of having to explain how its actions violated the First Amendment, the school made up the “fighting words” claim. Following the school’s line of reasoning, any type of speech could be deemed “fighting words” and prohibited. Is this an exaggeration? The following is from the motion filed by the college’s legal representative:
“Plaintiff [Uzuegbunam] exclaimed a divisive message directly to a group of ‘many’ individuals while standing on top of a stool, and, in doing so, actually caused a disturbance,” the motion contends, adding that the ‘Plaintiff used contentious religious language that, when directed to a crowd, has a tendency to incite hostility.’”