December 2015 Church & State | AU Bulletin

Members of a motorcycle club called Journey 4 Justice pled not guilty to picketing a religious event in November. The group maintains a presence outside Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., where its members use a large American flag to hide the church’s offensive anti-gay signs.

According to Topeka Capital-Journal, municipal codes ban “focused picketing,” at houses of worship. This is defined as “standing or sitting or walking in a repeated manner past or around a house of worship, by one or more persons while carrying a banner, placard, or sign.”

Ron Martin, a member of the group, said he believes the ordinance has been incorrectly interpreted.

“I think they interpreted it wrong, because we’ve had officers there who didn’t issue a ticket because they said we weren’t violating the ordinance because the flag isn’t a banner and we were able to stay there all day,” said Martin.

Club members have requested clarification of the ordinance, and told the Capital-Journal that if the court rules against them they’ll agree to move their counter-protest to a new location across the street from the controversial church.