Preacher Protesting LGBTQ Events With Bible Verses Slapped With Restraining Order, Threats Of Jail Time

[Screenshot/YouTube/Warriors for Christ]

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A street preacher is urging Christians to speak up after being hit with a five-year restraining order and threatened with jail time after protesting the wedding of a lesbian couple on Facebook.

Rich Penkoski, who runs the online organization Warriors for Christ, was slapped with a five-year restraining order by Washington County District Court Judge Linda Thomas in February after using social media to voice his concern over an LGBTQ+ friendly church in Oklahoma, The Christian Post reported.

In 2022, Penkowski shared a public photo from a Bartlesville church which featured the same-sex wedding of the executive board president for Oklahomans for Equality in Bartlesville Morgan Lawrence-Hayes and Sheena Hayes. In the post, Penkoski quoted scripture – namely Romans 1:32 – condemning the same-sex marriage as a sin, the outlet reported.

The couple sought out a restraining order against Penkoski, who made other posts regarding a Pride event held at the Disciples Christian Church which featured children, arguing the preacher’s posts were threatening and harassing, according to The Christian Post. In apparent agreement with them, Thomas issued the restraining order in February, contending that while Penkoski had a right to preach, he did not have the right to target the couple, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Proposed Bill Would Criminalize ‘Offensive Remarks’ Within 100 Meters Of Drag Performances)

Penkoski’s lawyers have slammed the ruling, calling it “overly broad” as the ruling could mean jail time for the preacher should he engage in “any conduct that might cause his accusers to fear for their safety” to include posting criticisms of any LGBTQ group or the Disciples Christian Church’s activities, the outlet reported.

“Religious individuals have a clear First Amendment right to publicly cite Bible verses that reflect their concerns about moral issues of the day without being accused of stalking, harassing or terrorizing those who are offended by the sentiments,” John W. Whitehead, constitutional attorney and president of The Rutherford Institute told the Christian Post.

Whitehead further went on to argue the court order was a “foreshadowing of the government’s efforts to insulate the populace from all things that might cause offense by criminalizing nonviolent First Amendment activities (speech, thought and actions) perceived as politically incorrect,” the outlet reported.

When asked to comment on the restraining order, Penkoski told the Daily Caller, “We can NOT allow the enemies of God and free speech to dictate the terms of our speech anymore” and urged Christians and conservatives to “stand up for Jesus and the truth.”