Pastor Clyde Reed, of the Good News Presbyterian Church, is squaring off against the town of Gilbert, Arizona, in the U.S. Supreme Court this month.
The Good News Presbyterian Church holds its services inside a town senior center.
Pastor Reed was originally cited by the town in 2005 for posting signs for services too early. He was cited again in 2007.
The City of Gilbert passed a law in 2008 that allowed signs promoting non-commercial events to be posted 12 hours in public rights-of-way before the events take place, which actually gave the church more time for its sign.
However, political signs are allowed to stay up for 60 days, while ideological signs ("World Peace") can be posted indefinitely in Gilbert.
Pastor Reed sued the town on the claim that his First Amendment rights had been violated based on their message.
In February 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Gilbert, but in 2014 Pastor Reed filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court, which will hear the case on Jan. 12, noted AZCentral.com.
Pastor Reed is represented by the Christian advocacy law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which claimed on its website that the town's policy is: "Religious signs can only be 6 square feet, may be displayed for no more than 14 hours, and are limited to 4 per property."
"By stating the church’s signs are less valuable than political and other speech, the town is ignoring the church’s free speech rights and claiming to have the power to handicap, and even eliminate, speech it deems unimportant," added the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Likewise, CitizenLink, the political arm of the Christian ministry Focus on the Family, is trying to reword the argument as persecution against Christians.
CitizenLink host Stuart Shepard recently began a video segment (below) by stating, "There are many ways to discriminate against Christians, consider the sign ordinance in Gilbert, Arizona."
However, the Gilbert law doesn't mention Christians specifically, but rather covers noncommercial signs. Church signs, and any other noncommercial signs, fall under the "noncommercial" category.