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Protester Could Be Banned from Church Property—but Distance Restriction Found Improper

Attempt to prohibit a disruptive person from coming within 5,000 feet went too far, appellate court says.


Key point 7-17. Churches do not have to tolerate persons who disrupt religious services. Church leaders can ask a court to issue an order barring the disruptive person from the church’s premises. If the person violates the order, he or she may be removed from church premises by the police and may be found to be in contempt of court.

A state appellate court in Pennsylvania ruled that a trial court acted properly in banning a disruptive protester from church property, but it went too far in prohibiting the protester from coming within 5,000 feet of the church’s property.


A man (the “protester”) moved to Philadelphia in 2008 and joined the Tenth Presbyterian Church, where he remained a member until the church excommunicated him in August 2016. The protester thereafter began picketing at the church regarding his excommunication and the conduct of certain current ...

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  • May 24, 2022

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