Open Air Preaching Laws in Charlotte

charlotte-skylineHere are relevant ordinances in the city of Charlotte, North Carolina (as of March 14, 2018) impacting an evangelist’s ability to hand out tracts and conduct open air preaching on public streets.

CODE OF ORDINANCES CITY OF CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

Chapter 15 – Offenses and Miscellaneous Provisions

Sec. 15-1. – Distribution of handbills, advertisements, letters, pamphlets or other materials.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person to throw, deposit, place or distribute any handbills, advertisements, cards, circulars, leaflets, folders, banners, letters, magazines or pamphlets in or upon private property, except by: (i) handing the material to the occupant; (ii) placing or depositing such material behind the outer door; (iii) securely attaching the material to the doorknob or door handle; or (iv) placing the material on the porch or stoop, provided that it shall be wrapped, bound or lock-folded in such a manner so as to prevent the material from being blown or scattered. This subsection shall not apply to the distribution of the United States mail or to newspapers.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to deposit in, paste on, or attach to any motor vehicle any handbills, advertisements, cards, circulars, leaflets, folders, banners, letters or pamphlets or to cause such materials to be deposited in, pasted on or attached to any motor vehicle, without the consent of the owner. Nothing contained in this subsection shall prohibit the attachment to a motor vehicle of a citation or public safety information issued or published by or on behalf of the city.

Sec. 15-64. – Amplified sound.

(a) It shall be unlawful to:

(3) Operate or allow the operation of any sound amplification equipment in the public right-of-way, including streets or sidewalks, or in the public city controlled parks: (i) without having actual on-site possession of a permit issued by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department; (ii) so as to produce sounds registering more than 75 db(A) ten feet or more from any electromechanical speaker between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday or between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. on Friday or Saturday; or (iii) at times other than those specified in (ii). Sound amplification equipment operated pursuant to this subsection may not be located more than ten feet off the ground. In addition to the person operating or allowing the operation of sound amplification equipment in violation of this subsection, the person to whom the permit was issued must be present at the location and during the times permitted and shall be liable for any and all violations.

An application for a permit pursuant to this subsection shall: (i) be submitted to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department at least one full business day but no more than seven calendar days before the permit time requested; and (ii) specify the proposed location of the sound amplification equipment and the date and time that the sound amplification will begin and end. Permits shall be issued on a first come, first served basis. A permit shall not be issued for a location that is within 100 feet of another location for which a permit has been issued for the same time or in or within 100 feet of the area permitted for a public assembly pursuant to article XI of this chapter unless issued to the holder of the public assembly permit.

The use of mobile sound amplification equipment (e.g., a car radio, unless the vehicle is parked) shall be exempt from the permitting requirement of this subsection and the prohibition of (iii) in the first paragraph of this subpart, however sounds produced during the times otherwise prohibited in (iii) in the first paragraph of this subpart may not register more than 60 db(A) ten feet or more from the equipment. Sound amplification produced in conjunction with public assembly permit shall be exempt from this entire subsection.

For more information on the free speech rights of street evangelists, please visit the School of Biblical Evangelism.

4th of July Outreach

wv-prayer-01Members of the Gospel Xpress team attended the 2011 Fourth of July festivities in Alderson, West Virginia, where we handed out tracts, set up a Prayer Station, and gave out free Bibles and bottled water to everyone who took the 5-minute “Good Person Quiz.” We shared the Gospel with approximately 30 individuals and made friends along the way.

After sharing the Gospel with one 16-year-old girl, her parents — who run a t-shirt printing business — offered to create this custom Good Person shirt for us to remember the occasion. We met several Christians and even pastors — one of whom made a generous donation to Gospel Xpress.

We’re hoping to make this July 4th outreach an annual tradition in Alderson!

Cherry Blossom Festival Outreach

On April 13, 2010, Gospel Academy students went into Washington, DC to hand out tracts and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people attending the Cherry Blossom Festival. We handed out million dollar bills, optical illusion, and other ice breaker tracts and talked to people one-on-one. Gospel Academy was a Christian evangelism class sponsored by Gospel Xpress and FUEL (a singles ministry of McLean Bible Church).

Read the Bible in Public Day

by Michael Tolosa

Today, October 6 is Read The Bible In Public Day.

Last month, Gospel Xpress launched a viral outreach campaign on Facebook called Read The Bible In Public Day. Over 3,400 people signed up online to participate. Through this promotion, we are encouraging Christians across the United States to take their Bibles out into their communities and read it in a public place. Whether it’s at work, at school, on the subway, or at a playground — we want Christians to be a living witness to the influence God’s Word has on our country.

Sadly, many American Christians are ashamed to be identified as a Christians, when we have the legal freedom to follow Jesus Christ and read God’s Word — unlike many Christians around the world who risk their lives to follow Christ and meet with other believers. Americans have a unique opportunity to boldly profess their faith and tell others the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet so many of us are afraid to confront the world. We choose comfort over confrontation and somehow rationalize our disobedience.

Let today be the first step in your engagement with the world. Use your Bible as a conversation-starter with a stranger. Join us for Read The Bible In Public Day!

Jesus Fish

I have a “Jesus fish” on my car, not because I’m proud to be a Christian, but because it forces me to remember that I represent Christ while I’m driving — and at all times, for that matter. Cutting off someone who recognizes your car in traffic, one inappropriate joke overheard by your coworker, or a vulgar word spoken in a public restaurant can damage Christ’s image in the minds of those around us. We are a reflection of that image, and though flawed an imperfect, we should always remember that others are judging Christ by our actions.