Clearing the Path for Truth

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Victory for Evangelist

CINCINNATI, OHIO – Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in favor of  Center for Religious Expression client John McGlone, an evangelist who was denied a chance to share his Christian faith on the campus of University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 

McGlone had previously visited the university several times to speak and distribute literature outdoors, but when he contacted university officials in August of 2010, McGlone was shocked to learn of a new policy requiring outside speakers to secure “sponsorship” from a registered student organization, staff or faculty, just to express views on campus. The “sponsorship” policy supplies university officials and others with unfettered discretion to reject speech for any reason, including disdain for viewpoint. 

“By requiring sponsorship, UT is censoring unpopular speech, which can include certain religious speech,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “The design of the policy necessarily leads to arbitrary and uneven enforcement, dictated by the biases of college administrators.”

The appeals court saw the merits of this argument and reversed the decision of the district court, which had dismissed the case. Furthermore, the appeals court instructed the district court to grant McGlone’s motion for preliminary injunction, which would allow him to return to campus this fall and share his faith. 

“We are pleased at this decision and look forward to the day when John McGlone can exercise his constitutional right to speak freely and openly about his faith at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.” said Kellum.

Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people.