Appeals Court Upholds Speech of Controversial Men Who Marched Pig’s Head on Pole into Muslim Event


CINCINNATI — The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld the free speech rights of a controversial California-based group that was ousted from an Arab festival in 2012 when attendees began turning violent in response to their antagonism.

As previously reported, U.S. District Court Judge Patrick Duggan ruled last year that men with an organization identifying itself as Bible Believers crossed the boundaries of free speech into creating safety concerns through their inflammatory speech and actions at the International Arab Festival in Dearborn.

“Your prophet is nothing but an unclean swine,” leader Ruben Chavez, who goes by the name Ruben Israel, is heard proclaiming in video footage of the incident. “Your prophet married a 7-year-old girl. Your prophet is a pedophile, and your prophet teaches you not to believe in Jesus as the Christ.”

Members also brought a pig’s head on a pole to the event and were subsequently pelted with bottles, garbage, stones and chunks of concrete. Chavez sustained a cut to his face due to the violence.

“I think in reality we should have brought 15 pig heads—that would have maybe soothed them a little bit more from throwing debris at us,” he told reporters.

Because of the reaction of the crowd, police soon approached the group and escorted them out of the festival.

“You need to leave,” one officer states, moments before leading members away from the crowd. “If you don’t leave, were going to cite you for disorderly. You’re creating a disturbance.”

  • Connect with Christian News

Bible Believers later sued the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for threatening the group with disorderly conduct charges and for failing to protect them from the angry crowd. It asserted that police unfairly treated Chavez’ organization more harshly than the attendees who had reacted violently.

In 2013, U.S. District Judge Patrick Duggan threw out the lawsuit, and a year later a three-judge panel with the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati issued a divided 2-1 opinion, with the majority finding that the police had not committed any constitutional violation as the choice of words used by the group, and bringing a pig head to the event, seemed over-the-top.

But attorneys for Chavez appealed, requesting a rehearing by the full Sixth Circuit Court. In a rare move, the request was granted, and on Wednesday, the court ruled that the men’s speech, although inflammatory, was protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

“The First Amendment offers sweeping protection that allows all manner of speech to enter the marketplace of ideas,” the ten-judge panel wrote. “This protection applies to loathsome and unpopular speech with the same force as it does to speech that is celebrated and widely accepted.”

“The protection would be unnecessary if it only served to safeguard the majority views,” it continued. “In fact, it is the minority view, including expressive behavior that is deemed distasteful and highly offensive to the vast majority of people, that most often needs protection under the First Amendment.”

The court said that police must protect the speech of those with even offensive viewpoints and not tolerate what is known as a “heckler’s veto.”

“When a peaceful speaker, whose message is constitutionally protected, is confronted by a hostile crowd, the state may not silence the speaker as an expedient alternative to containing or snuffing out the lawless behavior of the rioting individuals,” it wrote. “Nor can an officer sit idly on the sidelines—watching as the crowd imposes, through violence, a tyrannical majoritarian rule—only later to claim that the speaker’s removal was necessary for his or her own protection.”

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court likewise upheld the speech rights of a group that identifies itself as a church called “Westboro Baptist,” which protests military funerals and desires for men to go to Hell for their sins rather than repent and be saved.

Become a Christian News Network Supporter...

Dear Reader, has been of benefit and a blessing to you? For many years now, the Lord has seen fit to use this small news outlet as a strong influential resource in keeping Christians informed on current events from a Biblical worldview. Striving to bring you the news without compromise and with Christ in focus, we press on despite recent changes in Facebook and Google's algorithms, which has limited our readership, and, as a result, has affected operational site revenue. If you have benefited from our news coverage, would you please prayerfully consider becoming a Christian News Network supporter by clicking here to make a one-time or monthly donation to help keep the truth widely and freely published and distributed? May Christ continue to be exalted through this work!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  • Nidalap

    Hmm…the group pretty obviously wanted to provoke this type of reaction. That being said, you can’t just start violently attacking folk who aren’t threatening you with physical violence. As sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry fame would say, “That’s agin’ the LAW!”. 🙂

    • Jean Adams

      Why does the law always seem to side against christians?

      • Rebecca

        Most of the law makers are against Christians, so they eventually pass laws that are against Christians. A few decades ago it wasn’t that way. TImes are changing, but change isn’t always good.

  • Dave_L

    “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” (Hebrews 12:14)

  • Rebecca

    Those involved in islam need to go back overseas if they don’t like things like that. Their population here in the U.S. shouldn’t go unnoticed. They are ultimately not our friends. We are “allowing” them to live here and grow in numbers out of fear and under the guise of tolerance. They are the enemy living right under our nose and too many want to ignore it.
    Glad the court upheld the groups right to do what they did!!!

    • Dave_L

      Do you suppose the Native Americans and Mexicans might have felt the same as you, only about the Europeans?

      • Rebecca

        The native Americans and Mexicans don’t want to kill those they consider infidels.

        • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

          My Great Grandmother was Native American and she became the wife of a European Man.
          The Grandfather of my daughter on her dads side is Mexican who became the Husband of a European Woman.
          Both sides had no hate.
          I understand how you feel about Islam. One day Islam will take over here as they are trying to do in other Nations.

          • Rebecca

            Their book teaches them to lie, destroy and kill infidels. Many don’t want to see it and cower in fear to them. Unless enough stand up to them, they will continue to grow in numbers. I don’t hate the people, I hate the ideology they follow.

          • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

            That is true. There are many who support the People of Islam. Not realizing one day they will live and die regretting their support of the people of Islam. The very people they support will one day kill many of the very people who supported them.

        • Dave_L

          Did they ever?

          • Rebecca

            No and neither should those who follow islam.
            Your point?

          • Dave_L

            My point is that we should all go back to where we came from if we require it from others today.

          • Rebecca

            I disagree. Only those who mean harm should go back where they came from. Others are welcomed.

          • Dave_L

            So Christopher Columbus, and the Europeans arriving in the Americas didn’t mean harm to the indigenous peoples?

          • Rebecca

            Did they kill them if they didn’t’ claim allah as their god?

          • Dave_L

            “Thou shalt not kill (Murder).” (Exodus 20:13) It doesn’t give any exceptions.

          • Rebecca

            You or I are not wanting to kill anyone, but those in islam will.

          • Dave_L

            This is true, we do not want to kill anyone. Some of us would rather die first. But when we condemn murder, we must condemn all murder.

          • Rebecca

            I hope you’re not supportive of Abortions?

          • Dave_L

            No, I’m quite outspoken against Abortion and all killing. You could say that I am consistently Pro Life.

          • Rebecca

            Even in cases of rape and incest?

          • Dave_L


          • Rebecca


          • afchief

            Islam is incompatible with Western values and should be banned from Western countries. It is no coincidence that America, Europe and Scandinavia are being invaded by Muslims. This invasion is a planned genocide of the white man by those who seek global domination

          • Dave_L

            “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:28–31)

          • afchief

            Dave, again you are showing yourself ignorant of the word. You do NOT force your ways on the rest of population just so you can witness to them. Thinking like this gets people killed. And a lot of those people will not be Christian.

            Go research who has the highest rape rate per capital. I will tell you it is Sweden. Why? Because of all the immigrates from Muslim countries. Do you want your wife or daughter rapped?

            Islam is a cancer. DO NOT BRING IT HERE!!!

          • Dave_L

            As Christians we are to love our enemies and trust God for the outcome.

          • afchief

            Who said anything about loving your enemies. You want to bring these sworn enemies to our Constitution and way of life to others who do NOT want them here.

            13 Reason why not to bring Muslims here

            They are not “refugees.” They are invaders; soldiers of Allah: What is unfolding is hijra, otherwise known as immigration jihad. It is written in the Quran and is a powerful strategy the Islamic world has used for many centuries to overwhelm nations and assert dominance. We must not allow our culture to be undermined and destroyed by increasing the population of Muslims in the United States. (See here, here, here, and here. See here for a book on the topic by Ann Corcoran.)

            The vast majority of Muslims flooding into the West are young men: We are being invaded by an army of young fighting-age men from across the Islamic world. Muslim males often wreak havoc wherever they go, including disproportionately high levels of involvement with criminal activity, rape, threats against others, terrorism, and everything in between. We should not be importing a demographic of people who have a propensity toward violence. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            We can’t vet these invaders: The FBI has stated we are unable to screen people leaving Islamic countries en route to the West. That should count for something. It’s madness to invite people into one’s home – one’s nation – when we know next-to-nothing about them. In addition, the FBI is stretched to its limit with nearly 1,000 ISIS investigations spanning all 50 states. We are doing a poor job of playing offense and we’re on the verge of losing our ability to play defense. That is a dangerous combination that will lead to increased violence against Americans. (See here, here, and here.)

            The teachings of Islam are incompatible with Western civilization: Although the FBI can’t vet these invaders the way they would like to, they’re already sufficiently vetted because we know they will bring an ideology with them that is in direct conflict with our values. Islam is a totalitarian vision that seeks world domination. As in convert, pay the jizya tax, or die. As in the teachings of the Quran. As in what is unfolding across the Middle East and beyond. As in the death knell for any nation these conquerors infiltrate in relatively large (or even small) numbers. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here. List of jihad attacks in America, here, and here.)

            Terrorists will be among them: The FBI has stated this will be inevitable – that terrorists will slip through. It has already been documented in Europe. We cannot afford to import terrorists. Not a single one. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            Some invaders morph into jihadists: Many may not be terrorists. Yet. But plenty will undoubtedly become radicalized once they’re here. We know this from past history. We cannot risk importing one more person who may become a jihadist. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            The number we admit will increase exponentially in a year or two: Once approved for refugee status invaders can petition to bring immediate family members. And they do. And not just one or two (though that would be bad enough), but often as many as eight family members. This increases the base number initially admitted dramatically from, for example, 200,000 (which is 200,000 too many) to nearly 2,000,000. (See here and here.)

            Support for sharia law: More than half of Muslims in America want sharia law and 25% support violence against Americans who commit blasphemy against their religion and their prophet. The more Muslims we admit, the higher those already staggeringly high numbers will likely go. Sharia law conflicts with our Constitution. It makes no sense to import people who embrace an oppressive legal code that is not in line with our laws and our values, nor is it in our best interests to admit (more) people who feel justified in committing violent acts against Americans. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            Lack of assimilation: Muslims in Western countries often form their own enclaves and do not assimilate. This is another way they assert supremacy and maintain Islamic values (such as they are) instead of adopting the values of the host country. It also increases the risk of developing no-go zones. It is not in our interest to admit people who prefer to live in insular communities, living life as if still in their native country. Assimilation is necessary to maintain our values and our identity as a nation. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            There will be increased proliferation of mosques and Islamic schools: The more Muslims we admit, the more mosques and Islamic schools that will be built. More than 80% of mosques in the United States teach jihad and/or advance the idea of sharia law while many Islamic schools indoctrinate their students to distain non-believers. We cannot afford to have more Islamic institutions that teach hate and incite members to violence. In addition, mosques also double as military installations when the time is ripe. (See here, here, here, here, and here.)

            Inbreeding: Half of the Muslim population worldwide is inbred because Mohammed married his cousin and stands as the model of the perfect man. Inbreeding deteriorates human genetics. We should not be importing people who are genetically compromised and who will continue to perpetuate inbreeding and genetic decline, including a baseline drop in average IQ currently 10-16 points below normal. (See here, here, and here.)

            Disease: Many of these invaders have diseases, many of them contagious and life-threatening, such as tuberculosis, syphilis, cholera, typhoid, and HIV/AIDS among many others. There are also diseases unknown in the West. This demographic of people are also not inoculated against diseases we eradicated a long time ago, such as polio. We should not be admitting people into this country who will introduce and spread disease in society that will cost money to treat, and more importantly, that will cost American lives. (See here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

            They will rely on the public dole: Many invaders from Islamic countries are uneducated and unemployable, if not also genetically damaged. A disproportionately high percentage of them will be dependent on a wide array of public assistance for all manner of things, including medical care, food, clothing, shelter, education, job training, transportation, child care, interpreters, and other goods and services. This dependence occurs, at the very least, during the initial period after their arrival. For many, independence is never attained. It makes no sense to import people who will siphon off huge sums of money from the public dole. (See here, here, here, and here.)

            Each and every one of us must do all that can to educate others about this Islamic advance against the West and what it means for our future.

          • Dave_L

            It appears you are living in two spheres. The sphere of the State where as a citizen you want to protect yourself and others from a perceived threat of foreign invasion and takeover.

            And as a Christian you believe it is the loving thing to do.

            Many believe this way but it is not in line with the teachings of Christ. He expects us to treat all, including enemies, as our equal. And to be given to hospitality “Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.” (Romans 12:13)

            We can have it one of two ways in dealing with enemies.

            We can do our part as Christians in loving them, thereby heaping coals of fire on their heads through God’s retribution (think Sodom and Gomorrah).

            Or we can take it upon ourselves to do God’s work for him and not only forfeit His judgement against them, but dish it out in such a petty and diluted sense that it ends up with only temporal results.

            “O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.” (Psalm 94:1)

          • afchief

            Dave, you are showing me complete lack of wisdom and discernment. Again!

            What have you done to change Dearborn, MI?

          • Dave_L

            What have you done to glorify Christ?

          • afchief

            His light shines through me everyday!!!

          • Dave_L

            If you think about Jesus and the Apostles, they had the Jews (not much different than Islam) on the one hand. The occupying Romans on the other, and yet they skirted the whole mess, remaining free of any religious or political entanglements.They didn’t lift a finger to defend themselves and accepted death with dignity, bringing the wrath of God to the uttermost on all who persecuted them.

          • David Fraker

            We have been through this Dave. No where in the bible does it say not to defend yourself, protect your love ones and the defenseless. No where!!!

            I would hope you have a little discernment to KNOW why 0bama is doing this? If you think he is doing this out of the kindness of his heart, you are QUITE wrong!!! He is doing this to destroy America.

          • Dave_L

            “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.” (Matthew 5:39–40)

            “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44–45)

            “And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Corinthians 4:12–13)

            “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” (Romans 12:17)

            “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” (Romans 12:19)

            “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:20–21)

            “For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” (1 Peter 2:19–21)

            “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:” (1 Peter 2:22–23)

          • afchief

            My people perish for lack of knowledge!!!!! That is you Dave!!

          • Dave_L

            I always assumed it was a lack of Knowledge about God and his ways that people perish. Apart from true Bible knowledge, people are blind and worse – leading the blind.

          • afchief

            Dave, what I see in your posts is that you have a head knowledge of the word of God (quoting scriptures). You don’t have a heart knowledge!

          • Dave_L

            I will admit that I am lacking in all departments when it comes to following Christ.

          • afchief

            We are ALL lacking!!!

          • Kandy

            If Obama gets his way we will be destroyed.Dave_L thinks we should love our enemies more than our families or the ones being killed by our enemies.

          • Dave_L

            “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37–38)

    • afchief

      Once settled in, the Muslim refugees will want to remake the community into a Muslim community. In some areas of the US you can wake up in the morning hearing the Muslim call to prayers being given over a loudspeaker. Streets will be closed off to allow celebration of Muslim holidays. The number of rapes will increase. (Rape of non-Muslim women is accepted in Islam.) They will try to impose sharia law on you and your neighbors. Jewish synagogues, cemeteries, and other Jewish places will be vandalized. The schools will no longer be able to teach about the Holocaust because it did not happen.

      If your neighbors complain and try to stop the Muslim takeover of your community, you can find yourself in court being prosecuted for religious persecution.

      They’re NOT ‘refugees’, ‘migrants’ or ‘immigrants’.

      They’re INVADERS.

      • Dave_L

        We are called to preach and live the Gospel. Loving your enemies is not an option, but a requirement for living a Holy life. God controls all things and we need to do our part as followers of Christ and let him sort out the rest.

        • afchief

          Think Dave, just THINK! Jesus told US to GO into all the world and preach the Gospel. He did not say bring them here. YOU are forcing your ways on other people who do NOT want them here. Put theses people in your city and neighborhood. Let them flood your schools!!! I guarantee you will NOT like it.

          Dearborn MI has has a Muslim population for a long time. Why haven’t YOU did anything about it? It’s because they do not effect you, do they Dave?

          Next time think before you write. You have NO right to force this on the American population just because you or any other Christian wants to go witness to them.

          • Dave_L

            I cannot force anything on anyone. I’m just looking at the world situation and trying to make the best of it using the guidelines Jesus provided. We are told to treat others as our equals. This includes enemies.

          • afchief

            You are missing the point Dave! Go to them (overseas)! Do not bring them here! We as Americans MUST stop them from coming here.

          • afchief

            Go read this article on Breitbart. It will open your eyes.

            Sweden is facing collapse thanks to the recent huge influx of migrants into the country, the Swedish foreign minister has said. As 190,000 migrants this year alone pour into the country, law and order is beginning to break down as the country plays witness to numerous arson attacks, stabbings and gang rapes.

          • Going into all the world includes going to your neighborhood. Your neighborhood is part of the world. It is not our job as Christians to try and control immigration through politics. Most of America is on their way to hell today. I’ve gone out soul-winning right here in the USA….most people who claim to be Christians do NOT believe the gospel…they believe in themselves and their own good works will save them, while adding a belief in a totally different Jesus than the one in the Bible.

            There is a Pastor who went to Dearborn, MI with a group of soul winners and actually went door to door preaching the gospel. Google “Lessons from Dearborn” to see what happened. HINT: They didn’t get beheaded.

          • afchief

            So, you are advocating to bring them here? Why is Dearborn MI growing in Muslim population. Why are prayer speakers going up around town? Why are they trying to implement sharia law there?

            And YES, it is our job to stop immigration through politics. Write your congressman and senator. Protest and do demonstrations. BE salt and light!!!

      • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

        You are right they are invaders who are being sent here for a reason. The reason is to destroy and to kill those who will not convert to their religion. And to take over.

  • SFBruce

    I’m not sure if I agree with this decision or not. On the one hand, I accept the idea that deeply offensive speech can be protected, at the same time, I think it was astronomically stupid to do what this group did. Like it or not, there are American citizens who are adherents of Islam, and they have First Amendment protections the same as any other citizen, and have a right to believe they can follow their faith without fear.

    • Jean Adams

      So why can’t Christians…bakers, florists, wedding license providers, hoteliers. They are told your faith can’t come before the wishes of people who think differently. God will judge.

      • SFBruce

        Bakers, florists and hoteliers are perfectly free to practice their religion as they see fit, but where local ordinances prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, they do have to serve the LGBT community. There are many laws and regulations that businesses must follow, and this happens to be one of them. Wedding license providers are state officials, and are charged with determining whether a couple who applies for a marriage licenses is legally eligible. If doing that offends their conscience, they are certainly free to find other work.

  • RWH

    How is the Gospel of Jesus Christ going to be proclaimed when some outside group comes in and purposefully offends people and gets them upset?

  • Josey

    I don’t agree with how this group went about speaking out against this gathering of muslims but they have the right of free speech the same as the muslims if they are American citizens and I can understand their frustration with what is going on in this Country but as Christians we need to realize our fight is not with flesh and blood but against principalities, wickedness in high places and we will not win this fight in our own strength, it is not by our might or power but by Christ’s power that we will win, to Him be all the glory and honor.
    It was wrong of the police officers who did nothing against those muslims that began to throw things in an assaultive manner at the group and they should be fired for not making some arrests and because they did not make arrests for the assaults, these situations will only get more physical and worse because they now think they can do this and get away with it, no repercussions for violence or breaking our laws. I am a firm believer that if you come to our Country then you will follow our laws or you will leave and not return!

    • LadyFreeBird<In God I Trust

      I agree with you, that if they come here they really should follow our laws or return to their Country.

  • These types of inflammatory demonstrations are not Christ-like at all. Jesus preached the gospel one on one to people, including the Pharisees, who were involved in the wicked false religion of Judaism. People actually got saved in those types of one on one encounters…like Nicodemus and the woman at Sychar’s well.

    Do you think anyone got saved from this ridiculous demonstration? Not a chance. Speaking the truth in love does not involve marching around with a pig’s head on a stick. And then using the heathen court system to sue the police….what a waste of time and resources. These people need to hear the gospel preached and see good works (that do nothing to save a person but that demonstrate the redeeming power of Jesus Christ). Why not put a suit and tie on, grab the Bible and go knock on the doors of these people, and preach them the gospel of Jesus Christ rather than make a public spectacle of yourself?