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Settling the Debate About Jehovah's Witnesses and Soliciting

They are not governed by solicitation law, but you can get on a no call list.

A about Jehovah's Witnesses members going door-to-door in has generated a lot of talk, including debate about the law concerning such activity. So let's set the record straight.

First, an explanation about the police blotter itself. The source of these blotters are the call logs, which are not the same as reports, and not as detailed.

In this case, a resident complained that Jehovah's Witnesses did not honor her "no soliciting" sign and argued with her that it did not apply. Police spoke to the people who were at the woman's house and told them not to return. The point wasn't so much that they were not allowed to knock on doors with "no soliciting" signs, but that they should honor the sign in this particular case because they were clearly told they were not wanted at the house.

Melvin Walker, a spokesman for the Hillcrest Congregation, said laws governing solicitors do not apply to Jehovah's Witnesses going door-to-door.

"The key is that we're not soliciting anything," he said. "That (a 'no soliciting' sign) does not apply to us. We're not selling anything. We're trying to share some encouragement from the scriptures."

However, Mel Durchslag, an attorney representing the American Civil Liberties Union, said he's not certain that the Jehovah's Witnesses were not soliciting.

"I'm skeptical about that claim," he said. "It's probably true. They're not asking anything in return for their spiel." However, he said, you don't necessarily have to be selling something to be soliciting, you can be simply trying to present an idea.

What's clear is that they are allowed to knock on doors without a permit – the solicitation law in Mayfield Heights states that it does not apply to "a national educational, civic, religious or charitable organization" or "a local charitable, educational, civic or religious organization."

But solicitors or not, they were not welcome at this woman's house, Durchslag said.

"One can argue about the point of the word solicitor. What was clear is that this person did not want them on her premises," he said.

He added that in this case the resident and police were treating the sign as meaning "no trespassing." He said it's reasonable for a person to expect "no soliciting" to mean "no trespassing."

"Instead of hanging 'no soliciting,' if they hung a 'no trespassing' sign, there would be no argument," he said.

Durchslag said Jehovah's Witnesses have won several court cases defending their rights, but the cases dealt with laws restricting solicitation, not residences with "no soliciting" signs.

"The ACLU is normally very sympathetic to religious speech," he said. "In this case, I don't think there is a court in the world that would say their First Amendment rights have been violated."

Walker said that if a resident tells a Jehovah's Witnesses member that they don't want any more visits, the address will be recorded on a list of places not to stop.

"We'll record that info and we will honor that request," Walker said.

He added that those residences might be visited again periodically because people might have moved or a resident's situation changed and they may be more open to hearing about the word of God.

sham May 17, 2013 at 04:38 AM
i think that jehovahs witnesses are good people but for some reason more than half the world has negative things to say about them.its simple satan the devil is trying his very best to stop the preaching work but it will never stop!!!!!!!!!!
sham May 17, 2013 at 04:45 AM
jehovahs witnesses are not a cult so to solomon ruffo who said that you obviously dont not know what you are talking about.please do not judge someone else,s religion .who are you to critisize and pass judgement!!!
Mike Miketurbo September 27, 2013 at 09:07 AM
People. This is easy. Put your no trespassing sign up. YES just because you dont want THEM coming to your door. The same ones calling cops on us are the same ones waving flags of freedom on the 4th of July, and likely pushing republican "small fed, Giant local" government language. Second, where do you get off thinking Jws are SOMEONE ELSE and not you? we live in your area, and ARE you. or ONCE WERE you. Lastly, churches, (where you are paying your ministers and they live as rich men) tell members to shun us. As a person leaves the deceiving church, the pastor loses money and riches. Everyone talks about how bad kids have become. How marriage is on the decline. Jws are statistically married longer, And do you see them coming to you with pants sagging? smelling of weed? The shooter in the gang? the chances of him being a jw? slim. The guy who broke in your house? the chances of him being a Jw? Slim While you slam the door on us, your church has said ZERO to you regarding how to repair broken homes, broken marriages, unruly kids, or do away with Racist thinking inside yourselves. HOW MUCH HAS YOUR CHURCH offered YOU and all others help in stopping smoking? drunkenness? Abuse of wives? Do you know anything about the bible so as to find how to help your issues in families? WE ARE FROM THE CITY YOU LIVE IN. youre talking like Jws pop out from mars. Unless your church has something to Assist me raising my kids, and ALL OTHERS around the world....in over 450 languages...Including varied sign languages, Step around and let the witnesses preach the gospel, DOOR TO DOOR in This Free America, you so want to BOMB OTHERS into accepting....Country to country.
Mike Miketurbo September 27, 2013 at 09:29 AM
and another thing....while youre trying to Bomb countries into loving you, we preach the word EVEN UNDER BAN, in those lands. And as people learn the word of God, because NOT ALL are bigoted as you, they turn their lives around, meaning THAT person wont be the terrorist bombing you in a plane. Do you realize there are more Jws that are NOT in the usa than ARE? Can your church preach the gospel in 450 languages? WELL YOURE SUPPOSED TO because you see, if you are in a church? matthew states, the Word Of Jesus, and HE told YOU and all others to spread the world TO ALL MEN, and that includes those claiming to be following. The jews had denominations. PAUL PREACXHED THE TRUTH to them. Not the truth "as he interpreted it" but as it was. The truth is simple to find. Read the bible. BUT YOUR CHURCHES have failed in giving any of you the tools to solve issues in family,. Hence the inner city like chicago, has a church on every corner, and a liquor store on the following one. Gang violence growing, with single parents who attend mega church, neglecting their sons. Funny thing is, you will Accept christmas, halloween, and easter, talking and behaving like you actually ARE religious. lying to yourselves and neighbors, putting up lights. Yet know zero of Jesus, his birth, life, or meaning of his death. AND if he himself wanted us to celebrate such holidays. but YOU DONT CARE, because you arrogantly tell GOD what he is to accept. And are far more interested in having a party, and getting a gift, than serving god AS HE LAYS IT OUT in the bible. then there are tragedies, and you people saying "our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of this senseless tragedy", and we approach your door leaving a magazine on how to deal with troubled teens, and what the bible has to say, and you slam it? then YOUR son becomes the next mass shooter. LOL you know, the congregation that services your area? Takes about 6 months if youre a small city, to a YEAR or even more, to cover all the houses in that area. meaning, TRUTHFULLY, you dont have a witness come to your door in MONTHS, or once a year. AAND they come in the days, many times no one is genuinely home due to work. Typically, folk like you guys are the better income folk talking stupid to us. So you would have to havee been home EVERY TIME we have called, on random days. twice in a year. Even if it were 4 times on random days in a year. You would have to have had to be home to even SEE that they came. So if youre a working stiff. How often do you see your mail man, who comes every day? This is really sad, ALL the crap happening....Listen....What if the police, went door to door in the ghetto? willing to sit down with people to assist parents with tips on discipline? What if teachers went door to door, assisting kids with issues like bullying? What if your political leaders came door to door, and were willing to sit with you so you could air out your wants or wishes for them? What if psychologists would come door to door, to assist families, for free? Many say how the church needs to be more involved in their communities, and assist in areas like crime. And have they? Do you know i know people that started studying, and dropped their drug addiction? smoking addictions? sex addictions? People who were shacking up, have now married? Cleaned up their disheveled appearances? People who were horrible with money, have been assisted? people who couldnt read, have learned to? You praise mother theresa, and would attempt to BAN her for preaching to You. THE CATHOLIC CHURCH used to be the preachers of the world. Thru violence. hence the Hispanics are catholic. We preach with Just the bible, and Youre mad? you have Zero leg to stand on in this issue. youre being stupid.
Mike Miketurbo September 27, 2013 at 09:30 AM
I left a long message because i know most of you are unwilling to read...hence your closing the door on us! LOL so I know your twitter dot com level reading, wont allow you to read all I wrote unless its under 4 sentences. and Im not gonna do that.

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