Springfield To Consider Restricting Street Preachers With Anti-Noise Regulation

Posted at 7:51 PM, Mar 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-20 10:31:30-04

The Springfield Board of Mayor and Alderman said they will discuss proposed ordinances that would restrict the capabilities of street preachers during events.

The topic came up when the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce requested the city to look into what could be done after a group of street preachers reportedly disrupted the Taste of Country USA in September.

The annual event brought in about 10,000 visitors with more than 120 vendors to the square last year.

"They had the megaphones and they were so ugly to the people visiting here and our residents. They said hateful and ugly things about getting right with Jesus and they were calling people out for the clothes they wore. It was making the children cry, and we don't want to lose people at our festival," said Springfield Mayor Ann Schneider.

A proposed anti-noise ordinance stated it would prohibit "unreasonably loud, disturbing, and unnecessary noise."

The second ordinance regarding public conduct during a special event or parade said "no person shall unreasonably hamper, obstruct, impede or interfere with any person, vehicle, or animal participating in a special event or properly permitted under this article. This includes participants' ingress and egress to and from a special event or parade."

A video titled 'Taste of Country', Springfield TN 2017' was posted in September under the YouTube account Teach All Nations.

The nearly two-hour long video said they were a "team of loving Street Preachers from North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Tennessee show up at the Town Square in small town USA during a festival of wicked music and beer drinking to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ."

"They were much more aggressive but they were aggressive in the past as well," Copper Vault Owner Whitney Thompson said. "The things they said was not what I consider Christian."

Thompson's restaurant is right on the square. She said families were felt forced to leave while vendors considered not returning.

"To have them at this little country event is devastating for the town, for the customers and for the merchants who set up and pay tent fees," Thompson added.

Since the Taste of Country USA first began in 2011, it grew in popularity among families and vendors across the region.

"The chamber of commerce works to make future events are successful and that public space and visitors are protected from harassment," Jordan Osborne of the Robertson County Chamber of Commerce told NewsChannel 5. 

The board will discuss the first reading of the ordinances on Tuesday night.