LINCOLNTON, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - Lincolnton City Council is under fire after making a change to a noise ordinance that some local street preachers believe was directed toward them.
The Council approved a change to the noise ordinance to prevent yelling, abusive or threatening language at festivals within the central business district in an area that street preachers frequent. Now they, along with anyone acting out could face a citation.
"The first time my youngest grandchild encountered these gentlemen on Main St. in Lincolnton they traumatized her. She was hysterical. I had to take her home," said one woman who spoke at the city council meeting in support of the ordinance.
Leaders in the city of Lincolnton say the ordinance isn’t directed at the content of the preachers' message, but instead at making the city an enjoyable and safe place for all.
"My department of course would never support any type of law that says you can't preach the gospel. I am a deacon at my own church and that's not anything we would ever do and I don't think that's what anyone is looking for here," said a city council member.
Local preachers, however, remain adamant that the city was looking to censor their speech, and they could now be opening up a lawsuit against the city.