Asheville’s annual ritual showdown with fire-and-brimstone street preachers has played out much the same as usual, with some mutations: street preachers have discovered the Bele Chere hashtag on Twitter, and the city’s attempts to restrict amplification failed to bear fruit. (photo by Bill Rhodes)
The city of Asheville needs to be careful in any attempts to regulate street preachers at the Bele Chere festival, and any rules must apply to all groups, Katie Parker, executive director of the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, says. She adds that the current situation, with vocal showdowns between preachers and their opponents “sounds like it’s already working the way it ought to work.”
Photo by Jerry Nelson
The presence of street preachers (and people opposing or arguing with them) is an annual fixture at the Bele Chere festival. Now, after complaints, the city of Asheville is looking into ways to regulate or curb the activity.
Goldsboro-based street preacher Tony Denson, speaking during Bele Chere 2010. Asheville resident Jeremy Carter, in the background, brandished a rainbow flag in protest of Denson’s remarks. Photo by Michael Muller
A selection of signs and sounds from the street preachers at this year’s Bele Chere festival.
It’s become an annual ritual: Street preachers descend on Asheville for Bele Chere, and Ashevilleans come out to confront them — or simply watch the chaos. This year was no exception.