Lakeland, Florida - The Lakeland street preacher who was put in handcuffs and thrown in jail last year for delivering his message too loudly on a street corner says his prayers have been answered.
Anthony Lowery's message is magnified thanks to a microphone and a speaker system he sets up five to six times a week at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. and West Memorial Boulevard in Lakeland. But Lakeland police pulled the plug on him on May 4, 2010.
Lowery says, "Really what they done, they were persecuting Jesus, that's what they was doing, because I only did what God called me to do. A lot of people don't like to hear what God has to say in this hour."
Police say it wasn't the message but how loud it was. Lowery was charged with violating the city's noise ordinance.
Lowery's arrest caught the eye of syndicated radio host "Bubba the Love Sponge," who invited Lowery to spread the gospel on Bubba's radio show. The preacher had 30 minutes of uninterrupted air time with an audience of more than a million listeners.
After the broadcast, Bubba said, "If there's anybody that values the First Amendment and has been screwed with based on standing behind the First Amendment, it's been me and I saw this and thought it was more absurd than anything else."
J. Kevin Hayslett, an attorney, got on board to help Lowery fight the charge. Lowery says of Bubba and his attorney, "You know I thank God. Those was angels in disguise."
Then, in what some might call divine intervention, the judge decided about two weeks ago to throw out the criminal charge against Lowery and, this week, Lowery was back out on his favorite street corner preaching as he has for nearly a decade.
Lowery has altered the volume of his speaker system, however, to comply with the law.
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