“Smile God Loves You” Incident Criticized

OLATHE, Kan. (AP) —The American Civil Liberties Union says a Kansas City suburb violated the free speech rights of a man by telling him he would be ticketed or fined if he continued carrying signs reading “Smile God Loves You” and “Junk It All But Jesus.”

The ACLU’s Kansas affiliate notified Olathe Thursday that a city employee told Dustin Strouse he couldn’t stand with the signs on a public sidewalk at an Olathe intersection.

ACLU attorney Doug Bonney says people have the right to carry signs in public places. The ACLU asked the city to make it clear that Strouse’s sign-carrying doesn’t violate city codes.

Olathe spokeswoman Erin Vader says the city employee misinterpreted a business-related ordinance on using “human billboards.” She says the employee now knows the ordinance doesn’t apply to Strouse.