Several years ago, right-wing pastor Bill Dunfee of New Beginnings Ministries in Warsaw, Ohio, and members of his congregation began holding regular protests outside a local strip club. After years of being targeted by these protests, the club’s owner, employees, and dancers began counter-protesting Dunfee’s church on Sunday mornings, eventually doing so while topless.
In response, Dunfee filed a lawsuit seeking to end the protests against his church and that case has been working its way through the legal system for the last few years. Last week, radical right-wing activist Dave Daubenmire, who is a member of Dunfee’s church, reported on his “Pass The Salt Live” livestream that he had attended a mediation hearing aimed at attempting to end the legal battle. No acceptable resolution could be reached and now the case is headed to court.
Daubenmire argued on his program that, according to the Bill of Rights, the church is entitled to have its case heard by a jury of its peers, which means that the jury should consist entirely of conservative Christians.
“Who are your peers?” Daubenmire asked. “Most people I walk around with are not my peers. They’re not my peers, and for them to stand in judgment [of me] when they do not share my values and don’t understand the things of the spirit, for them to be able to do that [is unconstitutional].”
“If I’m before a jury of my peers, it’s like-minded Christians who are Bible-believers and understand the importance of biblical principles in the conduct of a civil society,” he argued. “Why should I, as a Christian man, go stand before a jury of unbelievers or nonbelievers or whatever? Those are not my peers.”
The Sixth Amendment, of course, does not guarantee Daubenmire a right to a trial by a jury of his peers but rather “an impartial jury,” which can certainly include all sorts of people who do not share Daubenmire’s right-wing views and values.