No Permit Needed


Well Sussex County is again at the center of a controversy. This time it involves the New Covenant Presbyterian Church and a request to hold an event at the Band Stand on Rehoboth Avenue in Rehoboth, De.

Pastor Robert Dekker sent in a request for a permit to city manager, Gregory J. Ferrese and received this response, “I am so sorry to inform you that I cannot grant your request to have church services on the public beach in Rehoboth. I cannot mix Church and State”.

After being denied the use of the Band Stand, the Pastor asked about using the beach, and was also told that because it was a religious event they would be denied the use of any public area.

In my opinion Mr. Ferrese was correct, he could not grant Pastor Dekker’s request, nor could he deny it, because in my opinion the city has no authority to prohibit anyone from using the public beach based solely on their religious affiliation.

The fact that other groups use the Band Stand and beach area clearly shows a bias against religious groups in Mr. Ferrese’s decision-making process. One also has to ask how this  squares with the fact that there is a yearly Easter Sunrise Service event held in Rehoboth, also weddings are held on the public beach routinely, are these not religious events?

In my opinion Pastor Dekker had no need to seek a permit, or permission from the city, he and his flock could have simply shown up at the beach and held their event. But by seeking to do what he felt was right, he allowed the city to have authority over his actions. My view is, if a group of people, say around a hundred or so, decide to go to the beach, and they assemble peacefully, and do not impede others from using the beach, and do not break any laws or ordinances, why do they need a permit? Oh! And if they happen to say a few prayers while there, who have they hurt?

So this now brings me to the rest of the story. Enter local activist, and businessman, Christian Hudson. Mr. Hudson learned of the denial of the churches request and has taken it up as a cause. Mr. Hudson is known locally for being outspoken on issues involving faith and politics. Mr. Hudson is extremely motivated and bright. He has sent out flyers announcing that Pastor Dekker will preach a sermon on the Fourth of July, on Rehoboth Beach in defiance of tyranny, the sermon is to be titled, “A Line In The Sand”.

But it doesn’t stop there, this story has now gathered national attention in the form of Glenn (the carny)Beck, who is talking and writing about the event in defiance of tyranny.

I believe that Pastor Dekker and his congregation have every right to use the public beach for any peaceful reason they choose. I believe Mr. Ferrese has gotten it wrong in becoming involved at all, and certainly for stating that the church cannot use the beach.

I am however concerned, that what was originally intended to be a moment to honor our Lord and Savior, will now be turned into nothing more than a, “hey look at me”, moment.

Thanks to the national attention, what was likely to be a hundred or so local people, could swell to thousands of people from around the region and even the nation. Also, I would have liked to see how the city of Rehoboth handled the fact that Pastor Dekker intended to show up anyway, without all the outside pressure. Would the police have been ordered to disperse the congregation?  Would people have actually been arrested? Or would the city simply have waited to see if there were actually any issues stemming from the gathering?

We will never know now, because the Glenn Beck style “Circus Olay” has come to town, and I believe now that this will most likely end badly for all involved.

If Pastor Dekker is truly moved to do this, then he should. If on the other hand, this has somehow gotten away from him, he should seek guidance from prayer and ask himself why this is now happening the way it is.


36 Comments on "No Permit Needed"

  1. mike jackson says:


  2. Linda Creasy says:

    Well said, Frank.

  3. anon says:

    Well said, Frank. Let’s face it. There’s a growing “look at me” culture in certain Christian circles these days. The merger of Christianity and politics over the last 25 years has left both politics and Christianity worse off.

    And this is a definite lose-lose for all involved. No one will be attracted to the message of Jesus as a result of this stunt. 9:30am on a sunny 4th of July in the heart of Rehoboth Beach? That’s just going to end with a bunch of pissed off tourists who want to use the beach for its actual purpose.

    The city was absolutely wrong, but this is not the way to address it.

    And please ring me up when Christian Hudson has something positive to add to the conversation. When he does, it will be the first time.

  4. fightingbluehen says:

    I remember a few years ago there was a church doing sun rise services on the beach.
    I believe it was the local Episcopal church, but I not positive about that.

  5. anon says:

    Also worth noting that the church was given a permit by the city for the Thursday event.

  6. anon says:

    And I loved the pastor being cited as “uncomfortable” with all the attention after posing for pictures for the FRONT PAGE of the News-Journal, being interviewed by Glenn Beck and preparing for his national TV interview on Fox News.

    Naaaaaaah, this isn’t about stirring up publicity at ALL!

  7. Dave says:

    First, he wanted to use the bandstand. Not the beach. The bandstand is right at the end of Rehoboth Avenue. Effectively, he will be having a service that involves everyone at the end of Rehoboth Avenue because no one would be able to avoid it, thus affecting their use of the area. Store owners, people out for a stroll, beach goers, literally everyone would be affected.

    Once a Easter Sunrise services are acceptable because it happens at sunrise and let’s face it, not a whole lot of people are out at that time. I have no real objection to the use of the bandstand for a religious service but I consider it something like the right place at the wrong time. July 4th, summer, 9:30 AM, everyone on their way to the beach. Wrong time and day. It is inappropriate.

    A little mental exercise; imagine if you will a religion whose adherents practice in the nude, wanting to use the beach or the bandstand. Acceptable? I think not. So there could be religiouis practices which are inappropriate and unacceptable to be practiced in a public place. The question is, who decides what’s acceptable?

    Personally if I was near the bandstand on nice summer morning, I would be annoyed if there was a religious event taking place. Would I feel the same at an Easter sunrise service? Heck no. I would even (and have) taken part.

    But then I have very keen sense of what is and is not appropriate, regardless of what someone’s rights are. I have the right (and perhaps a need) to pass gas during a religious service when people are packed close together. Regardless of my rights, doing so would be inappropriate.

    Some folks think that class is about money, but it isn’t. Class is knowing such things as what is appropriate. Class is knowing how to behave and what is appropriate and inappropriate at certain times and in certain places.

  8. Dave says:


    “Well said, Frank. Let’s face it. There’s a growing “look at me” culture in certain Christian circles these days. ”

    Exactly. Once upon a time being Christian was about how one practiced, acted, and behaved. Now it’s about how visible one is; wearing Christianity on your sleeve for all to see. It’s pretty close to the narcissistic behavior that prompts people to put up large flagpoles as, thus demonstrating their patriotism.

    Now the pastor has jumped on board the fringe Christian Hudson tryanny train for the beach event. Messianic behavior should be reserved for the Messiah, I would think. The rest of us “Christians” seem to have forgotten the virtue of humility. I’m quite sure they will be reminded in the hereafter though.

  9. anon says:

    “But then I have very keen sense of what is and is not appropriate, regardless of what someone’s rights are. I have the right (and perhaps a need) to pass gas during a religious service when people are packed close together. Regardless of my rights, doing so would be inappropriate.”

    And that explains so much of what’s wrong with the GOP these days, as well. It’s dominated by people who are completely oblivious to appropriateness, so much so that even when they are directionally correct, they fail to build support because of their inappropriateness.

    So much talk about RIGHTS, absolutely no talk about RESPONSIBILITIES.

  10. Anonymous One says:

    “Exactly. Once upon a time being Christian was about how one practiced, acted, and behaved. Now it’s about how visible one is; wearing Christianity on your sleeve for all to see. It’s pretty close to the narcissistic behavior that prompts people to put up large flagpoles as, thus demonstrating their patriotism.” -Dave

    “Once upon a time” starts out every fairy tale, just like the one you claim.

    You conveniently forget the Crusades that took place from 1095 -1271 conducted by Catholic Europe begun by Pope Urban II. Their uniforms and equipment were emblazoned with the emblem of a cross. The crusades were against the Muslims, the Turks, the Jews, pagans, and heretics. There was a lull after 1271 until 1396 when the crusades began again in lesser numbers and continued until 1444.

    That’s a period of 244 years that “Christians” hardly were about humility, it was a reign of terror at the hand of Catholic Christians.

    People who put up large flag poles or flags because it’s their right to do so, it has little to do with your claim of narcissistic behavior. Someone who has been sucking on the teat of the taxpayers money for years as a government employee has little room to be criticizing or passing judgment on proud Americans who put the food on your table. It brings to mind the saying “you don’t bite the hand that feeds you”

  11. anon says:

    “Someone who has been sucking on the teat of the taxpayers money for years as a government employee has little room to be criticizing or passing judgment on proud Americans who put the food on your table.”

    Can someone explain that to me? People who own large flagpoles pay government salaries?

  12. Debbie says:

    I don’t understand why people are commenting that Christianity has become “look at me”. That is really ridiculous. Christians live and behave certain ways because we happen to believe ALL of the Bible is true and that we are commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the good news to all the world.

    We are not bullies or glory seekers. If other groups are able to use the beach for events, why not Christians for a morning service? I happen to believe that 9:30 on a Thursday morning is a fine time to do so. If you don’t want to take part, then don’t. I don’t know this pastor but I would guess that many of the commenters on here don’t know him either. Therefore, they should not accuse him of having other motives.

    Would there be this much opposition if it were a Muslim service?

  13. Dave says:

    “People who put up large flag poles or flags because it’s their right to do so, it has little to do with your claim of narcissistic behavior.”

    That’s an utterly ridiculous statement, which I guess is to be expected.

    I’m gonna dig a hole in my front yard.
    Whatcha gonna do with the hole?
    Why you diggin it?
    Cause I have the right

    Ok, yeah, I buying that. People put up flag poles because they want everyone to see their flags. They pray at the bandstand because they want everyone to hear their prayers.

    They do it for recognition of how patriotic they are or have Christian like they are. That narcissim plain and simple.

    And if you think your simpleminded insults about my profession and my service, military and civilian, you wrong. I’m just an American seriving my country to the best of my ability. I’m proud of that and I don’t need fly a flag to prove it. The same way, I don’t need to pray in public to have God hear my prayers.

  14. Anon says:

    “We are not bullies or glory seekers”

    Yeah, because if the pastor was a glory seeker, he’d appear on the front page of the News Journal, get interviewed by Glenn Beck and do a national TV interview on Fox News.

    Oh, wait…

  15. Anonymous One says:

    Dave the only simpleminded arrogant narcissistic person is you. You have no clue why every individual chooses to fly an American flag anymore than I do, but your self righteous pious ego demands that you proclaim they are automatically all narcissistic. Great your so proud you don’t need to fly a flag I could care less, nor do I have any way of knowing that you don’t actually fly a flag.

    You’re so silently proud yet you feel the need to qualify your comments with reference to your military and civilian duties within the government, continually.

    Your humility is a rather difficult pill to swallow since you proclaim your Catholic upbringing and beliefs whenever there is a discussion about religion. Since the Internet is a world stage I’d say you are much like the Catholic Crusaders.

  16. Anonymous One says:

    @Debbie no there wouldn’t be the opposition if it were Muslims just like there wasn’t any opposition made by these posters when it was the KKK or the WBC who was just in Dover.

  17. Dave says:

    Who the heck said I was humble? I am far from humble, which is a fault of mine. But that doesn’t change the fact that I need no recognition or validation from others, which manifests itself as a need to proclaim my patriotism, Christianity, or any other ism or ity.

    There are those who enjoy the spectacle with themselves as the center of attention or who have the audacity to believe that they are giving a gift of themselves to others.

    The pastor who wants to use the bandstand on July 4th for a religious service wants to do that because:

    1. He believes that everyone needs to witness (narcissim).
    2. He believes that everyone wants to witness (a gift).

    Either way the real antithesis of humility.

    Anyway, today I’m celebrating independence. When the sabbath rolls around, I’ll celebrate that. Hope everyone’s hot dogs and hamburgers are delicious!

  18. saltyindependent says:

    they should have just gone down to the beach and done their thing. now the same old players are talking the tyranny stuff again. do you think the sheriff will be there?

  19. Frank Knotts says:

    Dave, let’s be clear, I do not believe that the original idea was to have a prayer meeting on the 4th. I believe that the pastor requested permission in April or May. The 4th was chosen for the “defense against tyranny” rally after the denial. Not a coincidence I am sure!
    I did not attend this morning( I work at the beach and stay as far away as possible on holidays) but have heard that those who attended were respectful and orderly. I have been told however that the pastor and prayer were secondary to the political posturing unfortunately. It seems as though there was much talk of the event and those who made it happen, and why, then the pastor was introduced. It seems as though the original intent was lost, and in the end country was place before God.
    I would have thought more of those involved had they after winning approval( which I don’t feel they needed to begin with), if they had simply held a prayer meeting to praise God, instead of themselves.

  20. saltyindependent says:

    is this the same dekker who was repeatedly ejected from youth basketball games this winter?

  21. Anonymous One says:

    Not likely the Sheriff attended, he’s burying his brother that passed away this week. It’s not like any of you self righteous buffoons give a damn, or would even bother to offer up condolences.

  22. Laffter says:

    No matter what you may think- the sheriff has my sincere condolences on the passing of his brother.

    How he would choose to receive them is with civility I am sure

    Unlike folks like you- his minions who goad him on and actually make him look worse than he is.

    He , himself, is generally very civil, wrong, but civil

    You on the other hand are an unmitigated ass.

  23. Harry Whittington says:

    just like there wasn’t any opposition made by these posters when it was the KKK or the WBC who was just in Dover.

    When the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) was in Wilmington protesting gay marriage, there was a large counter rally that was all over the news. So your twisted view of how evil civilization is falls short of reality.

    BTW, people don’t protest at KKK rallies, they ignore them so the KKK gets the least possible amount of new coverage and no recognition.

  24. Harry Whittington says:

    I wonder how many of the people sitting on the beach on the 4th of July at this “freedom” protest were in Wilmington on Monday during the counter protest to the WBC?

    The counter protesters in Wilmington were there to drown out the shouts of the WBC so the gay couples exercising their “freedom” to get married wouldn’t have to deal with the hateful shouts from the WBC.

  25. Tuxamus Maximus says:

    Tuxamus Maximus agrees with Frank, Dave, Harry, Anon and Laffter on this subject and to some extent even salty independent as well. Well stated fellers!

    Tuxamus Maximus does wish to see answer to ‘dekker’ question because Tuxamus Maximus has an inquiring mind at times.

    Tuxamus Maximus (aka Taxi Maxi) wonders how Anonymous One made it to this planet without Department of Defense or NASA knowing. The lame and cowardly bounty hunter (who hasn’t been around for a while) must have invited him here somehow. Anonymous One makes those on the far right look somewhat and I use the word in a relative way ‘sane’….for lack of words Mr. Knotts wouldn’t like here. Just playing by the ‘rules’. Harry, Laffter, Anon and Dave making my bad day better.

    Tuxamus Maximus has to go out and collect some late rent now. He gives 5 days ‘grace’ asking only that tenants contact him about being late.

    Tuxamus Maximus also all have a GREAT weekend knowing Anonymous One may well get beamed back to the planet Nitwit soon! Debbie may be getting in line for a beam up as well….

    Tuxamus Maximus also wishes his most sincere condolences to the Sheriff on loss of his brother. Always sad to see someone die before their time.

  26. saltyindependent says:

    did not realize that his brother passed recently. i would not have made that comment.

  27. saltyindependent says:

    i would, however, like to know if this pastor coached youth basketball this winter.

  28. Anonymous One says:

    Laffter given what you’ve spewed proves you’re a vociferous rectum you always have been always will be.

    Taxamus Maximus you should meet my pal rectumus enemamus they could probably clear up that clog in your head so you would speak in 1st person instead of 3rd person.

    Harry where were all those protesters when the WBC was at Dover Air Force base spewing their hatred at the troops who protect the freedoms that far to many take for granted? I guess the right of homosexual marriage is more important than the troops.

    People didn’t protest the KKK because racism is still prevalent in Delaware. The WBC should be treated the same way, but counter protesters had to make a statement not about the WBC but homosexual marriage.

  29. Harry Whittington says:

    A1 do you think the troops are “more important” than the gays who were exercising their right to marry? I always thought that in the United States of America, everyone was equal.

  30. Tony Stark says:

    I think Rev. Dekker did not do his homework regarding the Bandstand. The Bandstand is a family entertainment venue meant to keep tourists in downtown R Beach into the evening. Dolle’s and Grotto’s are a couple of beneficiaries.

    On the bandstand website, R Beach clearly states that they want press packets (and thereby requests) from entertainers by January.

    Dekker admits that his organization did not request a date until April or May.

    The Rehoboth Band stand states that certain events are not allowed and some of these are religious events but also rap/ hip hop events. I think this has more to do with pleasing the audience that packs Rehoboth Avenue than anything to do with anything religious. I think if Amy Grant wanted to play in Rehoboth she would not be classified as a religious event.

    The Rehoboth Band Stand books and pays predominately local acts. These acts have years of experience and are locally popular. Check out the websites.

    Regarding the beach, provided the flow of beach goers is not interfered with, I see no reason for a permit.

  31. Frank Knotts says:

    Well said Tony. I think the pastor attempted to do the right thing the right way, at the wrong time, and when the activist took over, it became something completely different.
    What happened on the 4th was not about God, it was about the views of how government should work.
    I think it would have been a much more powerful statement of our freedoms had it been nothing but a sermon and prayer meeting.
    Instead of a prayer event that demonstrated our freedoms, it was a demonstration that included a prayer.
    As for A1 (thank you Laffter) well who are you to decide what does or does not get protested? Isn’t that what the people on the 4th were there to say?
    Or do you believe in mandatory “spontaneous” demonstrations ordered by the minister of propaganda? And if you are not seen in any of the photos your name goes on a list. You self righteous purity testers sicken me with all of your false patriot crap. You are no more a patriot than Hitler was a Rabi. You run around waving the flag and demanding that all solute it while crying freedom, you talk of Christian values, while spewing hatred towards Muslims and other religions.
    The reason you can’t see this is because that beam in your eye is the size of a redwood tree.

  32. Tuxamus Maximus says:

    Tuxamus Maximus knows how to push the button of Anonymous One! Got this one figured out for sure now. You are just too easy. That you have a ‘pal’ named rectumus enemamus doesn’t surprise me at all. Most likely your best, and only ‘pal’.

  33. Laffter says:

    So, folks, when are we going to celebrate the death of DP?

    Anyone been there lately? LOLOL

    And there is more folk visiting here now……

    Looks like Del Right is moving forward….not too far to the right, just forward…. 🙂

    Frank, you did a good job and you are welcome for the assist .. 😉

    Of course being called names with big words is kinda like the fat school yard bully who is lost for words using the best his little pea brain can come up with…LOLOL

    do you think they have figured out they are irrelevant yet?

    And Tux, well you are just the bomb! ;-). You hotshot you. 😉

  34. St Paulie Girl says:

    You really have it figured out? I would like to take you seriously, but to do so would affront what little intelligence you have.
    delawareright is moving forward? That’s priceless……it’s the same 4-5 libercrats posting. The last 2 DR events in Kent and Sussex Counties couldn’t even muster up more people than an IPoD meeting. People ain’t buying the hate, dissension, and schoolyard drama you and others bring to the table. You’re as irrelevant as the maxi pad from Tennessee, and twice as irrelevant as the message Knotthead is attempting to sell.

  35. Frank Knotts says:

    And Yet? SPG says, ” and twice as irrelevant as the message Knotthead is attempting to sell.” Great retort SPG, maybe you could add a nanny-nanny, boo-boo.
    You also refuse to address what I have said, and choose to only attack me personally. Okay. Just keep coming here and demonstrating exactly what it is that I have been saying. Thank you for your input.

  36. Tuxamus Maximus says:

    Tuxamus Maximus just sits in his chair looking out on the ocean and ponders the madness of SPG and Anon One, lil Willie and the others that hide from the men in the white coats.

    Tuxamus Maximus appreciates Laffter but YOU are the the best. Yet to find a point I don’t agree with from you.

    Grandpa Tuxamus and Grandma Maximus not going to give the kids some time alone and enjoy some grandson time.

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