Lisbon pastor's wife fined for praying too loud

By: Christina Craig
By: Christina Craig

LISBON, N.D. A Lisbon family that uprooted from Africa to North Dakota to start a better life following their faith, is now in the cross fire with law enforcement. It’s all because the pastor's wife is praying too loud on city sidewalks. We spoke to the pastor’s wife who said her rights as an American have been violated.

After two court dates and paying $150 in fines for "unnecessary noise", Martha Nagbe isn't giving up sharing her faith.

"I can't stop,” said Nagbe. “I'm trusting God."

Nagbe said police told her to stop praying downtown and in area neighborhoods. She moved from Liberia to this country for opportunity, but feels that she's being denied her rights.

"In the United States it's one nation under God."

In one hand Nagbe carries her bible, singing versus of praise throughout the streets. Lisbon's police chief told us Nagbe's loud praying is "disturbing the peace."

"I mean, we all need prayers and great she's out there praying for all of us, but it's just the volume of her voice,” said Police Chief Jeanette Persons.

Police further comment this isn't about race, religion, or freedom of speech. They've received complaints from neighbors "that have been woken up and she is standing outside of their house shouting,” said Chief Persons. “It's not that she just walks by, but she will stand out there for a lengthy period of time."

But, the chief adds she's only seen Nagbe pray outside during daylight hours.

"For them to antagonize her, to make her look like a bad person, sometimes makes me angry,” said Pastor Juwle Nagbe. “Somebody should give her the respect that she deserves."

Police may see Nagbe as an obstacle that can't be quieted. But, she intends to carry out her faith by making joyful noise.

Chief Persons said if Nagbe continues to pray loudly in the streets, she will continue to get fined. But, Chief Persons also comments if Nagbe lowered her voice the problems would go away.


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