Think you know AARP? What you don't know about us may surprise you. Discover all the 'Real Possibilities'


AARP Real Possibilities



AARP Games - Play Now!

Contests and

Dream Vacation Sweepstakes

10 weeks. 10 amazing trips. Seize your chance to win!
See official rules. 




Hear Ye! Hear Ye!

Can the Movie 'Jesus' Play at the Senior Center?

Pastor's film choice promoted Christianity

HearYe, church v city

— Michael Hirshon

The Verdict

The District Court held that the primary purpose of the film was to promote Christianity, and that the city had a right to exclude the film, since its subject matter did not fit the purpose of the senior centers. But the Court of Appeals disagreed.

First, the Court of Appeals noted that speech intended to convert nonbelievers enjoys the same protection under the First Amendment as any other religious speech, including the Bible classes that were being run at the center. Quoting the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals noted that "it is no violation for government to enact neutral policies that happen to benefit religion."

The court also held that the city was wrong to rely on the Older Americans' Act to justify their restriction. Loss of federal funds is not a "compelling government interest" that can be used to overcome the city's duty under the U.S. Constitution.

Finally, the court found it insulting to senior citizens for the city to argue that seniors would be coerced or intimidated by Kimbro's program. "People in this age group are not in need of special insulation from invitations to adopt a religious faith," the court said, adding that attendance at Kimbro's proposed presentation was voluntary.

Robin Gerber is a lawyer and the author of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Today's News

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

financial products

Member access to financial and insurance products and services at

AARP Membership Drive: Join or Renew Now

Member access to health and insurance products and services at

Mature woman lounging on armchair using a laptop

Members enjoy exclusive savings on dining, travel, tech & more at

Member Benefits

Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change. Join Today