Tennessean Continues To Exercise First Amendment Rights On Public Square Despite Possibility Of Arrest (Update 1/2/23)

***Update 1/2/23 ***

Jeff Daniels has issued the following statement:

On October 22nd, I was served papers by the police (signed by the mayor and city administrator) stating that I could no longer play worship music or gather in the Franklin square from 5 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday, or Saturday 5 p.m. to Sunday 7 a.m. Also, I am not allowed to be in the same place more than once a month. 

If I continue to worship and pray, I can be given a ticket or arrested. 

I have continued going to the square praying but have not used speakers to worship. As of right now, I could be arrested any Saturday for not complying with the city ordinance.

I am asking all followers of Christ to attend the city council meeting on January 10th at 4:45 p.m. in support of us being able to exercise our 1st amendment right to freedom of Religion, freedom of speech and freedom to assemble peacefully.

City Hall

109 3rd Avenue South

Franklin, TN 37064 

Original Article:

Image Credit: Facebook

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

A Tennessee man who has been gathering with others weekly on the Franklin Public Square to worship Jesus vows to continue to do so despite the possibility of arrest.

Jeff Daniels of Murfreesboro has been worshiping on the square in Franklin every Saturday evening for the last two and half years. In that time, he has faced opposition from the city as he exercises his first amendment rights. 

This past Friday, Daniels spoke to The Tennessee Conservative and relayed that there was a possibility that he faced arrest the following night by going to the square to worship. Daniels said that the city has amended its codes several times in an effort to oust him from the square. 


When Daniels began going to the square at the beginning of July in 2020 he amplified worship music while there. City Attorney Shauna Billingsley has said that “many complaints were made” about the music being amplified. Daniels confirmed that he was asked to stop amplifying the music and he has complied with that request.

The city recently amended its Public Gathering and Expression Event code which now prohibits any events that occur after dark throughout the city or after 5:00 pm Friday and Saturday.

Daniels had a lawyer reach out to the City of Franklin to argue for his first amendment rights. In reply, City Attorney Shauna Billingsley wrote to say that Daniels and others gathering with him has the appearance that the square belongs to him. “Your client and his invitees use of the whole Square every Saturday night for 4 hours along with the amplification of music has the appearance that the area is his alone. And, in effect, he dominates the Square while using it,” she stated.

Daniels showed up Saturday night with 40-50 others to worship as usual. He did not receive a citation for violating the new ordinance.

One of the people in attendance was Alderman at Large Gabrielle Hansen. Hansen was asked by News 2 if it was possible that Daniels could have been arrested.

“From the rumor mill, yes… And we know that the potential is there. I spoke with the city manager this morning, who assured that he’d ask the police chief not to arrest Mr. Daniels at this event,” Hansen said. “But if amplification was included, that he would receive a citation because that is part of the ordinance, not to disturb the quiet and the peace.”

Source: Ashley Daniels / Facebook

Hansen has said that the updated gathering ordinance does not represent the feelings of her constituents and she plans to bring it back up with the City Council after Christmas.

Daniels told The Tennessee Conservative that several members of the Council were hoodwinked into voting for the updates when they were assured that it would not prevent the weekly worship gatherings.

Daniels began the weekly gatherings at a time when many churches were not congregating in person, and there were Black Lives Matter groups protesting in downtown Franklin.

“We have had many eager to join in and since last fourth of July, I have set up speakers and played Christian music, rain or shine, to create an atmosphere of worship and praise to our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ in order to publicly lift and proclaim the name of Jesus,” Daniels has stated.

Click Here To Listen in Now!

City Mayor Ken Moore replied to our social media post about Daniels possible arrest on Saturday:

Several from our team have heard from concerned community members about a prayer and worship time planned by a group of citizens for this evening on the Square. Some posts on social media are insinuating that someone will be arrested for participating. That is untrue. 

As a City, we respect and support, every citizen’s right to public prayer and assembly. Protecting those freedoms and supporting those who seek to express them is a responsibility we acknowledge and embrace. 

With regards to tonight’s planned prayer time, we simply request that the hosts and participants reciprocate that support by voluntarily complying with the City’s ordinance that prohibits using amplified sound in certain areas, during certain hours. That ordinance was recently passed in the interest of those who live or work in the downtown area, and the many visitors who enjoy Franklin’s iconic Main Street.

Our plan is to support the hosts and participants of tonight’s gathering, and hope that they will honor our simple request of not using amplified sound so that those who are not participating can enjoy the quiet that our ordinance was designed to afford.

The city has said that Daniels can apply for permits to worship at other locations in the city. Daniels intends to continue to worship on the square.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at paula@tennesseeconservativenews.com.

4 thoughts on “Tennessean Continues To Exercise First Amendment Rights On Public Square Despite Possibility Of Arrest (Update 1/2/23)

  • December 19, 2022 at 5:00 pm

    I can understand the loud noise not being wanted after a certain hour. But praying on the square should not be touched. If someone wants to pray for our country and state for the mess it is in then so be it.
    It is not a crime and no city official has the power to stop that.

  • December 19, 2022 at 5:25 pm

    How many time did the City Council revise the codes when the BLM was protesting, in some cases violently. I think four hours is excessive, the longest sermon I ever heard was short of two hours and I would think that would be sufficient. Other than that, it would be in the best interests of the left to leave it alone. They’ve tried hard to start a race war, now an immigration war and in the background a war on religion. Be a real mess if it all jelled into another Civil War.

    • December 20, 2022 at 12:11 am

      “Another” Civil War? From the way the left treats people I don’t believe the first one ever ended.

  • December 19, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    If it was LGBQ or whatever trash not a word would be said! Stand up for what is Right.


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