Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Calif. Pastor Arrested for Reading Bible in Public

Police arrested three men for "impeding an open business" when one man read Scripture aloud (unamplified) in the public parking lot, standing over 50 feet from the doors of the State DMV office.

UPDATE 7/5/12 Related Story: Phoenix Christian Jailed for Home Worship Gatherings

UPDATE 10/15/14: Houston Lesbian Mayor Subpoenas Opposition Pastors' Sermons

UPDATE 3/29/12 FOX News video:

UPDATE 4/30/11 (The Associated Press): Church is suing the California Highway Patrol

-- From "Assistant Pastor and Aides Arrested for Reading Bible Out Loud at CA DMV" by God Discussion Reporter 4/27/11

People standing in line on the morning of February 2 at the Hemet, California, Department of Motor Vehicles had no choice but to listen to a man from Calvary Chapel read the Bible.

A security guard asked Mark Mackey to stop. He refused to do so and was later arrested. After his arrest, the two men who had accompanied him, assistant pastor Brett Coronado and Ed Flores, were arrested for impeding business. Coronado and Flores reportedly did not read the Bible out loud.

According to their attorneys' press release, "The men believed that they had a First Amendment right to free speech as they were standing in a planter within the parking lot and were located on public property. Further, they were not interfering with any business of the DMV and were not yelling or disturbing the peace."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Christian Arrested for Reading the Bible in Public -- Caught on Video" posted at Christian Newswire 4/26/11

. . . a California Highway Patrolman approached Mr. Mackey as he read, took the Bible out of his hands, and arrested him. As the CHP officer was arresting him and putting him in his patrol car, the two men who were with him -- Assistant Pastor of Calvary Chapel Hemet, Brett Coronado, and Ed Flores -- asked the officer, "What law was he breaking?" Instead of identifying a legal violation, the officer asked, "Were you preaching too?" After continuing to ask the officer for the legal violation, Pastor Coronado and Ed Flores were also arrested by another CHP officer who had come to the DMV and were also cited for "impeding an open business." Neither Pastor Coronado nor Mr. Flores ever read the Bible out loud anywhere on DMV premises.

The charge of "impeding an open business" was enacted in large part to protect businesses against protestors who block the doors of an open business. At the time of the arrest of these men, the DMV was closed, and they were standing at least fifty feet away from the entrance.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "3 men arrested for reading Bible" © 2011 WorldNetDaily 4/26/11

"Whether this was an intentional violation of our clients' constitutional liberty or whether this was an act of ignorance on the part of the CHP, this lawsuit is important in order to preserve the liberty to read the Bible aloud on public property without fear of criminal prosecution,” said Robert Tyler, general counsel for Advocates for Faith & Freedom.

The case notes that the officers told the three men they were not allowed to preach to a "captive audience," and warned them against "trespassing" on public property.

"Plaintiffs' presence and Bible reading on the sidewalk and in the parking lot were not activities that were incompatible with the normal business activities of the DMV, particularly at an hour before the DMV opened for business," it explains.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read Calif. Pastor Wins Free Speech Lawsuit for Witnessing in Mall