Friday, May 6, 2011
No preaching in public
In Hemet, California an evangelist pastor of a church in S. California and two of its members were arrested for reading the Bible outside of the DMV. The men were reading Romans 1 to passersby and were asked to leave by a highway patrol officer. The men continued to read the Bible and were arrested a few minutes later, their Bibles taken from them. The officer told them that they were not allowed to preach there because there was a captive audience. However, when the pastor asked him what law they were breaking he could did not answer them. The entire incident was videotaped and is on you tube with over 66,000 views. The men were taken downtown and arrested for impeding an open business, even though the DMV was closed and they never stood within 50 feet of the doors. The three men are now filing a federal civil rights suit against the California Highway Patrol officer.
With all that has occurred the pastor has received a great deal of feedback, both positive and negative. When asked about his perspective of the whole ordeal, he stated that he was surprised by the events and wants only to ensure that others do not have their freedom of speech rights violated. He uses his religion and faith to cope with everything that happened, affirming that he had simply wanted to share the Scriptures with others. In this account, personal faith is an extremely positive factor that enables his ability to cope with the pain of not being able to freely share his religious beliefs. This allows him to continue on through this difficult process so that Christians are able to read the Bible on public property without fear.