Mark Mackey and Brett Coronado of Calvary Chapel Hemet often read the Bible or preach in public areas, such as parks and malls. This time, Mackey was reading aloud from the Bible while standing about 50 feet from the Department of Motor Vehicles, which was closed. But the two were arrested because the 15 people waiting in line for the DMV to open were considered to be a “captive audience.” The exchange was captured on video:
Mackey (reading): …and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Officer: Alright, you give him the book. You’re under arrest.
Mackey: What have I done wrong?
Officer: You’re not allowed …
Mackey: Can you tell what it is that I’ve done?
Officer: Absolutely I will. Absolutely I will. You’ve been asked to leave, and you didn’t.
Mackey then turned to the crowd and said, “Folks, this is what the United States is coming to — you can stand here and talk about anything you want, but you can’t talk about the Bible.”
But the officer replied, “You can preach on your own property, you can preach on the street corner, but you’re not allowed to preach here because this is a captive audience.”
Mackey and Coronado were arrested on misdemeanor charges and are being represented by Advocates for Faith & Freedom attorneys, who have asked that the charges be dismissed. That request was declined, so the decision is now being appealed on constitutional grounds.
- Christians Face Misdemeanor Charges After Arrest for Reading Bible Outside of DMV Last Year (theblaze.com)
- California Pastor Gets Arrested for Bringing the Good News outside the DMV (blogginghounds.wordpress.com)
- Taking Liberties: Arrested for reading the Bible? (pastorfisher.wordpress.com)
- Two Christians Prosecuted for Reading the Bible in Public (faithinspires.wordpress.com)