Skip to comments.Man arrested for reading Bible in public! Freedom of speech violation (DMV Hemet, CA)
Posted on 04/28/2011 9:35:21 AM PDT by WalterSkinner
Video of a member of Hemet Calvary Chapel being arrested for reading the Bible to people standing in line at the local DMV office by a CHP officer.
This could never happen in America.
Good!! If I am standing in line and can not just leave then it is not a matter of free speach!If he wants to stand outside on the sidewalk as people are coming and going then let him read from whatever he wants.
The trouble is that if the DMV allows folks to come in and read aloud to the essentially “captive” folks waiting there, it has to take all comers. Sure, this guy may be harmless, but then the local Satanists come, etc.
Frankly, I wouldn’t really want to be proselytized to when I’m in a location that I’m stuck at: a bus or subway, in a queue at the DMV, etc.
That being said, this raises a sore spot because of the double standard we’ve been seeing in such places as Dearborn.
There ought to be a law preventing Congress from making a law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. In fact, that is such a fundamental God-given human right that it should be part of the supreme law of the land. I thought that was so obvious that it didn’t need to be written down in a free country, but I was wrong. If we wrote it down though, would anyone pay attention?
Block the street, don't merely read on the sidewalk!
He should not have been reading inside the building. Arrest? They should have just asked him to go outside.
He was not arrested for reading the bible. He was arrested for harassing people. If he was reading th phonebook it would have been the same result.
I don’t see how there’s a right to inflict any sort of “reading alound” to people who are already having a bad enough day standing in line at the DMV. Exploiting them as a captive audience is unfair and just plain annoying. It wouldn’t matter ~what~ he’s reading. He could be reading the Constitution itself and I’d still hope somebody made him stop.
“This could never happen in America.”
Oh, come on. Freedom of speech doesn’t give one a license to create a public nuisance. The DMV is not the sidewalk or the public square, it’s not a proper forum for this kind of thing.
Getting arrested for preaching on public property isn’t just for China anymore.
He was not in public he was inside the building.
Yeah I would have to agree. Next you’ll have guys with the koran out there (not that they aren’t doing a lot of promotion of same anyways).
Needs some clear definition by the ACLJ as to what their rights to do this truly are.
did you watch the video? — he was outside in the parking lot—I’ve been there and know where he was
Who paid for that building?
It is public.
If this had been the Westboros........ Or some islamo nut.....
Another story said he was inside. That article also said the police asked him to stop reading and he refused.
I know that office, it is never very busy, if there was a line he was reading to he would have had to be inside.
Then ignore him - don’t silence him. This nation is in a downward spiral and I don’t see much hope for the future if our religious liberties continue to be trampled on. Do you think if it had been a muslim reading for the koran he would have been arrested?
I feel the same way. The guy wasn't arrested for reading the Bible; he was arrested for being a nuisance.
Did you watch the video? He was in the parking lot.
Where exactly did you get that information? You must have seen a different video from the one referenced:
..that is simply not true
The line to get in wraps around the building and all the chairs inside are full. This video showed he was outside.
How was he harrassing anybody? He was simply reading from the Bible. You really think he would have been arrested for reading the phone book? LOL
You really should watch the video before commenting, because he was outside the entire time. They were standing outside the DMV waiting for it to open. That said, I don’t think it’s productive to try and proselytize in such circumstances. I’d do the same thing if the Lord directed me to do so, but I’d want to make sure it was His will first. It just seems to me this sort of proselytizing is actually counter productive. You can hear other people in the line laughing about the whole thing. Finally, would we appreciate it if Satanists, Muslims, and other non-Christian folk wanted to do the same thing? Being uncivil is not a good witness. Doesn’t scripture tell us to be all things to all people, to obey the law to the extent it doesn’t contradict the Lord’s will?
Did you watch the video?
If he had been singing, would he have been arrested? I find people who sing in public annoying. What if he was praying facing mecca on a prayer rug in the parking lot? Would he have been arrested?
If the Bible is an offense--- any time --that indicates a problem with the hearer not the speaker IMHO--especially when it is done respectfully and calmly...
“Who decides if it’s a public nuisance? I didn’t find it to be a nuisance at all. He was simply reading the Bible.”
The legislatures decide. Just because you enjoyed it, doesn’t mean it’s not a public nuisance under the law. We can’t decide not to apply the law to Christians, and then expect it to be applied to others, like Muslims for example. Conversely, just because someone doesn’t apply the laws to Muslims when they should, doesn’t mean we can expect an exemption for Christians.
Look, I can’t watch the video right now but people are not arrested for reading the bible. They are arrested for harassing people. I’ll comment more when I can actually watch.
Freedom of religion is a protected right. He was not harming anyone. He was not in anyone’s face. He was in the parking lot of a government office. He had every right to be there. Thankfully a lawsuit will teach CA about our freedoms.
How can being a captive audience on public property make the first amendment be overruled. The recent SC decision in the case of the Westboro Church protests at a funeral went in the favor of the Westboro Church. I think those attending a funeral are more of a captive audience than those standing in line at the DMV. You may not like what is being said but the government cannot arrest the person doing the saying, just because of your dislikes, otherwise free speech is very costly. This free speech violation is going to be very costly: to the cash strapped State of California.
There is a MAJOR difference between personal reading of the Bible to yourself and preaching to people at the DMV.
“He was simply reading the Bible.”
So what if it was the Bible, the Koran, the phone book or a novel. You fail civics if you think you have the right to disturb other people just because you think your religion is what I should be hearing. I have the right not to hear about your views.
They weren’t inside - they were in the parking lot - not even close to people and reading from the Bible. How is that harrassing people?
Wow, who is holding all those people in line hostage? You’d think such kidnapping would be of greater concern to captives than a little reading and speaking in public.
In truth, the 1st Amendment forbids Congress (and because of the 14th Amendment, also the States) from passing any laws that abridge the freedom of speech, or of religion and the free exercise of religion, among other things.
Therefore, it’s the law that is in error, not the pastors. Your preference to be free of such speech is irrelevant to this issue.
Surely you’re not suggesting that it is good to allow the government to empower itself to do that which it is forbidden to do by the Constitution, are you?
Why are your rights greater than mine?
“Shortly after the men arrived at the DMV and began to simply read the Bible out loud, a security guard approached Mark Mackey as he was reading the Bible and told him to stop. 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.”
Like I said before, freedom of speech, or religion for that matter, doesn’t give one license to violate the law. That’s a well established legal principle. The parking lot of a government office is not a public forum that he had a “right” to be preaching in. It’s private property, owned by the state, and they can dictate what activities are allowed there. There are any number of laws that they could rightfully arrest him under, for example, disturbing the peace, creating a public nuisance, loitering, trespassing, etc. The lawsuit won’t go anywhere, thankfully, since it would set a very bad precedent if it did.
How about the laws of the state of CA that demand that they renew their driver's licenses or register their vehicles?
After their arrests, these men were released, and the District Attorney has not at this time pursued any criminal charges. Prior to the arrest and during the arrest, Pastor Coronado and others videotaped the actions of the CHP, and a link to the edited footage can be found below. Advocates for Faith & Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of these three men for violation of their right to free speech and for unlawful arrest.
The pastor will probably be able to build a new church when this is over. Good for him. They obviously didn’t violate any law since the DA never prosecuted any of them.
Hey does this mean I never have to listen to someone else with rap music in public.
I believe the Westboro people are savvy enough about the laws to actually stand in the public way when they do their schtick, unlike this guy, who was on state property.
The only thing worst than standing in line at the DMV .. Dude never heard of the interwebby?
“The pastor will probably be able to build a new church when this is over. Good for him. They obviously didnt violate any law since the DA never prosecuted any of them.”
Just because the DA declined to prosecute, doesn’t mean they were in the right. They were not, it’s plain as day, and any lawyer who advises them that they were and takes their case is either incompetent or is deliberately misleading his clients.
I went to the video thinking it was going to be an incident taking place in China.