Skip to comments.Minister arrested outside Mormon pageant
Posted on 08/22/2006 5:48:52 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
SALT LAKE CITY -- For the second week in a row, an evangelical Christian minister has been arrested outside a Mormon-themed pageant in northern Utah.
Daniel "Chip" Thompson, the 47-year-old director of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, a campus ministry at Snow College in Ephraim, was arrested for investigation of criminal trespassing by the Cache County sheriff's office Friday night at the Clarkston Pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early follower of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Thompson was with eight others handing out religious tracts that compare Mormonism with the beliefs of other forms of Christianity. He said the Clarkston City cemetery's amphitheater, where the pageant is performed, is public property, so he should not have been arrested.
"The Mormon officials started saying this was against the law -- 'you can't be here,' " Thompson said Monday. "We just said, 'Sir, this is public property and we're within our legal rights to express our freedom of speech and our freedom of religion. This is America.' "
On Aug. 11, Brigham City pastor Joel Kramer, 39, of Living Hope Ministries was arrested at the same pageant for investigation of disorderly conduct in a dispute over Kramer's taping of the pageant for use in Christian videos he produces.
Both Kramer and Thompson have court dates set for Sept. 13 at the Justice Court in Clarkston.
Clarkston City Clerk Annette Rindlisbacher said the cemetery is "reserved" each summer by local church leaders for the pageant and that the reservation applies to "the whole place, the parking lot, everything."
Rindlisbacher said she didn't know if that means the cemetery is considered private property during the annual seven-day pageant.
A telephone message left by The Associated Press for city attorney Bruce Jorgensen at his office in Logan was not immediately returned Monday. A message left at the home of Clarkston Mayor Boyd Pugmire also was not returned.
The AP was unable to reach anyone connected with the Clarkston Pageant, but left messages for two people whose phone numbers were posted on a pageant Web site.
Cache County sheriff's Lt. Chad Jensen said officers called to the cemetery received a complaint that Thompson's group was rude and shouting offensive things.
Cache County understood that during the pageant, cemetery property reverts to a quasi-private entity, Jensen said.
"The event is a ticketed event," Jensen said. "If you don't have a ticket you shouldn't be there."
Thompson denies any rude behavior or taunting and said he videotaped the incident.
He also said he checked on the public nature of the cemetery before going to the pageant with friends from ministry groups in Twin Falls, Idaho, and Brigham City. About three of every four people took the materials being handed out, he said.
"We were very non-contentious, you might call it a peaceful opposition to the Mormon church," said Thompson, who describes himself as a missionary to Mormons.
After refusing to leave cemetery grounds when asked by pageant officials, four sheriff's deputies arrived to talk with Thompson's group, the minister said.
"They started telling us that the cemetery belonged to the Mormon church and if we didn't leave immediately, they would arrest us," Thompson said. "I wasn't going to leave."
Thompson acknowledges he wanted to make an issue of exercising his civil rights, but said he believes police were out of line and influenced by the LDS Church, which dominates Utah's religious landscape.
"This isn't a religious thing for us," Jensen said, who believes officers gave Thompson every chance to avoid arrest. "We get a complaint, and it doesn't matter to us if this is a Baptist, Catholic or a Protestant thing."
Kim Farah, a spokeswoman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said she was unaware of Thompson's arrest and had no comment.
I have long maintained that the "God hates fags" guy, Phelps, can be prevented from disrupting the military funerals of our soldiers by appealing to the reservation schedule of the cemetery to keep the protestors away.
Like these Mormons are saying.... When they schedule the place, they are in the position of "owners" of the property for the purposes of their program during the time of their reservation.
If I support the concept with military funerals in public cemeteries, then I support it here to be consistent.
Thompson was with eight others handing out religious tracts that compare Mormonism with the beliefs of other forms of Christianity.
Their doctrine of God (as I understand it) puts them outside of the class of "other forms of Christianity".
What type of pageant would the LDS stage in a cemetery?
That guy needs to learn that Utah is not a democracy. Its a theocracy.
If you aren't LDS, well lets just say you are at a disadvantage.
Where'd they get this play from? Not from libs I hope.
Peaceful protest interrupts Bush speech (Jan 21, 2005) Code Pink activists access VIP section -- and get expelled
Libs make this claim about the US in general that Christians want to turn it into a Theocracy, or that it always has been one. (Actually we are a Constitutional Republic not a true Democracy, anyway).
Do you have a specific example when your liberty, civil rights, pursuit of happiness or freedom of religion were violated? Did anyone stop you from voting in elections?
I will concede that Mormons have a lot of political power in Utah in the same sense that Evangelicals and the "Christian Right" have political power in the south.
Mormons believe the US Constitution is inspired. it is canonized in our scriptures.
D&C 98: 5-6
5 And that law of the land which is constitutional, supporting that principle of freedom in maintaining rights and privileges, belongs to all mankind, and is justifiable before me.
D&C 101: 77, 80
77 According to the laws and constitution of the people, which I have suffered to be established, and should be maintained for the rights and protection of all flesh, according to just and holy principles;
80 And for this purpose have I established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose, and redeemed the land by the shedding of blood.
Joseph Smith himself advocated THEODEMOCRACY where the liberty of all individuals was respected. If you have experienced political suppression or religious oppression by Mormons they are in the wrong and not following Mormon belief.
From "Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling"
Joseph Smith Instituted the Council of the Fifty, which was the political form of Government for the Kingdom of God. It included three non-members. It was the organization that was used to conduct the Saints west and set up government in Utah. When Utah became a State it was disbanded. When asked about it Joseph explained, I go emphatically, virtuously and humanely for a THEODEMOCRACY, where God and the people hold the power to conduct the affairs of men in righteousness. And where liberty, free trade, and sailors rights, and the protection of life and property shall be maintained for inviolate for the benefit of all.
His Theodemocracy didn't happen. The FEDS came and Utah became a State that follows the Constitution like any other state (Well let me amend that, better than many liberal states anyway).
Mormons do believe that Jesus Christ will return and rule the Earth. When he comes again you can call it Kingdom with Jesus as King, or Theocracy. Most Christians believe similarly that Jesus will rule the earth as King. Until that time however we are to follow the God Inspired US Constitution. The Kingdom of God will incorporate the Constitutional Principles. (Really its the other way around, the Constituion incorporates principles from God) But its a way of saying -don't worry you will still have your liberty.
The population of Utah is up to 75% LDS, depending on the region, and the LDS church advocates taking part in the political process (unlike many evangelical churches, who believe that the Bible has no guidelines for political action or causes). Given that the US has a representative government, why should Utah elect anyone who wasn't LDS?
If you live in Berkeley and vote Republican, you're also at a disadvantage. The apostles were outnumbered by the Jews in Jerusalem, and the ruling authorities threw them in jail for going against the status quo. What's your point?
I have lived in Utah briefly. I didn't particulalrly like some of the Utah culture there. (There are a lot of things I liked) There is quite a bit in Utah culture that is not part of the LDS Church. But your over generalization was innacurate and based on what? Since you have never lived there.
There are plenty of non mormon politicians. Unfortunately most are Democrats as well as some "Mormon Democrats" which I can't understand. Look here just go to utdemocrats.org (Don't want to link it to promote the Democrats in Utah but here it is for the curious.)
The town I live in currently is predominantly Catholic. If I looked hard enough I could come up with some wild conspiracy theory about how the "Catholics" run the town since most of the town council, business owners, police judges etc. are Catholic. If a person cuts me off while driving perhaps I should blame the Catholic church? But yet here I am a religious minority and I can still vote and enjoy my constitutional liberties. There is no Catholic "Cabal" oprating in my town. But yes it would probably affect the local politics based on Demographics. That is why I sepcifically asked if you had a personal experience where your liberty was infringed upon. Apparently you do not.
Most Mormons are Conservative Republicans or Constituionalists. It is the most Republican voting state in the union. Here are two counties I found from wiki (too lazy to link).
This county is often referred to as "the most Republican county in the most Republican state in the United States." In the 2004 presidential election, 85.99% voted for George W. Bush.  However, this title is inaccurate as Rich County, Utah cast 88.91% of its vote for Bush.
Whats that pesky thing in the Constitution about the State endorsing a religion?
I am of the opinion that if the religions in this story were reversed, no one would have been arrested.
Do you think otherwise?
There's nothing in the Constitution that prevents the State from endorsing a religion.
Nothing. Whatsoever. It's not in there. Look it up.
What is there is this:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion,Note the phrase "an establishment of". "Establishment" isn't a verb, it's a noun referring to something that has been established. It refers to an established group, i.e. a denomination or entity. In other words, the State isn't suppose to "sponsor" or "endorse" (your word) one religious group over another, but rather is supposed to step back, prohibiting neither, and allow both to exist within the Commonwealth.
or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.
There is nothing IMO within the Constitution that prohibits the Commonwealth from recognizing, acknowledging, or even endorsing a deity or Lord held in common between all. In fact, I believe the State (should the vast majority of the states and people that it represents agree to such) ought to formally acknowledge Jesus Christ as it's Sovereign Lord and King of the United States of America in her Constitution. If her citizens are (by overwhelming majority) of the Christian faith, then that's what a constitutional, representative Republic ought to do. And if Utah has done something similar on a smaller level, I have no problem with it from a political perspective. It simply means that their elected officials are correctly representing them.
There is not much good information about the incident to make a judgement. (Thanks MSM). He or the police may have been in the wrong. I want to see the video tapes if nothing else for entertainment value.
If I get arrested in my predominately Catholic town is it the Catholic churches fault?