On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

On the Front Lines of the Culture Wars

What are the limits of our freedom of speech and worship?

Watch this video and ask yourself whether this street preacher was a trouble-maker or merely exercising his right to freedom of speech.

You’ll watch him being arrested for reading aloud from Romans 1 outside of the Department of Motor Vehicles in Hemet, California.

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Attorney Jennifer Monk, associate general counsel with a group called Advocates for Faith and Freedom, filed the suit April 25 in U.S. District Court, alleging free speech violations and unlawful arrest. She’s representing the man who was arrested — Mark Mackey, a member of Calvary Chapel in Hemet.


The other two plaintiffs, assistant Pastor Brett Coronado and Ed Flores Jr., were later arrested after asking what laws were broken to merit Mackey’s arrest.

According to the 13-page complaint, the trio began sharing the gospel at 8:10 a.m. nearly an hour before the DMV opened. The audience was people waiting in line for the office to open.

All three were taken to the CHP offices where they were handcuffed to a table for about 90 minutes. They were cited for “impeding an open business,” although the facility was not open and the men were never closer than 50 feet of any entrance. A spokesman for the Hemet office told a local newspaper that the church members had been warned in the past that they needed a permit to preach on state property.


“This is an abuse of power on the part of the CHP,” Monk said. “The arresting officer could find no appropriate penal code to use when arresting these men. The purpose of the arrests appears to have been to censor them.”

At the time of the lawsuit’s filing, the district attorney’s office had yet to pursue any charges against the men.

“It’s unbelievable that something like this could happen in America today,” says Coronado.

“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 Jennifer Monk.

So, the question is: If the U.S. Supreme Court says that the obnoxious Westboro Baptist Church has the right to defile the funerals of America’s fallen soldiers, how can a little church in southern California be denied their right to read aloud from Romans 1 to Department of Motor Vehicles customers waiting for bureaucrats to open their office?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Nahoma Omwanghe

    I will pray for the preacher and his congregation.In the Bible, it says to “share the good news”. I donot understand America, We want to kick religion out of the school and the public place and as soon as something catastrophic happens We want to scream out the name God.God should be on our mind everyday ,his name should’nt be use when it benefits Us ,His name should be used everydays.Either way it goes thru hell or high water everyone will no who God is in the end. All sinners and non sinners will bow their head @ the coming of the Lord…
    And I donot see how politicians can have a deaf ear when it comes to matters of religion.Are they willing to give up their souls for a vote?? Justice should and must prevail @ all times when it comes down to Gods children. We shall overcome….

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary

    I can’t believe that the law can stop u from reading scripture on the street. To me he was just reading his bible out loud and it is a sad world that some people want to through GOD away, I bet when they get in trouble GOD is the first peron they call on. If u don’t want to hear it close your ears. God said go preach my Gospel all over and show what the Lord has done for u by living the life that is true to Him; not man. We are in a sad world right now until something happen then they all will be calling on GOD. PEOPLE GET A LIFE, AND LET GOD ENTER INTO IT, FOR U WILL TRULY CALL ON HIM ONE DAY SOON. WE ALL HAVE OUR RIGHTS.THERE WAS NO LAW BROKEN, IF IT WAS THE OFFICER SHOW OF GAVE THE PENAL CODE.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment judy

    I would have chosen a different scripture – one about God’s forgiveness and LOVE.

  • D. Gillette

    Let’s be honest. There were mistakes on both sides. The pastor was told he needed a permit to preach on state property. The cop told him he could preach on street corners, his property, etc. all he wanted. Do I think the cop handled it poorly? YES! No tact or caring at all. The preachers should have been removed QUIETLY to a corner, told that they needed a permit or they were subject to arrest, and that wou;d have been it. If I speak like a retired cop, so be it. Many young cops today desperately need training in tact and respect.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    Why the anger at the ACLU? They had nothing at all to do with the arrests and in fact have gone to bat many times for religious freedom, including that of Christian organizations.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kenneth

    ….And why is it that every time there’s an incident in popular culture where some public official fails to kiss the feet of the Evangelical agenda some wingnut takes it as iron-clad evidence of “The End of Days”?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sherry

    The Bible states that christens will be targeted for what they beleive in we are in the last days of the bible

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lauren Garcia

    This was a very sad video. The police officer was so meank, and he knew they we doing nothing wrong. He was abusing his power.
    He was reading from the Bible. He wasn’t harassing anyone. I go to a public campus where some street preachers come and do harass students and they’re protected, and why is the Westboro Baptist church protected.
    This man was reading the word of God! I can’t believe this is happening in America. it goes against every value that I was always taught that our country stood for. This video made me want to cry. I hope some good can come of it as far as raising awareness and some type of censor should go against those officers. Instead of dealing with actual crimes, they were wasting time and tax payers money harassing a man that was reading God’s word. It’s awful!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Your Name

    A must see video.
    Peach the gospel; Go to Jail!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment wendy

    I have been disciplined twice at work for merely posting a bible verse. It was deemed as possibly offensive to other workers. So what was so offensive: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. ” Philippians 4:13 (King James Version)

    Really offensive, isn’t it.

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