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California Pastor Arrested for Reading The Bible in Public

HandcuffHemet California Pastor, Mark Mackey of Calvary Chapel was arrested Feb.2, 2012 for reading Romans 1 outside the DMV office. Pastor Mackey was first asked to leave by a security officer shortly after he  began reading the bible passage to those standing in line waiting for the office to open.

 A short time later, a California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer arrives to arrest Pastor Mackey. When questioned why he is being arrested the officer states that he [Mackey] was asked to leave and didn’t. The officer later states it was because the minister was preaching to a captive audience.

 The officer then turns his attention to the two individuals accompanying pastor Mackey. They are asked to leave and are never given an answer to their question of what law they are breaking if they continue to “preach” at the DMV.

 The First Amendment Rights Allegedly Violated

 The biggest issue here is the First Amendment right granted by the U.S. Constitution to Free Speech. There is an ongoing debate over whether this incident is a violation of that right. The main problem arises from the fact the listeners allegedly had no ability to leave the area. This would in fact make them a captive audience.

 Troubling Facts of The Situation

 There are a few points that concern me about this situation.

  1.  The officer does not seem willing or able to give an answer to what statute they are breaking
  2. There is question about the fact the pastor or church may have been informed before they would need a permit to preach.

 Should We Always Enforce Our Rights?

 If you believe the pastor did have a constitutional right to preach, do you believe it was wise? I am not convinced this matter was the best way to share the gospel.

 This is not the same as a park or courthouse. In those situations, the people could leave if they wanted to. Here, the listeners were forced to stay in a way of speaking by the necessity to perform their business with the DMV.

 Finally, if indeed he was informed previously of the need for a permit, why not fight that stipulation and respect the government while waiting?

 What do you think?

  •  Wise choice of venue?

  • Were his rights violated?

  • Should he have left when asked by security?

  • Were they antagonistic?

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I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I started GC Ministry in 2009 as a call to preach the word of God. I write here at to help encourage followers to develop a close relationship with GOD. Check out my Google profile for more info.

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6 Responses to "California Pastor Arrested for Reading The Bible in Public"

  1. I think he should have left when ordered too. The Bible teaches us to respect those in authority. He failed to do this. As for freedom of speech, he should respect another person’s need to be there. I have had people try to give me a tract while I am working a cash register. I usually tell them that I am a born again Christian. So, they keep it up. Do they have any consideration that I have to stand at that register? Do they consider that fact that I can’t really give them a piece of my mind? No. If you want to preach at another, make sure that they are in a position to leave and are free to use their freedom of speech to tell you off. I used to hand out tracts but we made sure not to interfere with the person’s attempt to go around us if that is what he/she wanted to do.

    1. RevCollins says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Tracy. I totally agree with you that he should have been respectful enough to leave when asked. At least he could have respected the officer enough have inquired why he needed to leave. The way he handled the situation made me wonder if he had been told about a permit earlier.

      I had never thought of your viewpoint before about sharing with a teller. Thanks for giving me that perspective.

  2. RevTrev says:

    I’ve never seen confrontation like that bring anyone to the love of God.

    I’ve had friends thrown out of public areas while I’ve just been able to chat with people and pray for them and see them healed.

    I know we’re not all called to the same way of doing ministry. I just want to be known as someone who loves rather than the one who wants to be right.

    Public policy should be changed the way they were established – that’s why we need people on integrity in office.

    1. RevCollins says:

      Thanks for sharing Trevor. I totally agree with you about the way to change policy is to have quality leaders in place. I really think that a 3-5 minute ‘sermon’ is the best policy for public presentations. I think it is especially useful to not impede their ability to leave if desired.

  3. ADALTO CUNHA says:

    It is a step He took ,that at this point in time many of us called Christian are afraid to take. If you read the Bible acts 3 and 4 when Petter and John were asked to stop speak of Jesus and His Ressurection what was their answer should we listen to God or man,would you say that Paul the Apostle would stop speaking of the Good News just by being told to,i don’t think so. For he knew that his goal was to gain people to turn to the truth,It did not bother him i he went to jail for knew that even in jail his works was going to be done,we as Christians are losing the battle of lack of faith afraid of goverment rules and disobeying one of the greatest command that from the who according to Efesians 1 was given by God Himself the outhority over all Goverment of the world Jesus Christ .Wasint He the One who command us to go in to the world and make disciple, bless is this man who took the first step,I hope that the few minutes that he had there, made a difference in someones life,how do I know it did ?Did on my,once you start read,going word by word meditating in it, the scriptures ,and obeying what is telling you,you will see that life does have a meaning to those who are living in Christ,And remenber what Paul told us in 1 Corinthians,dont matter where the Good News is preached it will have results.

    1. RevCollins says:

      I thank you for sharing your viewpoint. You make a good point that we should be more bold with sharing our faiith. I am worried that some are not using wisdom and turn others off from the message by their actions.

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