(VitalNews.org) – In yet another example of Christian persecution in America, a street preacher from Pennsylvania was arrested as he attempted to read aloud from the Bible during a Pride rally in Reading, Pennsylvania, approximately 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia. He was charged with disorderly conduct, although the charges were later dropped after a deluge of complaints from concerned citizens.
The arrest was filmed on a video which was later uploaded to social media and went viral. The street preacher, Damon Atkins, was seen engaging in a discussion with Bradley McClure, a Reading police officer, but was arrested when he started quoting from the Bible. The crowd at the LGBTQIA+ rally can be seen applauding as Atkins was taken away in handcuffs.
The District Attorney’s office issued a statement saying that Atkins was not arrested for the content of his speech, but rather for “disorderly conduct,” which can be anything that a police officer doesn’t like for any reason, such as – oh, I don’t know – an attempt by a street preacher to assert the moral high ground on public property when he is surrounded by a bunch of very vocal dissenters, perhaps.
Reading Police Chief Richard Tornielli attempted to justify the behavior of his police officers in arresting Mr. Atkins, saying that he was given the opportunity to cease and desist his “offensive” behavior, but the content of the viral video suggests that his officers simply did not want to allow any disruption, even of a peaceful nature. As any lawyer will tell you, this runs contrary to Mr. Atkins’ First Amendment rights.