Arresting Beliefs

A young pastor is suing a Californian shopping mall after he was handcuffed and ejected from the building for striking up conversations with three shoppers about their religious beliefs.

A young pastor is suing a Californian shopping mall after he was handcuffed and ejected from the building for striking up conversations with three shoppers about their religious beliefs. "Imagine getting arrested for just striking up a conversation about religion in public. That’s what happened to California resident Matthew Snatchko in 2006 when the youth pastor initiated a conversation about God with three shoppers at the Roseville Galleria mall. The women gave Snatchko permission to broach the subject, but a nearby store employee said they ‘looked nervous,’ so he ordered the evangelist to leave. After Snatchko refused, mall security arrested him. ‘He was put in handcuffs and hauled down to the mall’s security station and later booked at the local jail,’ said Snatchko’s attorney Matthew McReynolds of the Pacific Justice Institute, a legal defense organization specializing in the defense of religious freedom. Snatchko was later released and never charged with a crime, but he and the Justice Institute decided to challenge the constitutionality of Roseville Galleria's restrictions on conversations about topics such as religion and politics."

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