Video: US pastor on trial after reading the Bible

A Christian pastor has been arrested and is now on trial after reading the Bible to the public in California.

Pastor Bret Coronado and Mark Allen Mackey were outside a local Government car registration centre when a police officer took Mr Mackey’s Bible away and arrested him.

Later Pastor Coronado was also arrested and the men are now being supported by Advocates for Faith and Freedom, a non-profit religious liberty law firm.

Faith

The group says they were “simply sharing their faith on public property”, some 40 feet away from the entrance of the building.

The men were reading aloud as people waited for the DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles – to open.

A security guard asked Mr Mackey to move, but he continued until he was arrested by the police officer.

The incident happened in 2011, and the court case is expected to last up to a week.

Permit

The police argue that the two men were “trespassing” on State property, contrary to the California Administrative Code.

The code says a permit is needed to hold “any demonstration or gathering”.

But others have criticised the police saying reading the Bible is not a demonstration.

Police had originally charged the men with a crime punishable by a maximum of 90 days in prison and a $400 fine.

Thought police

Last month in the UK a street preacher was arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin.

Tony Miano, a former senior police officer from America, was taken away on Monday 1 July and locked in a cell, spending 7 hours in custody.

He was later released without charge, and has since said that “thought police” are now operating in Britain.

Mr Miano had been preaching about “sexual immorality” from the Bible passage found in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12.

Believe

A member of the public called the police to the scene, claiming to have heard a “homophobic” remark.

While in custody, police quizzed Mr Miano in the presence of a solicitor provided by the Christian Legal Centre.

Mr Miano said: “As the questioning started it became apparent that the interrogation was about more than the incident that took place in the street but what I believed and how I think.”

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