Thursday, September 2, 2010

God Not Allowed in Shopping Mall

In Roseville, California, a youth minister wished to go to a shopping mall and share the Gospel with shoppers. Apparently he was very careful to not force himself on others; all those who spoke with him did so voluntarily. But for doing this he was arrested, handcuffed, fingerprinted, and book on criminal charges.

The mall has a policy that "...forbids anyone [from] ever sharing their faith or political views with anyone else in the shopping mall at any time if they did not know that person prior to entering the shopping mall." The story did not make it clear if the minister knew this policy beforehand.

This story raises some conflicts for me. On the one hand, I believe that private businesses should have latitude to run their business freely. And having the Constitutional right to free speech and free religious exercise does not mean anytime anywhere. (i.e. you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater)

On the other hand, the courts have often recognized that commercial establishment like malls are, in effect, part of the public square. And the Supreme Court ruled years ago, I believe during the Viet Nam war, that a man had the First Amendment right to wear a jacket with "F*** the Draft" on it, and presumably he could have worn that into a shopping mall. The Roseville mall discussed above has a rule prohibiting wearing clothes with political messages, so where would that leave an anti-draft jacket?

Feel free to comment if you have an opinion about this. It remains to be seen if this or a similar case will work its way to the Supreme Court.

Read the story below:

Mention SCOTUS case that said young man can wear a F___ the Draft jacket in public.

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