A Christian man was arrested while exercising his first amendment right at a Pride event held in Reading, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. Reading the Bible in public places is generally considered a protected form of free speech under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
The First Amendment guarantees individuals the right to freedom of speech, which includes the right to express religious beliefs. Damon Atkins, a devout Christian, attended the event to share his religious beliefs and to express his interpretation of scripture.
Reading’s first-ever “Pride March and Rally,” supported by Mayor Eddie Moran, drew dozens of people outside the City Hall.
Atkins walked up to a public sidewalk just across the street from City Hall, holding a slogan that says “Jesus said go and sin no more.”
Police Sergeant Bradley T. McClure approached Atkins to intervene and prevent him from reciting the Bible verse, emphasizing respect for the LGBTQ+ community’s pride rally.
Atkins responded by asserting his right to freely express himself, citing the fact that they were in a public space. Atkins continued and chose to read from 1 Corinthians 14:33, which states, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”
However, before he could finish reading the verse, McClure rushed toward Atkins and placed him under arrest.GRTWT.