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Christian Arrested After Trying to Quote Bible to Pride-Rally Attendees in Pennsylvania

Cellphone video captured the moment when a man was arrested after trying to quote the Bible to Pride-rally attendees across the street from him in Reading, Pennsylvania, over the weekend.

The incident took place Saturday outside City Hall at 815 Washington Street where the first annual Reading Pride March & Rally was underway. Reading is about 90 minutes northwest of Philadelphia.

The Lancaster Patriot covered details of the incident, reporting that the man who recorded video of the arrest is Matthew Wear, and adding that the arrestee is Damon Atkins. The outlet said it spoke to both Wear and Atkins.

Wear told the Patriot he’d been preaching to the Pride-rally attendees prior to Atkins’ arrival and was told to stop by the same police officer who later handcuffed Atkins. “A cop got in my face, laid hands on me, and threatened to arrest me if I didn’t stop,” Wear says on video.

The outlet said Atkins was standing on the public sidewalk holding signs just after 10 a.m. when trouble began for him, too. Wear’s video camera was on, and he captured the interaction between Atkins and the officer.

The officer — identified by the Patriot as Sgt. Bradley McClure — is standing in the street and speaking to Atkins, who is standing on the sidewalk.

“This is public property,” Atkins tells the officer, who agrees it is public property but still insists that Atkins “let them have their event” and “respect it.”

Atkins replies, “You know who’s cheering for us? The people that are in hell.”

The Patriot said Atkins later explained that he was referring to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke, in which a rich man begs Father Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers about the place of torment he’s in.

As the officer turns and walks away, Atkins says, “So you do you, and I’m gonna do me.”

With that, Atkins begins speaking, hollering “You!” across the street and then uttering the words, “God is not…,” before the officer says, “That’s it!” and turns back and arrests Atkins. The Pride-rally attendees applaud.

Atkins added to the Patriot that he was going to quote a portion of 1 Corinthians 14:33 — “God is not the author of confusion” — but didn’t finish speaking the verse as he was being arrested.

Moments later when a handcuffed Atkins continues trying to speak to the Pride-rally attendees, the officer turns him around and walks him up against a building’s outer wall.

Soon the officer walks Atkins away from the rally, as two other officers follow, and sits him on a curb while his backpack is emptied.

“Sheer tyranny,” Wear — who is still recording video of everything — says about what’s going down in front of his eyes.

During this time, a Pride representative on a microphone mocks “protesters across the street” who managed to “get themselves in trouble with the police.”

The crowd loves it and begins cheering. The man on the mic then urges the protesters to get “some love into that heart of yours.”

Check out the video below. Atkins’ arrest occurs just after the 1:50 mark:

The Patriot included in its report what it says is an affidavit of probable cause, which indicates the arresting officer said, “[Atkins] was carrying a sign with a slogan written on it that showed his opposition to the event.”

The outlet added that the affidavit also said the arresting officer indicated that Atkins “began to yell to the people” attending the Pride event.

“I immediately approached him and told him that, while he was free to stand on that side of the street and hold his sign, he could not cross the street nor yell comments intended to disrupt the event,” the affidavit read, according to the Patriot.

The officer added that Atkins “said he understood,” the outlet noted.

However, Wear’s video doesn’t appear to show Atkins agreeing not to “yell comments” at the Pride-rally attendees, and Atkins added to the Patriot that he never agreed to the officer’s instructions.

More from the outlet:

A court document provided to The Lancaster Patriot shows that Atkins was charged with “Disorderly Conduct Engage in Fighting.”

A criminal complaint from the Reading Police Department provided to The Lancaster Patriot explains that a violation of the Disorderly Conduct statute entails “the intent to cause substantial public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or recklessly creating a risk thereof, he engages in fighting or threatening, or in violent or tumultuous behavior” and that Atkins “despite being warned by police just moments prior, yelled derogatory comments at an organization that was holding a permitted event.”

The Patriot said Atkins’ court date is scheduled for June 16, and he added to the outlet that he’s hoping Alliance Defending Freedom will represent him.

  • Treasonist leftist police says:

    This is why the police are hated! And if they catch bullets good for them. But just make them count. Aim for the forehead! Police sinking as low as hell. I dont trust none of them. They are on eggs shells around me.

  • Tamirose170 says:

    Where was that Police Mentality in 2020, when thugs were burning down cop cars, taxpayers property, knocking over marble statues, arson galore, heisting complete retail stores of every items except the light bulbs? Where are those Philly cops when they walk past 100+ addicts passed out with syringes hanging out of them blocking the entrances to subway stations? Where were the Police when angry, hateful protesters were outside the Supreme Court Justices homes? That’s right – they are only out strong arresting Christians, Conservative, anyone that desires to make America Great Again, etc. I’ve supported & always stood with our LEO, but in the past 3 years – I don’t trust much or any govt agency or any physician – or the word “science” and definitely not any Politician (career one’s are the worst). I’m amazed at the extensive damage that has been done in less than 3 years, but definitely recognize the pattern beginning in 2008….and then we had a phenomenal break in it and felt patriotism coursing through this Nation – and then Anger – Treason – Lies – Illegal Aliens – Wondering what is the difference between Right & Wrong and the difference between MY eyes and now the Govt opinion of that – now that they have been gradually rewriting Websters’ Dictionary.

  • Gunny says:

    This is why I do not have any respect for these wannabe tough cops…Look at the two dikes..they look so tough don’t they? Once the firefight starts watch them cower and cry.

  • James L. Coster says:

    I am a retired attorney from Pittsburgh, PA. I defended many street preachers and “peaceful” pro-life demonstrators. If the account of the above incident regarding the gay pride event is accurate and the Christian who was arrested did not engage in any other actions than what is reported, this is a classic First Amendment freedom of speech case which any competent attorney should be able to win in Reading, PA. I would urge the Christian Defendant to talk to an attorney immediately and to contact the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to discuss his case.

  • BWH says:

    I look forward to the officer explaining what the “derogatory comments” were that this man supposedly yelled.

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