[Video] Christian Man Arrested for Quoting Bible at Pride March & Rally

Damon Atkins, of Reading, was arrested by Pennsylvania police after he began quoting a Bible verse during a pride event in the town of Reading.

According to the Lancaster Patriot, the arrest occurred on Saturday morning outside the town’s city hall. Revelers had gathered to participate in the city’s first “Pride March and Rally.”

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The incident was captured on film by Matthew Wear of Reading, Pennsylvania, who told The Lancaster Patriot that he had been preaching before Atkins’ arrival and was told to stop by the same police officer who later handcuffed Atkins.

Wear said he preached for about twelve minutes and began filming the event across the street.

Damon Atkins

The video shows Damon Atkins standing on the sidewalk across from the event, speaking to a police officer whom the Patriot identified as Police Sergeant Bradley T. McClure. McClure warns Atkins against disrupting the event.

Atkins insists in the video that he is on public property, which McClure admits, before telling Atkins to “let them have their day” (the pride event attendees).

In the video, Atkins tells McClure that he respects the people in attendance and says,

“You know who’s cheering for us – the people that are in hell.”

Atkins later told The Lancaster Patriot that he was referring to the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke, wherein a rich man in torment begs Father Abraham to send someone to warn his brothers about the place of torment.

Atkins ultimately began reciting a Bible verse but only got so far as to say, “God is not-” before Sgt. McClure arrested him.

Atkins later said he intended to quote from 1 Corinthians 14:33.

“For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints,” the verse reads.

McClure later filed an affidavit of probable cause that the Patriot obtained, saying he told Atkins “Was free to stand on that side of the street and hold his sign [but] “he could not cross the street nor yell comments intended to disrupt the event.”

Sgt McClure further contended that Atkins had indicated an understanding of those conditions. However, Atkins denies agreeing to be quiet, and the video footage does not show him being given that warning or accepting such unconstitutional terms.

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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.”

Responding to an inquiry from the Daily Caller, the Reading Police Department said that Atkins was not arrested for reciting Bible verses but rather for disorderly conduct due to his volume.

“He was not arrested for reading a bible verse,” a police spokesperson told the outlet. “He was arrested for being disorderly. His volume was at a level that he was heckling a preplanned and permitted event. He was given an area he was allowed to protest in and was asked to keep the volume at a level that was not problematic, or that was inciting public inconvenience.”

Atkins was charged with “Disorderly Conduct – Engage in Fighting.”

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