*In Hemet, California, an assistant pastor and two elders from Calvary Chapel church were arrested for reading the Bible aloud outside a local Department of Motor Vehicles office.
The three men went to the Hemet DMV Feb. 2 before it opened and one of the men started to read the Bible aloud. Less than 30 minutes later, he was arrested for “impeding an open business” under Penal Code Section 602.1(b), according to attorneys from Advocates for Faith & Freedom, an advocacy group.
A security guard approached Mark Mackey as he was reading the Bible and told him to stop, according to a news release from Advocates for Faith & Freedom. The men believed that they had a First Amendment right to free speech as they were standing in a planter within the parking lot and were located on public property. Further, they were not interfering with any business of the DMV and were not yelling or disturbing the peace.
Ten minutes later, a California Highway Patrolman approached Mackey as he read, took the Bible out of his hands, and arrested him.
As the CHP officer was arresting him and putting him in his patrol car, the two men who were with him — Assistant Pastor of Calvary Chapel Hemet, Brett Coronado, and Ed Flores — asked the officer, “What law was he breaking?”
Instead of identifying a legal violation, the officer asked, “Were you preaching too?” After continuing to ask the officer for the legal violation, Coronado and Flores were also arrested by another CHP officer who had come to the DMV and were also cited for “impeding an open business.”