Unwilling to stay silent, Christians clash with cops willing to make them

Unwilling to stay silent, Christians clash with cops willing to make them

Marcus Schroeder, 19, is seen being escorted away by police during his July 31 arrest after reading Bible verses at a "Pride in the Park" event in Watertown, Wisconsin. 

Unwilling to stay silent, Christians clash with cops willing to make them

The recent back-to-back arrests of Christians who shared their beliefs in a public space shouldn’t be surprising to those who have read the final book in the Bible but it remains frustrating to witness in a country with a First Amendment right to free speech.

In a two-week span, a young street preacher and a pro-life evangelist have both been arrested by police while exercising their First Amendment rights in public. 

Mike Gulley was arrested August 13 at an art festival in South Bend, Indiana. After the arrest, he shared his story with The Sentinel, an online news outlet that offers conservative news and commentary on culture, politics and business.

“Our goal was to share the gospel and confront the prevailing evils of society like abortion and transgenderism,” Gulley said. 

Ben Ziesloft, editor of The Sentinel, is using the website to draw attention to Gulley's arrest after it followed the arrest of a young street preacher, Marcus Schroeder, in Watertown, Wisconsin. 

Marcus Schroeder, 19, was arrested July 31 while reading from the Bible across the street from a homosexual "pride" event. In his case, Schroeder is charged with using an amplification device without a permit and, even worse, for resisting arrest. 

“You have police who are not making sure that drag queens are prosecuted for sexualizing children, when there are supposed to be laws (against) that, but are making sure Christians who are reading the Bible are thrown in prison,” Ziesloft said during an American Family Radio interview Tuesday.

South Bend police took Gulley (pictured below) away from a public park in handcuffs and have charged him with criminal trespass.

In both arrests, camera phones recorded the arrests and helped publicize the arrests on social media.

"You guys are engaging like thugs, man. You are straight-up thugs," an associate of Schroeder tells police as they're arresting the 19-year-old.

In the arrest of Gulley, a brief video shows a police officer arguing with him over a city ordinance cited by the officer regarding a permit for the event. When the police officer tells Gulley to go across the street, and Gulley demands more information about the ordinance, the frustrated officer then places him under arrest.

After his arrest, Gulley told The Sentinel his group had been speaking at the park before officers responded to a phone call.

“The way [Gulley] told it was they were there for about an hour and a half, and someone eventually called the police on him," Ziesloft told show host Jenna Ellis. "But as you can see in the video, there were 6 to 10 officers who showed up with gloves already on ready to remove them from the premises."

You can also tell in the video the art festival attendees were "not enthused" about the preaching, Ziesloft says, since there is cheering in the background during Gulley's arrest. 

It is not clear from the video-recorded arrests if the protesters had already followed police orders to move farther away. In the case of Gulley, the police officer said he was warned four times. In the arrest of Schroeder, it appears the Warriors for Christ group had already moved to a public sidewalk farther from the "Pride in the Park" event but police moved in because of the amplified sound. 

Jason Storms, a church pastor who was with Schroeder, told The Sentinel police had released several protesters earlier in the day but released them with warnings. Those people, as well as Schroeder, had a right to be in the public park and to exercise free speech, he said. 

In the AFR interview, Ziesloft said different sins elicit different reactions in America in 2023.

“We’re pressured as American Christians to not stand firm against certain forms of sin in our age: homosexuality, transgenderism, sexual perversion, abortion. Those are the big issues that you’ll feel a backlash from the world if you try to stand against them," he said. "If you stand against racism, or some other sins that it’s more culturally popular to stand against, then you won’t face the same opposition.”