A 19-year-old’s constitutional rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion were violated when he was arrested for reading the Bible publicly. Marcus Shroeder joined a group of approximately 100 Christian protestors outside an LGBTQ Pride event. Schroeder has attended several protests over the last few months with a ministry group called “Warriors for Christ” in Wisconsin.
“For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you go on biting and devouring one another, beware that you are not consumed by one another.” (Galatians 5:14-15)
The Galatians passage was the one that Schroeder was reading during the protest outside a Drag Queen story hour being held during a “Pride in the Park” event. Schroeder was using the group’s microphone while standing on the public sidewalk. He was reading the Galatians passage when the video shows police walking up and surrounding Schroeder without any explanation or warning. One of the officers tries to pull the microphone from his hand and puts Schroeder’s hands behind his back and places him in handcuffs. Schroeder asks the officer what he was doing, and the officer tells Schroeder he’s being placed under arrest.
One of the other protestors in attendance tells the officer that Schroeder’s freedom of speech is being violated because the group was told they could speak if they were on the sidewalk. Schroeder was on the public sidewalk when he was reading the passages. The officer explains to Schroeder and the group that he was violating a city ordinance by using amplification. He was charged with violating a sound ordinance about noise amplification and was later released. He told Fox News he did not regret his actions.
Schroeder and the group were not asked to put the microphone down or given any type of warning. He was just placed in handcuffs and arrested. During the protest, the group was passing out Gospel tracts with scripture, reading Bible passages, and holding signs. The group was peacefully protesting without any violence or harm.
The Drag Queen story hour featured Drag Queens wearing lingerie, twerking, and dancing in front of kids while reading books. Schroeder told Fox News, “I completely understand the other side. I want to understand the other side. But Drag Queens twerking on kids is unacceptable and that’s something that we have to notice as a culture. We can have our disagreements, but there comes a time when we have to understand that we all are going to stand before God one day, and we’re going to have to give an account for what we have done with the children in our society, the innocent minds and the children who deserve to be protected.”
He said he would like to have a conversation with supporters and participants on the other side. Schroeder was not the only one of the group arrested. Three other attendees were arrested while praying and talking to each other.
It is crucial that Christians, and proponents of freedom of speech and religion, voice their support for Schroeder and the Christian group by contacting officials in Watertown, Wisconsin and letting them know of their inappropriate and unconstitutional actions toward the 19-year-old. An attack on their freedom of speech will soon turn into an attack on our own freedom of speech when we choose to voice our faith publicly. Contact information for officials is below:
Watertown Wisconsin Police Department
Robert Kaminski, Police Chief – firstname.lastname@example.org
Benjamin Olsen, Assistant Chief – email@example.com
106 Jones Street
Watertown, WI 53094
Watertown Mayor’s Office
Emily McFarland, Mayor
106 Jones Street
Watertown, WI 53094