First Amendment Not Welcome in California Mall

February 3, 2010 at 9:40 am (Christian news) (, , , , , )

Roseville Galleria Mall

Roseville Galleria Mall

A California court has ruled in favor of a mall in a free-speech case.

Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) talks about the 2007 case, which the Institute now plans to take to the California Court of Appeal.

“A youth minister in Roseville, California, decided that he wanted to share the gospel with people in a shopping mall,” the attorney explains. “However, he was initially arrested and removed from the Roseville Galleria Mall because the shopping mall has a policy that forbids any discussions of faith with anyone else in the shopping mall unless you directly knew them prior to the visit to the shopping mall.”

Pastor Matthew Snatchko struck up a casual conversation about faith with two other shoppers. According to Dacus, no customers complained about the pastor’s topic of conversation.

“There were no objections by any of the customers as to what Matthew was doing,” he notes. “The only objection was from an intolerant vender who wanted to silence him and remove his kind of people from the shopping mall.”

The PJI attorney believes that silencing Snatchko, as well as the mall’s ban on faith-related T-shirts and political conversation topics, is an unconstitutional violation of shoppers’ free speech. Charges against Snatchko were dropped, but the lawsuit challenges the mall’s tight restrictions on speech.

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