Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Repent America Street Preacher Found Guilty in Salem

Each of the last four years (actually it seems like more, but that's what the paper says) Michael Marcavage and his friends come to Salem to hold big signs, and preach through bullhorns on and just before Halloween. In the Salem News today there is story about Michael being found guilty.

Our church has a little history with Michael. He had some things to say about us in a recent article in Salem's other paper The Salem Gazette.

Here is Repent America's video taken during the arrest on Halloween:


Now, I have some distinct feelings about this issue, and will simply say a few things related the subject, which might help shed some light on the subject from a local pastor's point of view.

1. Repent America is not supported by any of the local churches in their activities here in Salem. I am not even aware of a local church which appreciates their activities (I suppose there may be one, but I am not aware of any.)

2. Over the last number of years I have known street performers, and people barking for events who have been asked to stop using amplification, and even stop working prior to the 10pm curfew set against such noise. Noise ordinances, public complaints, and crowd unruliness during Halloween night have all been reasons for the police request to stop. Preachers have NOT been the only individuals requested to stop.

3. Every year our church is the single largest Christian presence on the street during the month long Halloween season. We obey every request of the police, and if something unique pops up, we resolve the situation with the help of city officials before we resume our activities. Despite working with the police in this manner, we find that people stand in line for up to an hour to experience our events, and despite the fact that we do not emphasize making a decision to receive Jesus, we see between 30 and 40 people make that decision each year, because they ask how to get closer to God. (This is not information I have shared at any time before, because we are sensitive to the fact that Evangelical Christianity looks like it is FORCING conversion upon people, and we never want to be guilty of that heinous crime against nature - even though we are evangelical.)

4. Our people have been asked by the Pagan community to be protected from these same street preachers, and we went out to bring peace on the streets.

So, what do you think? Does taking away a bullhorn amount to restricting free speech?

28 comments:

Agent B said...

...because we are sensitive to the fact that Evangelical Christianity looks like it is FORCING conversion upon people, and we never want to be guilty of that heinous crime against nature - even though we are evangelical

Man, I like that description of being evangelical. I want to adapt that. Good job up there.

Adam Gonnerman said...

I've been thinking over the past few days that it might be worthwhile to head up your way for Halloween. You know, Oct 31 IS my birthday....

My connection speed is too slow to watch the video, but I'd say taking away a bullhorn may be needed for public security and peace. Free speech is guaranteed, but not an audience and that any volume is permitted.

sonja said...

No one put a muzzle over his mouth. He could still talk. If he wanted to, I bet he could've handed out flyers ... oh ... or how about yo-yos with "repent ... you'll die tomorrow" printed on them. That way he could get his message out and not disturb the peace. Plus he could start some yo-yo contests. It would be fun.

Why don't these people ever use their imaginations ...

seithman said...

I have to be honest and admit that I don't feel I can give an answer to this question because of my own biases. I've read so many stories about Marcavage and his numerous conflicts with police in various cities and states that I'm jaded the moment I hear his name. And I'll admit that really isn't fair, because the fact that he's a majorly passive-agressive jerk, there's always that possibility that the police were overzealous.

I don't think trying to take a bullhorn away is always a civil rights violation. But I'll admit that I'm glad it wasn't my call as to whether it was one in this particular case. Because like I said, I'm already jaded.

Here's to hoping the judge for this case was less jaded than me and made the right call.

-- Jarred.

Anonymous said...

Pastor, I open air preach and truth is I crossed you off my list long ago when I found out you wore pink panties in the pulpit. He preaches the Gospel and it doesn't appear that you support that.

Adam Gonnerman said...

anonymous,

You are truly courageous to speak up on the comments of this blog. It must have taken a lot to work up the nerve to express your opinion so openly here, and with so much Christian charity.

Ummm...is "anonymous" your Christian name, or your surname? Or are you like Cher, with just the one name?

Pastor Phil said...

Hey B,

You have adopted it, and made it your own for some time bro.

Pastor Phil said...

Adam,

We'd love to have you join us!

Pastor Phil said...

Sonja,

Yo-yos! Yeah I like that.

Pastor Phil said...

Jarred,

We have found it strange to see a street preacher with his people standing around with cameras looking for an occasion to put on U-Tube or bring up a civil lawsuit. Something is un-Pauline about that.

I was not there for the trial, and the judgment - wish I was. I would have liked to have known the tenor of the meeting. But the fact that Judge did not bar him from Salem seems remarkable to me.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi anonymous,

Please take off YOUR pink panties if you are going to post something on this blog. Make yourself known, and speak boldly if you want to be heard, and not perceived by the readers as a coward.

g13 said...

it is hardly surprising that an "anonymous" reader leveled charges.

one of my primary issues with the repent america folks is that, if asked, they will never identify themselves by name.

i think it is hard to characterize yourself as "strong and courageous" in the act of preaching if you are too paranoid to properly identify yourself to your audience.

as for the bullhorn...i am a huge fan of the first amendment and think the burden of proof is upon the authorities when they attempt to limit or control public speech, especially when the means of such speech is specifically protected by city ordinance.

however, the volatile nature of the crowds on halloween and the manner in which incessant, ridiculous statements that the preachers make (such as accusing total strangers of beastaphilia) are designed to incite conflict, i think the policeman made a reasonable decision in this instance.

Anonymous said...

Hey Pastor Tinker Bell....your very wrong about Michael Marcavage. Long story but I work at a state college for many years. They had all but outlawed Christian speech there. They routinely threw people like you off the campus because they offended gays with very benine Bible tracts. Along came Michael Marcavage and he preached on campus. He was told to leave under the threat of arrest, like the rest of the Christians always were. He refused to leave, the only difference was he was willing to actually be arrested for the Gospel's sake. None of the others were. Now the flood gates are open and everyone for the last year and a half, all they have been talking about there is Christ. Please be careful what you say about Michael, he is a Christian brother....

The other thing is, I seriously doubt that these conversations that you speak of are all genuine. How many of these people are still in their sin?

Anonymous said...

Well this explains it all I just read the article in the newspaper. Don't you know that the Bible says that if you justify sin that you also are an abomination?

Agent B said...

"...he was willing to actually be arrested for the Gospel's sake."

Wow. Sounds like a real martyr there.

Get crucified upside down like Peter. Or get a $200 fine for being an ass.

Pastor Phil said...

Dear anonymous,

Please post your name if you want to have a serious conversation. Otherwise I will assume that you are just a spammer, and regular trouble maker on blog sites, and will therefore ignore what appear to be childish posts.

Anonymous said...

You need to repent for the sin of witchcraft.

g13 said...

you need to quit being a coward.

Pam Hogeweide said...

I am so turned on by Anon's manly manliness in standing up to you Phil. It's about time someone told you off. How dare you have the audacity to hang around witches and pagans and call them your friends. It's utterly disgraceful. What would Jesus say were he here now to witness your fellowship with darkness?

Anon, you rock my world. If there were only more people like you who would man up in preaching and teaching and posting on blogs.

Pam Hogeweide said...

:-)

Pastor Phil said...

Pam,

You crack me up. I'll be expecting an Anonymous tat to show up somewhere on you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Phil, I was sent this pic...is this you in your study?

http://www.phespirit.info/pictures/heroes/p012.htm

Pam Hogeweide said...

snarky fellow, isn't he?

Pendergast Pictures said...

QUOTE:

Dear anonymous,

Please post your name if you want to have a serious conversation. Otherwise I will assume that you are just a spammer, and regular trouble maker on blog sites, and will therefore ignore what appear to be childish posts.

END OF QUOTE.


Je-rry! Je-rry! Je-rry!


Next up on the Jerry Springer show....A conservative mother confronts her daughter after discovering she voted for Obama!

Pendergast Pictures said...

Oh and let me add, I still remember going to Salem and seeing the hateful, spiteful, street preachers who seemed to be rather tipsy off the strong brew of delighting in annoying the locals. But its funny how freedom of speech stops at the front door of any church assembly. Churches sue individuals or groups who picket them or gather outside their front door like they like to do. It freedom of speech when a street minister harasses you in Salem, but its suddenly religious persecution when you stand outside his church.

PS. I sent you an email. I want to take a look at Salem for a movie. Lets get together.

M.joshua said...

It is so hard to be Evangelical without being "Evangelical" as others see it. I like how you summarized it.

Anonymous said...

Preach openly, expect to be arrested, preach hell and repentance with tears as my professor has stated.

At least they are doing something to get message out. But it is true, judgment is coming, and many beleivers are getting that. No one is going to be ready......just ask around and youll found out how many beleivers are getting it that judgment is coming on this nation. Israel was even Gods OWN people and he sent them into exile.

Pastor Phil said...

Hi Mr Boldly Preaching Anonymous,

Did you say your professor said "expect to get arrested"? I want to know what seminary this is, and where you are planning on getting arrested. Saudi Arabia, or Topeka, KA?