News-worthy.info — A pastor was arrested for loitering after passing out Gospel tracts on a public sidewalk outside of a local mosque in Wichita, Kansas.
Pastor Mark Holick, of the Spirit One Christian Center, told the Gazette he was with 14 members of his church passing out packets containing copies of the Gospel of John and Romans along with a DVD featuring testimonies of former Muslims. Holick said they offered the packets to individuals as they exited services at the mosque. When offering the packets, members of Holick’s group said, “We have a free gift for you.”
Holick went on to explain that some took the packets and there did not appear to be any tension between the groups. After several minutes men who appeared to be Imams and other leaders in the mosque began telling members not to take the packets. Once the Imams came out, mosque members began to pass out copies of the Koran and debate with Holick’s group. He said at no time was there any anger between the groups.
Eventually a police captain arrived and told Holick he would need to be walking while on the sidewalk. Holick said he walked across the sidewalk in front of a 40 foot driveway and when he walked back he was arrested for loitering. He claims he was not blocking traffic in any way.
After spending half a day in jail, Holick was released until his case came to trial. Holick, who chose to defend himself, said the judge told him it was rare for cases like this to come to trial. During the trial Holick was found in contempt of court after expressing frustration over court restrictions on his attempts to question the arresting officer and the trial was halted. The next court date is Dec. 7 where he will respond to the contempt charge.
The Wichita Police Department did not respond to inquiries regarding the case.
Holick was previously arrested for passing out tracts during a gay pride event at a local park. He advised the police that a group from his church would be on the sidewalk passing out literature. During the event he was confronted by eight to ten officers who told him he would have to go across the street as the sidewalk was closed to the public. After refusing to move across the street, he was arrested for trespassing.
Officials dismissed the case when a video of the arrest was posted on YouTube. When officials refused to provide assurances Holick would not face similar harassment in the future, the Alliance Defense Fund sued the city. The case was dismissed as part of a consent decree by U.S. District Judge Thomas Martin after officials admitted to violating Holick’s civil rights.
This case bears similarities to a case in Dearborn, Michigan where a group of Christians were arrested for passing out literature at an Arab Festival that was open to the public. (source: GreelyGazette)