Fort Worth, Texas – A Texas pastor and a member his church have been found guilty of crossing a police barricade during a homosexual pride festival last year.
As previously reported, Pastor Joey Faust says that he and other members of his church, Kingdom Baptist Church in Venus, Texas, were physically blocked by police last fall while attempting to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with attendees of the Fort Worth “Ride the Rainbow” pride parade.
Faust states that as he and others from his church were preaching and distributing tracts to those in the parade, suddenly, the police formed a human blockade across the public walkway.
“The police lined up [across the street] and said, ‘You can go no further,” he told Christian News Network. “We were forbidden to cross the street and they wouldn’t tell us if we were being detained.”
Faust said that as he stood for some time watching others being allowed to pass by the human blockade, except for anyone that was present to witness to attendees, it became obvious that the police had an agenda.
“Christians who were in support of homosexuals were allowed to cross the street,” he stated. “A Christian walked by me right in front of the officers, and said, ‘I’m here with my family and some of them are homosexuals.’”
Faust then asked police why they were specifically restricting those that oppose homosexuality.
“I asked, ‘Why are they allowed to pass?’” he said. “They were just quiet.”
“At that point, I took a step and attempted to cross,” Faust outlined. “Once I stepped into the street, [the officer] put my hands behind my back.”
Faust and a second church member, Ramon Marroquin, were then charged with “interfering with public duties,” a class B misdemeanor. He was jailed for 20 hours and held on $1,500 bail.
This week, a judge found both Faust and Marroquin guilty of the charge and sentenced them to two days jail time and a $250 fine, plus court costs. Since the men had already spent time in jail following their arrest, the sentence was pronounced as time served.
Faust states that the prosecution argued that the police had to separate the Christians from the homosexuals for safety reasons.
“The state argued that the police had a right to stop members of this church in order to ensure safety and prevent riot,” he explained. “The police argued that we used words such as ‘lesbian’ and ‘fag.’ I told my attorney that the word ‘fag’ was never used by any members of this church.”
“In cross-examination, the defense attorney asked if the word ‘lesbian’ was a profane word,” Faust continued. “The officer stated that it could be.”
He said that the officers who took the stand, one of whom was a homosexual, accused the men of making other inflammatory statements, which they deny uttering.
However, Faust explained that police acknowledged during the trial that the men were not blocked by the officers because they were behaving unlawfully, but for fear of what could happen should attendees act out in their anger.
“They admitted that the whole reason we were stopped was to avoid any trouble that we ‘might’ cause,” he advised.
Attorney Shelby Sharpe, who represented Faust and Marroquin, told the court that it is unlawful to form human blockades for fear of the actions of the crowd. He also noted that the Christians were not able to reach their intended audience as they were being held blocks away.
Faust said that he plans to appeal the decision, and may also file a civil lawsuit over the matter.