Your Rights End Where Mine Begin

How is this a difficult concept to grasp?  I would think it would be pretty simple.  Your right to do something ends where my right not to have my life interfered with in some way begins.

But apparently this guy doesn't get the idea.  This preacher went to a local DMV in a town in Southern California one morning before it opened, and began reading the Bible and preaching to the people standing in line waiting for the office to open.  After being asked to stop by a security guard and refusing, he, and the two elders of his church who had come with him, were arrested for trespassing and interfering with a public business.  (Personally, I think he should have been cited for public nuisance, but that's just me.)

Cue, of course, the whining of the Poor! Persecuted! Christians! about how the ebil gub'mint is coming for their Bibles and soon it will be illegal to be Christian in this country.  One of the linked articles is headlined, not kidding, "Christians Arrested for Reading the Bible in Public".  Which, while technically factually correct, conveys rather a different message than what actually happened, which was that they were arrested for proselytizing, at a captive audience, on government property.

It gets better, of course.  In the end, the three jackasses weren't actually charged, and now they're suing the state for infringement on their religious freedom and free speech rights!
What is this I don't even.  Look, dudes, your right to free speech and freedom of religion does not include the right to harass people waiting in line at the goddamn DMV.  That's just not how it fucking works.  And no, as one of the linked bloggers claimed, the people in line couldn't "just" go away and come back when it opened.  Have you been to a California DMV lately?  If you don't have an appointment and you arrive after it opens, expect to wait at least an hour before you even TALK to anyone, and gods help you if there are more forms to fill out, because yes, they will make you wait through the line AGAIN to bring the forms back up (unless you get a really nice DMV person; they're out there, they really are.  Sometimes.).  So the only way to get in and out quickly, if you wanted to do anything else with your day or if you have an appointment or have to work later, is to get there at least half an hour before they open and wait in the pre-opening line.  It's completely unfair to force people to choose between coming back later and thus spending twice as long at the DMV, and listening to you force your religion on them. 

Your right to share your religion ends where their right to do business with the DMV without suffering religious harassment begins.  Because that's what public preaching to a captive audience is: religious harassment.  You give them no choice in whether to listen to you or not - that being the definition of a captive audience - and force them to listen to your religious dogma, which they may or may not share.  That is not what is meant by either "freedom of religion" or "freedom of speech".  You are absolutely, completely and totally making up out of whole cloth this imagined "right" to proselytize in this manner.  It does not exist.  Period the end.

(I can't decide if my lolsob is more lol or more sob at this; referring to captive audiences as "organic congregations" is just...just...words fail me.  Fuck, I hope that was supposed to be a joke...)


VijiiS said...

And Jesus said unto his Apostles, "Go forth and harass people at the DMV with the good word. And also, stand next to them breathing loudly into their ears, pick thy noses and bestow the fruits of thine labor onto their shirts and fart in crowded elevators. It's what I would do."

Jadelyn said...


Carrie said...

They have a couple of asshats that do that to the jury members at the Tulsa County Courthouse...you have to stand in line to be let in (scanned, etc) and these guys will not let up...every damned day.  Made jury duty an even bigger pain in the ass than it normally would be.  No one made them stop and I bet they are still doing it.


Related Posts with Thumbnails