The more street preachers I am in contact with, the more I realize that it is not uncommon for street preachers to be arrested, rather it is very very common. If I really wanted to, I am sure I could find countless stories to post here about preachers being arrested right here in America, home of the free. Here is a story from a holiness college campus preacher named Jim Gilles:
We have a most pleasant surprise to announce
Sister Bonnie is expecting and due to deliver in July!!!! Aaron and Gabrielles prayers have finally been answered. Aaron wants a boy and Gabrielle wants a girl.
You may have heard the rumor a few months ago that I spent five days in the slammer. I wish that I could say that it was not true but I cannot. Are you ready for a wild story?
The campus is Indiana University of Pennsylvania. It is one hour away from Export, Pa. I have preached on that campus at least four times. Each of the four times I have taken students from the Free Gospel Bible Institute with me. The first two visits the FGBI students and I had great meetings. On the third visit I was arrested by a campus security officer sporting a long black cape, a double billed hat and a long curved pipe calling himself inspector. Acting as my own attorney I beat the University in Court.
I returned this past October 5, thirteen years since my arrest. I was hoping that Sherlock would not be there. Hoping for the best but prepared for the worst, I brought seventeen students with me, my family of four and Brothers Mike and Timothy Petit. We were armed with a video camera, an audio tape recorder and two photo cameras.
I began preaching and within fifteen minutes two squad cars came to the scene, one car was code three with lights and sirens a blaring. Out of this car came the Inspector. He walks up to me and basically arrests me on sight. After the inspector handcuffs me, two other officers try to grab the video camera from Brother Tim Petit who naturally recoils to protect the camera. My wife, Sister Bonnie, jumps in and takes the video camera from Brother Tim Petit. The officers grab the video camera from Sister Bonnie and arrests Brother Tim Petit for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. Sister Bonnie begins to take photos with our photo camera that was strapped around her neck. Next, one of the officers threatens to arrest Sister Bonnie if she does not turn over her photo camera to him. Sister Bonnie begins to pray out loud for guidance. At this time Brother Trey Dickerson begins to preach resulting in the officers leaving Sister Bonnie and swarming to him stopping him from preaching. Sister Bonnie stealthfully leaves the scene and secures the photo camera in our truck in order to preserve the evidence. Then, one of the officers snatches Gospel tracts out of my seven-year-old daughter Gabrielles hands and prohibits my ten-year-old son Aaron from getting more tracts out of my briefcase.
No, this story does not stop here, it gets worse. The officers transport Brother Tim and me to the campus police station. They processed Brother Tim quite rapidly but they held me for three and a half hours in extremely tight handcuffs causing my left thumb to go numb. At around three thirty I was transported to the County Magistrate in order for him to set my bail. Before the Magistrate enters the Courtroom, Sherlock goes back into the Judges Chamber and fills the Magistrates head with lies. At three forty five on a Friday afternoon the Magistrate enters the Courtroom and sets my bail at five thousand straight cash. That left me with fifteen minutes on a Friday afternoon to collect five thousand dollars because the Court closed at four. So I went to jail until that next Tuesday because that following Monday was Columbus Day, a federal holiday.
Before I left the Courtroom I was able to give all of my possessions to Sister Bonnie. Miraculously, I was able to keep and transfer my audio tape recorder to Sister Bonnie. The tape recorder was in my front shirt pocket and somehow escaped not only the frisking by Sherlock but observation by all of the officers in the Campus Police Station. God may have made it invisible to them.
While in jail, I was given an orange suit to wear. We regret that we did not take a picture of me in my orange suit and brown church shoes. Throughout the five days, I witnessed to twenty to twenty five inmates. I earned their respect after the first basketball game. All of the basketball players were getting angry, cursing and verbally fighting with each other. We came back into the cell block and an inmate, who brags how he does 1100 push-ups a day, sits across from me and says, You don't cuss, do you? He did not even introduce himself nor was he outside playing basketball with us. We talked about cursing for five minutes when he asked me the next question, You don't drink, do you? Followed by his third question, You don't smoke, do you? I talked with him for twenty-five minutes and ended with my personal testimony. Every one in the cell block knew that I had ole 1100 push up man on my side if I needed him. Those criminals knew how Christians are to live. Another inmate, who professed to being a Muslim, sat down next to me and brought a King James Bible and a Quran. We had a Bible/Quran study right there in the cellblock. The next morning, the Muslim's cell mate told me privately that the Muslim, upon returning from our discussion the previous night, declared to the cell mate, that he was giving up on Islam. Glory!!
Sherlock ended up charging me with six different charges. Two of which were felony riot and felony wiretap. This is the very first time that I have ever been charged with a felony let alone two felonies. Before the Preliminary Hearing on November 28, 2001, I called the city and campus newspaper offices and they both sent reporters to the hearing. A Business Law class from the university sat in on the hearing as well. During the preliminary hearing Sherlock actually testified that there were 1000 riotous students with their fists in my face. On cross-examination by my attorney, the two witnesses against me, a self-professed Christian lesbian and Sherlock were tied into knots as they contradicted themselves thus exposing their lies. As they made utter perjurious fools of themselves we in the Courtroom were laughing, shaking our heads and giving each other the thumbs up. The two felonies were dropped along with a misdemeanor riot charge. As of this writing I have not heard from the Trial Court on whether they are going to pursue this fiasco. Please pray that the three remaining charges will be dropped before trial.
We thank you for your love and prayers.
Brother Jim, Sister Bonnie, Aaron, Gabrielle and ?
"But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God." Acts 20:24