From time to time I get hassled by Security when handing out Gospel tracts in malls and other places. I’ve been chased by Scientologist Security guards on bikes in Hollywood; I’ve been told to stop witnessing to cancer patients on a beach in Malibu, escorted out by big guys with badges at the Galleria Mall in Redondo Beach, and tailed by authoritative personnel at a local street faire in Hermosa Beach who ultimately called the police! It’s hard to believe that all I’m doing is handing out Million-dollar bill Gospel tracts in a gracious, respectful manner, but truly, that is all I’m doing.
So what is an evangelist to do? Let everyone take God out of the marketplace of ideas to the point where we end up like Europe?
The key to dealing with these people is to always be gracious and firm—but gentle—when informing them of your First Amendment rights—and be ready to lay them down when push comes to shove.
I was stopped at a mall recently by a very nice Security guy named Alfredo Munoz after handing out tracts at the bottom of an escalator.
He told me that I couldn’t hand out literature in the mall. I patiently informed him that indeed I could, and that it was my First Amendment right—then I took his picture! He then said I couldn’t do that! (A lawyer was very angry when I told him that the evangelism team and myself were getting booted out of malls. He counciled that I should always get the name, badge number, and photo of any guard who stops me or the team.)
After a few more pleasantly exchanged words (really!), he allowed me to take his picture holding a million dollar bill!
I then focused my attention on witnessing to Alfredo. He heard the full Gospel message and actually thanked me!!! I gave him a 10 Commandments penny as a gift…
… then we took a photo together!