Seattle, Washington — October 3, 2022. Today, Center for Religious Expression (CRE) sent a demand letter to the City of Seattle and the Seattle Police Department to protect the fundamental freedoms of Matthew Meinecke, an evangelist in Seattle whom the police wrongfully prevented from sharing the gospel with others at an abortion rally as well as a Gay Pride rally earlier this year in June.
On June 24, 2022, Matthew went to downtown Seattle to evangelize to those who were gathered to protest the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Matthew’s intention in coming to downtown was to engage people in civil conversations about the gospel and to offer hope to them. But while reading through the Gospel of John aloud, some protestors reacted poorly, ripping Matthew’s Bible from his hands, tearing it to pieces. Determined to continue, Matthew retrieved another Bible and kept reading, but several other protestors forcibly moved him to a new location. Undeterred, Matthew kept reading, but these protestors soon knocked him down and took one of his shoes. Police arrived at the scene; however, they did not come to help Matthew. Instead, they ordered him to leave. He declined and the police arrested him.
Two days later, on June 26, 2022, Matthew went to the Seattle Center, a public park where Seattle PrideFest was being held, to share the gospel with those attending this event. Again, hecklers treated Matthew badly. An attendee dumped water on his Bible and other attendees spat on him and squirted water on him. Around 10 police officers showed up. And Matthew was hopeful they would protect his speech, but they quelled it instead. The police told Matthew he had to leave. And when he indicated he wished to stay, the police arrested him. They took him to the police station, booked him, and took his mug shot and fingerprints. Mathew was not released until five hours later.
CRE has sent a demand letter on Matthew’s behalf to restore the rights Seattle Police wrongfully suppressed. “Seattle’s approach was backwards and appalling. In lieu of protecting Matthew’s Christian speech, they censored it,” said CRE Chief Counsel Nate Kellum. “We pray Seattle will recognize their egregious error and restore Matthew’s fundamental right to share his faith with others in public spaces.”
Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people. For more information, visit http://www.crelaw.org.