Teenager Arrested for Reading the Bible Near Pride Event

By Annemarie McLean Published on August 12, 2023

Marcus Schroeder is no ordinary 19 year old. While much of his generation is preoccupied with simultaneously fitting in and standing out in a culture awash in self-promotion and moral relativism, Marcus is on a mission of another kind. It’s one that got him arrested on July 29 for reading the Bible on a public sidewalk near a “Pride in the Park” event in Watertown, Wisconsin. The event was billed as “family entertainment” featuring “drag story hour, 2 drag shows, and food trucks” for a “day of celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community in Jefferson County.”

That Saturday, Marcus set up a small speaker with an attached microphone and began reading Galatians 5. In a viral video that records the arrest, policemen can be seen yanking the microphone out of Marcus’ hand with little to no warning. Within minutes, Marcus was handcuffed and walked out of the park. “I was reading a passage from the Bible about love, and I was arrested,” Marcus said. “No reason, not given any warning, not told anything about my amplification needing to be turned down. I was arrested and taken into custody simply for reading the Bible on the sidewalk.”


In the short hours that followed, Marcus had his mugshot taken at the police station and was fined $500 for resisting arrest and $180 for using “amplification without a permit,” which violated a city ordinance. Marcus wholly denies resisting arrest and asked the officer escorting him out of the park to explain the charge to which the officer replied, “Your muscles tensed up.”

Warriors for Christ

A member of Mercy Seat Christian Church, Marcus was not the only one arrested on July 29. In spite of a belligerent neo-Nazi group that showed up earlier in the day, only Marcus and three others from his group, “Warriors for Christ” (a coalition of young people who engage cultural issues from a biblical standpoint), were arrested.

“My friend, Nick, was trying to get footage of what drag queens were doing to kids when he was harassed by organizers of the event and charged with disorderly conduct,” Marcus reports. “There is a call to take a stand in our culture, and the enemy is going to try and silence us.”

A few days after the arrest, Marcus went before the Watertown City Council to give an account of the incident and to set the record straight. During that meeting, he explained his “why”:

I completely understand the other side. I want to understand the other side. But drag queens twerking on kids … is unacceptable, and that’s something that we have to notice as a culture. We can have our disagreements, but there comes a time when we have to understand that we are all going to stand before God one day, and we’re going to have to give an account for what we have done with the children in our society, the innocent minds and the children who deserve to be protected.

Young Man on a Mission

The story of Marcus’ arrest has made national headlines. In interview after interview, Marcus was not backing down. According to one account, he reported getting arrested was “worth it,” adding, “It’s actually an honor to be counted worthy to stand with the cloud of witnesses who have gone before us and been arrested for the sake of spreading Christ and his kingdom.”

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Marcus takes his lead from the apostles’ example throughout the book of Acts as we see them venturing into public forums such as synagogues, temples of false gods and the marketplace to engage the culture while preaching the gospel.

“While doing public square ministry, I’ve had many conversations one-on-one and seen many hearts and minds changed by the power of the Gospel by going on location,” Marcus said. “I’ve seen a former transgender abortion clinic volunteer come to Christ and now he ministers alongside us.”

Even If I Stand Alone

Perhaps what sets Marcus apart is that he understands the true gospel, the one Jesus preached, and he is unafraid of its cost.

“Much of today’s Christianity is presented in a way to appeal to a consumer mindset, like ‘what do I get out of this,’ and resembles nothing of what Jesus himself said. In Luke 9:23 Jesus turns to the crowd and says, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me.’ Jesus invites us to die to our self-life, so that we understand ‘to live is Christ.’ There we find our boldness in Him.”

Perhaps there’s no more powerful visual to understand the day’s events than the photo taken of Marcus being led away to the police station. Flanked by officers, his T-shirt reads: “I WILL STAND FOR TRUTH EVEN IF I STAND ALONE.”

Photo Courtesy of Marcus Schroeder.

 

Annemarie McLean is a writer for Liberty Counsel, a nationwide public interest civil liberties law firm committed to restoring the culture, advancing religious freedom, protecting the unborn, and strengthening the family. In 2012, she founded 3D Missions, an international outreach taking the Gospel to the nations through the performing arts, and co-founded Brave & Beautiful, a platform empowering young women to live, love, and lead courageously. She holds a journalism degree from Oral Roberts University, with post-graduate work in organizational leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

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