A demonstration took place Saturday at the Mall of America with participants wearing various Jesus shirts.
As a result of an incident that occurred on Jan. 7 involving a man, Paul Shoro, who was being asked to remove his “Jesus Saves” shirt or leave the mall, a response event was organized.
In an interview with Alpha News, Shoro said he was at the mall Saturday to “proclaim the Lord’s name.”
In the days leading up to the Jan. 7 incident, Shoro had received a 24-hour trespassing ban from the mall for soliciting guests. At the time of the incident, however, he was simply walking around the mall with the shirt on.
According to Luca Jo Groppoli, the event organizer, those who gathered around 12:45 p.m. were instructed to disperse throughout the mall and not disturb the peace.
Mall patrons reacted positively to the demonstration, stopping to take photos and engaging in discussions with participants.
The mall was filled with hundreds of shoppers wearing different types of religious Jesus shirts, according to one participant. The Bloomington police and mall security were on scene, and they repeatedly asked the demonstrators to disperse, saying they would be asked to leave if they didn’t.
As participants continued to sing and chant, security threatened them with arrest if they did not leave the mall, escorting them out of the mall.
There is a mall policy that prohibits “inappropriate attire,” including clothing with obscene language, obscene gestures, and racial/religious/ethnic slurs. The mall also prohibits “picketing, demonstrating, soliciting, protesting or petitioning.”
However, last year, Mall of America hosted a drag show for “all ages” in its rotunda.
The Mall of America security personnel were certainly taken by surprise as hundreds of Christians came to the mall in response to an incident where Paul Shoro, was asked to remove his “Jesus Saves” shirt or leave the premises. Mr. Shoro simply wanted to spread God’s message and was exercising his right to freedom of religion and to peacefully demonstrate. Crowds of people stopped at the follow-up demonstration, taking pictures and engaging in conversations with participants wearing different Jesus shirts. The large turnout demonstrated the importance of allowing citizens to express their religious views and support God’s message.