The Berks County District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn the disorderly conduct charges against Damon Atkins, a Christian preacher arrested at a Pride rally in Reading, Pennsylvania, on June 3, 2023. The decision was reached after a thorough examination of the videos documenting the incident and applicable case law.
On the Berks County District Attorney’s Facebook page, we read the following statement:
After a review of the incident which took place on June 3, 2023, in the 800 block of Washington Street in the City of Reading, the District Attorney’s Office has withdrawn the charges of disorderly conduct filed against Damon Atkins. The charges were withdrawn after the District Attorney’s Office reviewed the videos of the incident along with applicable case law.
Earlier this week, we reported that Atkins was arrested for quoting the Bible and carrying a sign stating, “GO AND SIN NO MORE,” during the rally. His arrest sparked debates over free speech rights and the expression of religious beliefs in public.
This decision by the District Attorney’s Office reiterates the constitutional right to free speech, yet the question remains: why was he arrested to begin with? This decision comes as a reminder that, like it or not, even biblical Christian viewpoints on sexuality are protected by the Constitution in public discourse.
In a time when the modern Sodom and Gomorrah narrative is celebrated, the dismissal of charges against Atkins testifies that free speech is still free, even when it contradicts popular societal ideologies—quoting Scripture and expressing Christian beliefs is not a criminal act…yet.
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The outcome of Atkins’ case is a victory for Christians who uphold Biblical teachings, especially in areas of ethics and morality, in a secular society and hopefully this will set a precedent for the right to express one’s faith in public and reinforce the principles of religious freedom and free speech.