Christians Arrested for Preaching in New Orleans After Sunset; Police Vow to Target Churches Next [Excerpts]
A pastor and five members of his ministry team were arrested [September 14] in New Orleans, Louisiana for preaching on Bourbon Street after sunset.
Bourbon Street is located in the French Quarter, and is most known for its preponderance of bars and strip clubs. It is the center of night life in the city and also a tourist attraction during events like Mardis Gras and the Southern Decadence Festival, which are known for featuring lewd acts in the streets. Bohn called the area his “mission field” as he has been preaching in the city since 1996. He said that he engages in evangelistic activity in New Orleans at least three times a week. “Jesus saw the multitudes and was moved with compassion for them. … [Similarly], he’s given us a love for the city and the people here,” [Pastor Troy] Bohn stated. “Would I be willing to go through somebody tossing beer in my face or cursing me out to reach somebody? Yes.”
He outlined that last night was typical of most nights as the group began sharing Christ with the crowds. “We had our cross set up, and one young man that works with us [named Logan] was sharing the Gospel,” he explained to Christian News Network. “Some of the girls were talking to others.”
Bohn said that as the preaching went forth, a sergeant with the New Orleans Police Department approached, and so Bohn asked him what was the matter.
“[He said,] there’s an ordinance against aggressive solicitation and you are under arrest,” he recounted. “They began to handcuff Logan and they said, ‘We’re going to cuff you guys so you can’t take off.’”
Bohn said that as the incident unfolded, he heard the sergeant give the order, “Be sure to find out what church they are with because we are going to start going after these churches.”
“It kind of chilled me,” he stated. “Are we the threat preaching Jesus? No, I kind of like to think that we are holding back the darkness.” Bohn explained that one of the women that was arrested, named Kelsey, was saved during their outreach at Voodoo Fest last October, and now goes out with the group to share Christ with others.
“A young lady had come by [one night] who was working at one of the strip clubs,” he recounted. “Something spoke to her that said, ‘Get out of there,’ and then she saw the cross and gave her heart to Jesus that night. … She’s just a totally changed person.”“There’s a lot of Kelsey’s out there that are just looking for somebody in a dark place,” Bohn added. “So many of the girls are hooked on drugs, abusive situations and backyard prostitution.”
After the ministry team was placed under arrest, they were all marched down to the precinct house where they were held for one hour. Bohn and two others were charged with violating the ordinance; the others, including both women, were not processed.
(Clark, "Christians Arrested for Preaching in New Orleans After Sunset; Police Vow to Target Churches Next," Christian News Network, 9/15/12).