pastor-ohio-christian-Fake-Arrests

Ohio Police & Ministers Stage Fake Clergy Arrests to Show “Christian Persecution”

Ohio Police & Ministers Stage Fake Clergy Arrests to Show “Christian Persecution”

pastor-ohio-christian-Fake-Arrests

When three Ohio pastors were taken from their pulpits and arrested by local authorities for “defending the faith” over the weekend, parishioners were confused, concerned — and terrified. Then, viral video of the “arrests” led to public anger.

You heard right. Pastors staged mock arrests — with the help of publicly funded police officers no less — to drive home how severely their Jesus faith has come under attack.

The preachers featured in the video — all from the Akron, Ohio, area — had reportedly asked local officers to help them put together a video to help advertise a drama they will soon perform at the Akron Civic Center titled “Defending the Faith,” the Associated Press reported.
pastor

Police arrest a pastor while he’s preaching in mock video that sparked controversy (Image source: YouTube)

In that show, Christian pastors will face a mock trial during which they will defend their faith. The goal, as the Christian Post noted, is to show believers the importance of defending faith in the face of evil.

When police entered churches to facilitate the mock arrests during worship services, the Akron Beacon Journal said that many parishioners weren’t aware that the arrests were fake.

Some church members were even crying as their beloved faith leaders were hauled off, though a member from the production reportedly explained what was happening as the pastors were removed from the building.

When videos of the mock arrests were subsequently placed online, though, some members of the public began to criticize Summit County Sheriff’s office for what they believed were real-life examples of the rounding up and arresting of Christian pastors.

Sheriff Steve Barry found himself defending his office in the wake of the video release, telling media that the arrests were, indeed, staged.

“I want to clarify that none of the arrests were real. It was all part of a skit that went along with the pastors’ sermons that day,” he said in a news release issued Tuesday. “I knew it was being filmed, but I thought it was only going to be shown to the congregation. Once it got out there on the Web, people were commenting about how disgusting we were to interrupt church services to effect an arrest.”

The video that caused the controversy was reportedly created by Larry James, general manager of KAZ Radio Television Network.

Edra Frazier, the manager of marketing for the upcoming “Defending the Faith” production, told the Akron Beacon Journal that, though the clip has been effective, that the team needs to do a better job “of tagging the posts with production information.”

Pastor Melford J. Elliott of Greater Bethel Baptist Church, Dr. Robert L. Golson of Prince of Peace Baptist Church and Pastor Vincent E. Peterson of Providence Baptist Church were arrested, according to Greater Bethel Baptist Church’s Facebook page.

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    “The staged arrests of pastors in front of their congregations in northeast Ohio got a surprising reaction for one sheriff. Videos of the mock arrests posted online brought a wave of criticism for the Summit County Sheriff’s office from people who thought the deputies really were interrupting church services to make arrests. Sheriff Steve Barry says his deputies took part in the mock arrests Sunday at a couple churches around Akron after the pastors approached his office and asked it to participate. The churches staged the arrests as part of their “Defending the Faith” sermons. Videos showed deputies handcuffing pastors while they preached and placing them in patrol cars. The sheriff says he wishes that those who put the videos online would have noted that the events had been staged.”

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Via the Washington Times:

    Videos of the mock arrests posted online brought a wave of criticism for the Summit County Sheriff’s office from people who thought the deputies really were interrupting church services to make arrests.

    Sheriff Steve Barry says his deputies took part in the mock arrests Sunday at a couple churches around Akron after the pastors approached his office and asked it to participate.

    The churches staged the arrests as part of their “Defending the Faith” sermons. Videos showed deputies handcuffing pastors while they preached and placing them in patrol cars.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that the fake arrests were part of a bigger production intended to

    … make people more aware of what it takes for pastors to defend the Christian faith beyond preaching on Sundays.

======================

According to the Associated Press,

deputies handcuffed pastors while they preached and placed them in police cars while cameras rolled on Sunday (video below).

However, the church congregations fell for the ruse and were not told it was part of a marketing plan until after their pastors were cuffed and taken out of their churches.

The “arrested” pastors include: Rev. Melford Elliott, Rev. Robert Golson, and the Rev. Vincent Peterson, reports The Akron Beacon Journal.

When a video of the arrests was posted online, residents criticized Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry.

In response, Sheriff Barry issued a press release that stated:

I want to clarify that none of the arrests were real. It was all part of a skit that went along with the pastors’ sermons that day.

I knew it was being filmed, but I thought it was only going to be shown to the congregation. Once it got out there on the Web, people were commenting about how disgusting we were to interrupt church services to effect an arrest.

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