A man at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, was recently ordered to remove a “Jesus Saves” t-shirt after security guards reportedly told him that shoppers were offended.
Video of the incident shows the back of the shirt included the Coexist symbol crossed out with “Jesus is the only way” printed below.
“Jesus is associated with religion and it’s offending people,” one of the guards in the footage told the man.
After talking with the security officers, the unknown man was told the shirt could not be worn inside the mall.
“Again sir, it is religious soliciting,” he told him in the video captured on January 7. “There is no soliciting allowed on mall property, which is private property.”
I automatically assumed this was overseas, but it's right here in America. pic.twitter.com/Q79eUCG7xh
— John Mason (@LivingGodsTruth) January 12, 2023
In the viral video, the man acknowledged that he had been forced to leave the mall before for “preaching the gospel.” He was issued a “24-hour trespass for soliciting guests,” according to a spokesperson from the Mall of America.
The Mall of America’s website states that soliciting is not allowed under its policies, including “Picketing, demonstrating, soliciting, protesting or petitioning.”
The security officers in the video said the man’s shirt was considered “religious soliciting,” adding, “There is no soliciting allowed on mall property, which is private property.”
Mall policy also specifies that “appropriate attire” must be worn inside, specifying “apparel that has obscene language, obscene gestures or racial/religious/ethnic slurs that are likely to create a disturbance” as inappropriate.
Despite the incident, a mall spokesman told the Daily Mail that the man was eventually not required to obey the security guard’s order.
“After a brief interaction, the guest was not required to change his shirt and was allowed to remain at the Mall,” the representative told the Daily Mail.
Social media users were infuriated over the video, accusing the mall of violating the man’s religious freedom.
“There is no way this should happen in USA. He has a free speech right to wear that shirt, and a freedom of religion right to practice his faith in public places. More people should wear Christian shirts to that mall,” one user tweeted.
Other users suggested that more people wear shirts with similar religious messaging inside the mall.
“I am so getting this shirt. We need to march in this shirt. March on the malls,” another user tweeted.
“I will ship a JESUS SAVES shirt to anyone in Minneapolis area that will where (sic) it to MOA…DM me your size and address,” another user wrote.
The Mall of America previously angered shoppers in October when it added metal detectors at entryways as an added security measure. The safety enhancement followed two gun-related incidents in August.
The move inconvenienced shoppers and angered many Second Amendment advocates already upset over the mall’s 2015 firearms ban.
“This is completely ridiculous. The complete opposite of what they should be doing,” Former Minnesota state Rep. Tony Cornish (R) said following a threat to the Mall of America in 2015. “If we’re threatened with an attack, the last thing you want to do is disarm citizens.”