A man inside the Mall of America last week was ordered by security guards to remove his T-shirt that read “Jesus is the only way” in a viral confrontation that has sparked online outrage.
The man’s bright yellow shirt read “Jesus saves” on the front and “Jesus is the only way” on the back with the “Coexist” symbol, which represents peace among different religions, crossed out, the footage shows.
Security guards told the man that other shoppers at the mall in Bloomington, Minnesota, said they were offended by the shirt.
“Jesus is associated with religion and it’s offending people,” one of the guards tells the man in the video from the Jan. 7 incident.
The man tries to reason with the guards, telling them that he didn’t speak or say anything to anyone — in terms of preaching.
He was removed from the mall for “preaching the gospel” on another occasion, he said in the video.
A spokesperson for the Mall of America told the Daily Mail that one week prior to the T-shirt incident, the man was “issued a 24-hour trespass for soliciting guests.”
Mall policy forbids “picketing, demonstrating, soliciting, protesting or petitioning” on the premises.
The security guard said the man’s religious tee still counted as soliciting even if he was not actively preaching.
“Again, sir, it is religious soliciting,” he told him in the video. “There is no soliciting allowed on mall property, which is private property.”
He added that people also said they were offended by the shirt.
The mall’s policy also disapproves of “apparel that has obscene language, obscene gestures or racial/religious/ethnic slurs that are likely to create a disturbance,” according to its website.
“I’m giving you a couple options,” the guard told the man, who was wearing a long-sleeved shirt underneath the T-shirt. “You can take your shirt off and you can go to Macy’s and you can do your shopping — or you could leave the mall. Those are your only options right now.”
However, the man was eventually allowed to keep his shirt on and go about his shopping, a spokesperson for the mall said.
‘”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.
Many Christians said they were shocked to learn the video was taken in the US.
“There is no way this should happen in USA,” Twitter user Carol Harper wrote. “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.”
A pastor said the man should take legal action against the mall.
“He should sue them into oblivion,” Pastor Chase Thompson tweeted. “This wouldn’t have happened anywhere in the US until very recently, and it certainly wouldn’t have happened if he’d had a pride shirt on and even 50 people complained.”
Others said they planned to wear Jesus shirts en masse to the shopping mall as a protest.