May 05, 2016
Philly Jesus, free again to roam the earth after Monday night's arrest, hath spoken: He wants to clear up exactly what went down at the Apple Store in Center City.
The LOVE Park street preacher, whose real name is Michael Grant, was released Tuesday morning after he was charged with trespassing and disorderly conduct for engaging in fighting. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 17.
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In the meantime, Grant decided it was important to provide an official statement about what happened. Although he has been criticized in the past for his controversial viewpoints on social media, we reproduce his Facebook post in its entirety below:
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement the past few days after my arrest at the Apple store..I view this as my calling here on Earth..to simply be a source of inspiration and encouragement to residents of Philadelphia and its many tourists...My mission is to bring a message of hope..encouragement and strength to any who cross my path...I love how Jesus sought to bring hope and healing to a hurting world..and am simply looking to extend that message to people everywhere in our modern day...
There is a lot of misinformation flying around..and I wanted to make an official statement as to what happened in hopes of clearing things up...
I walked into the Apple store to use their email and charge my phone..just as I had done countless other times these past two years...An employee took offense to my clothing and my appearance as Philly Jesus and demanded that I leave based on those grounds alone..
I have read my articles about Christians being harassed and discriminated against these past several years..and I knew that as long as I was peaceful and minding my own business that I had every right to be in that store just as everyone else there...I did nothing to cause a disruption whatsoever...When confronted..I was polite and diplomatic..and calmly and peacefully said..“No..I know my rights...I have a right to be in here just as everyone else does.”..
At no time was there any mention of the cross being an obstruction.. Had they even asked me to move the cross outside or something like that..I would have simply done so...At the time of my arrest..the police did not charge me with anything related to the cross being an obstruction or an endangerment...There was a shift supervisor present at my arrest..and I’m sure he would have charged me with something related to obstruction or public endangerment if that were even an issue at the time of my arrest...
Please note that if you go into this Apple store after school hours.. there are always 10 to 30 high schoolers hanging out in there that are sometimes rather loud and can sometimes get in the way of other patrons...They leave their school bags everywhere..which are clearly an obstruction of some sort...Nobody ever tells them to leave or move their book bags for obstructing the aisles..
I am a respectful law abiding citizen just like every one of you...I respect the Philadelphia Police Department and all the good that they do for all of us who reside in this wonderful city..
That being said..I do feel there is a line that was crossed and that all Christians should take a stand for their civil rights when being harassed or discriminated against..
Again..thank you for all of your words of encouragement and for your kindness in supporting Philly Jesus..
Blessings to you all!..
A couple of people have since replied to Grant's statement on Facebook with a simple, "Amen." Based on the charges against him, it's difficult to reconcile the "engaging in fighting" piece with his account of things. A phone call to Philadelphia police for an official description of the incident and explanation of the charges against Grant was not immediately returned.
Monday's incident wasn't Philly Jesus' first arrest. He was booked for disorderly conduct at LOVE Park in November 2014, but all charges were eventually dropped. Grant has since been the same Godspeed presence at seemingly every large gathering in downtown Philadelphia and will presumably continue to be once all of this has been resolved.