BLOOMINGTON, MN – The famous shopping center Mall of America is generating some buzz – but for all the wrong reasons – after a security guard working there ordered a patron inside of the mall to either remove his shirt or leave the property .
Apparently, the shirt (which the security guard alleged was offensive to other patrons) was emblazoned with the phrase “Jesus Saves.”
On January 7th, a yet-to-be-identified man found himself literally surrounded by mall security guards at the Mall of America, with the rendered response in question stemming from the individual’s shirt, which read “Jesus Saves” on the front and “Jesus Is The Only Way” on the back.
Now, in the realm of ostensibly offensive attire that one could encounter in the Mall of America (or any mall, for that matter), a regular t-shirt reading “Jesus Saves” is arguably one of the least offensive garments one could adorn in public outside of a regular t-shirt with absolutely zero graphics or lettering of any kind.
Heck, the Mall of America literally hosts the outlets Hot Topic and Spencer’s, which peddles various shirts and other items that bear ostensibly offensive graphics, phrases, and outright profanity, which employees of the aforementioned stores frequently wear such featured attire while working.
I may be dating myself a bit here, but I remember when Marilyn Manson’s “Antichrist Superstar” shirts were being sold and worn at various malls in the mid-to-late 1990s – and never once did I see or hear about someone being booted from the mall for wearing those shirts (or ones akin to them), largely because it would be pretty hypocritical to boot someone from a mall for wearing a shirt they literally bought there.
But in the Mall of America, it seems that having a shirt that is pro-Christianity is a step too far, at least for these couple of security guards who decided to harass this individual.
In a video from the incident, one of the security guards can be heard telling the man, “Again, I’m giving you a couple of options: you can take your shirt off, and you can go into Macy’s and do your shopping, or you can leave the mall. Okay? Those are your only options right now.”
According to the exchange between the security guards and the man seen in the video, the individual being harassed by the security guards had apparently been given a 24-hour trespass order once sometime in the past for street preaching on mall property. However, the individual was not engaged in such activity on January 7th, as he was reportedly at the mall as a patron and was simply wearing his “Jesus Saves” shirt.
Yet, one of the security guards harassing the man went on to claim that the individual’s shirt is a form of “religious soliciting,” using said excuse to justify the seemingly unnecessary encounter.
“If you want to shop here, you need to take that shirt off…Again sir, it is religious soliciting. There is no soliciting allowed on mall property, which is private property…Just take it off to shop, man. That’s all we want…Yes, you’re walking, wearing that shirt is a form of soliciting and we’ve had guests come up saying they’re offended by your shirt.”
The Daily Mail reached out to the Mall of America for comment on the incident, in which representatives of the mall claimed that “the guest was not required to change his shirt and was allowed to remain at the Mall.” While the above video doesn’t suggest that such an amicable resolution was reached, the video cuts off before additional context is provided outside of the initial encounter.
One wouldn’t have to be a rocket scientist to draw the conclusion that if this man, or any other mall patron, were wearing a “Pride” or even a “BLM” shirt, there’s no way that mall security would surround such an individual and accost them with demands to remove their shirt – even if numerous patrons complained about the attire in the said hypothetical scenario.
There’s reportedly a protest dubbed “Jesus Goes to The Mall” being planned for February 4th from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Mall of America, where demonstrators are going to meet on the mall’s main floor outside of the L.L. Bean storefront while wearing shirts with pro-Jesus slogans emblazoned on them.