Spokane Prosecuting Christian Pastor for Trying to Pray for Children at Drag Queen Story Hour


How far will the hard left go to prevent Christians from publicly expressing their views? If we take a look at Pastor Afshin Yaghtin, it appears that progressives have become willing to use the force of government to protect their efforts at foisting their views onto children. 


In a piece for The Federalist, Anna Bohach, the founder of 500 Mom Strong, discusses the arrest of Yaghtin, who was detained for attempting to enter a public library in Spokane, Washington, to pray for children during Drag Queen Story Hour. Bohach, who was also present during the incident, explains:

 “When Yaghtin stepped onto the public property of the library parking lot, a slew of police officers confronted him and informed him he would not be allowed on public property — because he was a Christian opposed to men in dresses reading to children and exposing them to a sexual fetish.”

Bohach states that the pastor was not attempting to disrupt the event — he was not holding any signs or using a megaphone to shout down the reading. The issue arose when he insisted that he should be allowed to exercise his First Amendment right. “The pastor objected to police obstructing him from entering a public building because of his Christian faith — and they promptly arrested him for obstructing them.” 

According to the article, and his statements to The Spokesman Review, he did not get physical with the officers, nor did he raise his voice. He only wanted to enter the library. The pastor, who leads New Covenant Baptist church, is known for his sermons on homosexuality and traditional marriage. 


After Yaghtin’s arrest, Spokane City Attorney’s Office decided to press charges. The Spokane Municipal Court judge tossed the case out, citing a lack of evidence and pointing out that the authorities had violated the pastor’s free speech rights. But the prosecutor stated that they intend to appeal the decision in an effort to obtain a conviction.

The author rightly points out the obvious issue with this incident. The city deemed it necessary to spend resources on punishing a Christian pastor instead of addressing more serious problems:

“Currently, Spokane is ranked third most dangerous for property crimes nationally, and 649 rape kits are awaiting attention, an opioid crisis is raging, and a serial killer still hasn’t been caught, yet the city attorney’s office is determined to throw the book at a pastor who had an opinion about a sexist minstrel show being performed for children.”

To many, it might seem unthinkable that a man could be arrested simply for wanting to pray in a public space. It is disturbing that the authorities could brazenly violate the First Amendment thinking that they could get away with it. But even worse, there are many who would support their actions. 

But it shouldn’t really be a surprise. Spokane is a hard leftist city. Using the state to enforce the precepts of progressive ideology is part of the Marxist’s political DNA. Ten years ago, they might have never attempted to prosecute a pastor for practicing his faith and expressing his religious views. But now, the left has lurched far closer to Marxism, which cannot tolerate dissenting views. 


Spokane’s prosecutors may never succeed in their attempts to persecute Yaghtin, but the fact that they would even pursue this course of action should serve as a warning to Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. There are people on the far left who do not share our belief in a free market of ideas, and they have no qualms about using the government to enforce their views. 


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