back to article Shopping mall mulls Supreme Court bid to back no-speaking ban

A California shopping mall may ask the State Supreme Court to defend its ban on its patrons speaking to one another except to ask where the toilet is. Judges on the 3rd District Court of Appeal last week ruled that the Westfield Galleria in Roseville's ban on a visitor "approaching patrons with whom he or she was not …


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  1. The_Police!

    Was I the only one who read

    Sacramento Bee as Sarah Bee?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Was I the only one who read

      I am my own news.

      1. jake Silver badge


        A legend in your own ... Ah, fsck it. Too easy.

      2. Anonymous Coward

        @Sarah Bee

        I am my own muse :-o

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And I thought the Irainians banning the Mullet was extreme

    ....Some people really do need to be given a right good smack in the mouth.

    1. Ivan Headache

      why have the Iranians

      banned a fish?

      1. Anonymous Coward

        it's quite simple really

        most people can't keep their fish in their trousers.

  3. peyton?

    I know I won't be the first to say

    But surely this is just a simple case of trespassing??

    Mall: Please leave.

    Dude: No.

    At that point, it is trespassing, no?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Wouldn't it have to be the person who owned the mall?

      1. David Eddleman


        The owner can delegate others to that authority. Usually it's only managers and supervisors who can do that, 'regular' staff can't do that.

    2. Jimmy Floyd


      In a simple world, asking the would-be trespasser to leave would be that simple. In practice, however, it's a Pandora's can of worm. Consider this scenario:

      Mall: Please leave.

      Dude: Is it 'cos I is black?

      Mall: ...

  4. Robert Ramsay


    I don't want to talk to anyone who's remembered to fill in a form for a shopping mall.

  5. Flugal


    I wonder why they don't they just place a ban on people espousing sky-fairy drivel?

    Alternatively, mall workers could attend this chap's place of worship and start trying to sell the congregation their retail goods.

    1. Mad Dave

      Maybe because

      Unlike the majority of militant atheists, the general public are quite willing to entertain the old fashioned notion of 'Freedom of Speech' ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Freedom of speech

        How about freedom from hearing the discredited waffle of "believers"?

        About a year ago I saw a woman with a young child (about 8 or 9) and a table piled with Christian propoganda, (in a street, not a privately ownded mall), telling the passing masses about he beliefs. I asked her how old she thought the Earth is and she replied "5-6000 years". So I asked her how old she thought dinosaur bones are that have been found and she replied "4-5000 years".

        I told the child that, as we know many dinosaur bones are many millions of years old, what her mother was saying made no sense.

        Far from respecting my "freedom of speech" the woman got rather angry with me.

        BTW - If being an atheist makes me "militant" (because I absolutely believe there is no god....seems a fairly balanced position given there is no evidence whatsoever to the contrary), surely anybody who absolutely believes there is a god is also a militant?

        1. Mad Dave


          >How about freedom from hearing the discredited waffle of "believers"?

          You mean like saying 'No thanks, I'm not interested" ?

          >If being an atheist makes me "militant"

          It doesn't. Who said that it did?

          On the one hand, you rally against being somehow compelled to listen to others, in a manner as yet unexplained, and yet you feel that you have the right to force your own beliefs upon others, as you illustrated in your response above.

          I think that just about sums up the staggering hypocrisy of the modern day 'atheist'.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Thumb Down

            @AC 14:40

            Good lord. You may not be 'militant' but you certainly are an asshole. You saw this lady there, take the initiative to go up and pick a fight, and then act indignant when she argues with you? What the hell is wrong with you, anyway?!

            Guys like you are the reason I have to explain to people that despite the fact that I'm an atheist, I am not, in fact, a monstrous dickhead. Well done for the cause, there, numbskull.


        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Freedom of Speech

          >How about freedom from hearing the discredited waffle of "believers"?<

          We have to put up with the drivel from believers in Evolution, you can just walk off if you want.

          1. CheesyTheClown

            What if you're both right and too dumb to see it?

            First, I don't care if there's a God or not, but the creation/evolution topic always bothered me. It's 100% guaranteed that a bunch of desert wandering blue collar workers from Egypt that weren't even smart enough to avoid eating improperly prepared pork 5700 years ago must have been given a set of rules and a book that they can understand well enough to believe in it. It also seems obvious to me that your God, if he did provide the book would intentionally do what he needed to give those people faith and to keep them alive. All religions were based on the theory of "who are you?" followed by "I'm the guy who made you, here's the story". So your god had to give some details they would understand.

            Let's imagine for a moment that he in fact did create the universe, but he did it exactly the way the scientists say he did. Let's face it, if he's all powerful and all mighty, would you rather be something he slapped together in a few days and said "bah, good enough" and left it at that? Or would you rather believe you are something that he spent billions of years planning and eventually set off an event at the center of the universe which flowered out and made something of near perfection?

            If you want to believe in something, would you rather take literally a book written to make a undereducated population dieing in the dessert survive long enough to find 'the promise land" or would you rather learn your morals from the guidance he gave you and leave it up to the scientists he created to read the heavens for you?

        3. foo_bar_baz
          Thumb Down


          Whether you have a reasoned or balanced belief has nothing to do with being militant, which has everything to do with your behaviour and demeanour. See dictionary definitions of militant: "aggressive", "belligerent" etc.

          Instead of engaging the woman in reasoned argument you sought to embarrass and undermine her in front of her child.

          1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

            Re: Twit

            Mmm. You can't really tell someone else's *child* what to think and tell them their parents are wrong. That's incredibly rude, at the very least. Nothing to do with freedom of speech. You don't have the freedom to parent whoever you like for a second.

      2. CheesyTheClown

        It is very uncomfortable for some.

        I'm a recovering Jew myself and even before learned to think for myself, I considered it embarrassing to be approached by someone who apparently thought I was "lost" enough that I needed unsolicited approaching. It can be as embarrassing as someone telling you "You put your underwear on outside of your pants", or "Did you know that's a woman's shirt?". It's like "Don't you realize that your soul is obviously in danger?"

        Recently, I had suffered a major back problem similar to a slipped disc. While walking from the clinic (not a druggy one, but one you pay for, even in a country where medicine is free because you don't like sitting and waiting in pain) to the train station, I was moving at a pace which made the average snail look slow. I was in pain. A relatively nice couple stopped me, assuming I was a druggy and tried "to save my soul", they were nice enough, and I didn't want to offend them, they seemed like they genuinely thought they were doing the right thing and really wanted to help, but I couldn't get rid of them for nearly 20 minutes and as opposed to trying to convert me to their religion, they never once offered me a should to lean on. Those 20 minutes were agonizingly painful for my back and I hadn't reached the pharmacy yet to get my pain killers (which was near the train station I was walking to).

        The fact is, no means no. To some people, these types of meetings make a lot of people really uncomfortable and it's terribly inconsiderate of anyone who insists on doing this. I guess I don't mind a priest approaching some strangers in the mall and saying hello, and if those people engage him in a conversation, fine. But if he's sharing his religion (which to many of us, even other types of Christians I know) unsolicited is like a guy with malaria coming up to you and kissing you.

  6. A J Stiles
    IT Angle

    Wrong section

    This should be in Bootnotes, surely?

    * Shopping centres are private property. The First Amendment only limits what laws the US Federal Government can pass. A ban on activities on private property might run afoul of state or federal law, but cannot by definition be unconstitutional.

    * The Sacramento Bee is a satirical publication.

    IT? used ironically because someone invariably sticks it on a comment on a Bootnotes story

    1. Geoffrey W

      Sacramento Bee

      <Quote>* The Sacramento Bee is a satirical publication.</Quote>

      No, it isn't. Its a progressive newspaper that has won numerous major awards in its lifetime, including several Pulitzers. So your point was?

    2. Pablo

      State != Federal

      This case deals with California law, not federal. The CA constitution has a stronger freedom of speech protection, making it a "positive right", not just forbidding the government from restricting speech. For this reason people soliciting donations or signatures for some cause or another are a common sight in front of stores around here, even though businesses would prefer not to have them there.

      I don't know what the situation is in other states, but in California at least, private property doesn't automatically trump freedom of speech, not once you invite the public onto your property in the first place.

      1. Charles Manning

        "Right of Admission Reserved"

        Just put up a sign saying that and you have the right to evict people you don't like.

  7. DavCrav Silver badge

    Really confused here

    As far as I knew, companies couldn't make up their own laws, then when someone breaks them, arrest them and hand them to police. Maybe I'm wrong here. Although the police's actions and subsequent lawsuit suggest otherwise.

  8. Anonymous Coward


    Makes you wonder what their boys and girls are dying abroad for if they can ban speaking to people at home. Gas chambers, torture and loss of freedoms, I wish the US would reflect on itself a little. It could be an amazing place, but instead....this.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge


      Westfield is not the government, it's a corporation. When you figure out the difference, your perspective will be considered. If you read the article (a challenging task, I know, since your Marmite-stained fingers could hardly restrain themselves from assaulting the keyboard), you'll note that the local *government* did not press charges and let the would-be proselytizer go.

      1. Kurt Faasse
        Gates Horns

        GM loves me this I know, for my paycheck tells me so...

        In the USA, the corporations ARE the government. Not that they are right. Might does not make right. But, still, they are in control.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Haha, 'marmite-stained'

        Will this be the new stereotype you have of us for the next century? Does this mean you have finally realised that we don't all wear bowler hats and drink afternoon tea? Yeeehaaar!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I wasn't prevented from talking to strangers in Chinese shopping centres, or Russian ones. I must have misunderstood something because we all know that America is the land of the free.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only in America.......?

    Hmmm.... er, but, maybe....

    Westfield have UK operations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes, but... tell someone they can't speak to others in the UK, you're unlikely to get sued, more likely to get a good kicking.

      Then again, the god bother was equally likely to get a smack in the mouth.

      Sometimes the UK yob culture has it's upside.

    2. Adam Salisbury
      Big Brother

      Classic Angolo-American Rivalry

      Who can be the most opressive police sta^H^H^H^^H^democracy *cough*

      I think I'm gonna move somewhere more liberal, I hear China's nice this time of year!

  11. Citizen Kaned


    now i can see the point, at first i thought it was out of order....

    i personally hate anyone preaching to me, especially about some imaginary sky fairy.

    1. Wize

      How to get lots of up and down votes

      Talk about god in a strongly positive or strongly negative way.

      Always good to get the fight going. There are those on both sides of the argument who are not open to the idea that they could be wrong if slapped about with a large piece of evidence. They will defend their belief (in or against) with their last breath.

      1. Citizen Kaned


        im more than willing to believe. but personally if you dont have even any sketchy evidence after what, at least 6000 years of humanity then i dont expect to see any soon.

        its funny how atheists get stick for not believing in something. its not us preaching in town centres telling people they are all wrong and organising some kind of massive paedo network.

        organised religion is 100% man made, spirituality is another thing entirely. i dont need to read a book written hundreds of years after the fact by men in a room to know how to be a good person.

        why do you have the right to believe yet i dont have the right to disbelieve?

        1. Wize

          I do have to admit that there is a lack of people...

          ..preaching about the non-existence of god to balance up the numbers preaching he does.

  12. Rogerborg

    Crib notes for the Slashdot visitors

    The God-botherer here is referring to the filthy yoghurt-knitting *California* State Constitution, not the Most Holy United States Constitution that Saint Reagan carved on tablets of stone from Plymouth Rock.

    Mind you, it's still twonk, since all it says is "SEC. 2. (a) Every person may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of this right. A law may not restrain or abridge liberty of speech or press."

    I guess if you're a freetard Lunix zealot or similar you *could* interpret that as meaning that no law - such as trespass - can be applied in such a way as to stop Invisible Sky Giant crackpots from spouting their drivel, but then you're on a slippery slope to nailing "Visit!" posters on school doors. Is that what you want, California? Because THAT'S WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

    1. Adam Salisbury


      I call Godwin's of The Day on you!

  13. edwardecl
    Thumb Up

    Why not...

    ask him to leave?

    if he does not comply phone the police and tell them he is acting suspiciously (terrorist) and get him banged up for a few hours.

    If he comes back tell them he is looking at children funny...

    As a final measure, find out where he lives and attempt to do some "swatting" and get them to go around his house and flash bang his dog, while drive off with the front of his house attached to a pick up truck, apparently that happens all the time in the US ^^.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      And if that doesn't work they could get some female employee to say he raped her, right?

      To think they let people like you carry guns, sigh.

  14. Richard Scratcher

    Are you addressing me sir? I don't believe we've been introduced.

    It's good to see that the colonies are finally catching up with the basic rules of etiquette and public decency.

    "...seeking "damages in [sic] an unspecified amount for false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malicious prosecution, and a general violation of his rights under California's Civil Rights Act".

    God moves in mysterious ways!

  15. jake Silver badge

    Mall == private property.

    Just like my living room.

    You can NOT spout your religious bullshit to anyone in my living room ... I do not allow shamanism here in any shape or form. If you try, you will be shown the door, and indeed escorted off my property. If you struggle, I have the option of making a citizens arrest, charging you with trespassing, and/or assault, depending on how violent you are in insisting on delivering your variation of "the good word".

    Don't like my house rules? Don't come here. We won't miss you.

    1. Richard IV
      Black Helicopters

      For those with memories

      This is precisely why good ole held its ID card roadshows in malls. No protesterism allowed in any shape or form etc etc

    2. Mad Dave

      You have the power to charge people with crimes?

      Well, I must say, the news that the CPS (or PF in Scotland) are outsourcing their work to private individuals to be a most disconcerting development.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "If you struggle, I have the option of making a citizens arrest, charging you with trespassing, and/or assault, depending on how violent you are in insisting on delivering your variation of "the good word".

      You can't have them charged with trespass if you invited them in in the first place, but changed your mind after the fact.

      1. jake Silver badge

        @AC 00:05

        "You can't have them charged with trespass if you invited them in in the first place, but changed your mind after the fact."

        No? You are welcome to visit my Ranch for horse related activities and various types of dog training (we also offer occasional classes in turning lambs & steers into food, grapes into wine, malt and hops into beer, and salt, flour & water into bread). You are not welcome to preach here. Try it, and I'll personally show you the property line. Complain or otherwise act up, and I'll arrest you[1]. Sue me. I dare you.

        [1] Yes, here in California, I can do this as a citizen. And have. Never lost the resulting lawsuit (and the idiots always try to sue me). The trick is having clued-in witnesses and understanding the law, to say nothing of when to apply it.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @jake - thanks for the invite

          but you sound like a bit of a cock

      2. Mad Dave

        The dude

        Can't actually make any arrest, he has no grounds to do so, and would lay himself open to charges of false imprisonment and common assault, but let's not detract from the fantasies of hormonally challenged14 year old 'atheists'.

      3. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

        @AC 19th August 00:05

        I don't know what legal system you are talking about, but it seems unlikely that your assertion is true. Consider the (seriously hypothetical) situation where you invite in, say, a plumber to fix a dripping tap. The plumber does this, but then, without your permission, sits down on your sofa, switches the telly on, and proceeds to watch something you don't want to watch. The plumber is no longer there for the activity he was invited in for, and it is now a trespass.

        Incidentally, certainly in the UK, common trespass isn't a criminal offence - it is civil.

    4. LateNightLarry

      Mall == private property

      In California, owners of properties like shopping malls may not prohibit solicitors such as religious, political (candidates, ballot measures, etc), or various causes (animal rights, etc.) from soliciting... The property owner can limit where they can set up operations (i.e., a fixed site with a table), and require that they not approach shoppers, but allow shoppers to express an interest by approaching the solicitor. Usually, the mall owner will limit the number and placement of tables, and require that the solicitor not block pedestrian traffic in any way. Most malls have a large open area, or several, where the solicitors set up their tables, and are ignored for the most part.

    5. Arclight

      Slight difference

      The mal advertises, it has its doors wide open and actively seeks to attract people to enter. I would assume your living room is slightly different in that respect.

  16. David Edwards

    If you think this through, its obvious

    what this is about is the right of people to access a space and interact, BUT

    Im fairly sure you'd expect that if someone wanted to do customer research, collect for charity, give our free samples of product x. They would need permission form the mall/store management ?

    If you were at a mall/store and got stopped every 5 ft by someone doing research, collecting for charity, giving out free samples etc, you may complain to store management because you don't want to be harassed while shopping?

    So really this is about limiting/managing people who go to the store/mall to interact with people but have no intention of shopping (possibly hence the term 3rd party access form).

    Now as with every other area of stuff in life there are grey areas, e.g. a few school kids collecting info for homework etc, but thats life, you just expect people to deal with this in a sensible way. Maybe this guy was not being dealt with in a sensible way, but maybe he was popping out from behind things saying "hey id like to talk to you about god!" and being a jerk.

    But what this isn't about, is two shoppers having a chat.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Godless America

    The Sky Fairy was unavailable for comment, but his private secretary Peter said he would call back...sometime...

  18. Arkasha

    My flabber is well and truly gasted

    I can't even begin to imagine the meeting where this mall law was thought up and everyone round the table said "yeah, that's a good idea."

    And then for the mall manager to say (presumably with a straight face) that people have to fill out a form to be allowed to talk to other people in the mall...

    This is the kind of thing you'd expect the Taliban to come up with, not residents of a supposedly free country like the USA.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Where did you get the notion

      That the USA was a free country??

      1. Arkasha


        That's why I said "supposedly free country"...

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Can anyone here tell the difference between a private entity and the state?

          Let me spell this out for you cretins:

          1) The mall, a private entity, made the rule

          2) The state, a public entity, has been petitioned to answer as to the validity of the private entity's actions

          See how that works? The petitioner is hoping to find that the government will find that freedom of speech exists *more* broadly than generally understood to, not *less*, and the government had no involvement in, nor did it pursue, any harassment of the individual.

          Is this actually that difficult to understand, or is it just hard for people to avoid self-righteously slandering the US because it's in vogue?

    2. Thomas 18
      Thumb Down

      Taliban arn't big on paper

      You'd probably just need to get gender reassignment surgery.

  19. Dave Mundt

    Chatting at the Mall.

    Greetings and Salutations.

    I am not a lawyer (my parents raised me to be ethical and honorable). However, it appears that the Mall is so far in the wrong here that the best they can do is negotiate a settlement, and move on. According to the uncontested reports, the pastor was speaking with three young ladies about his Christian views AFTER he had asked their permission and received it. It was an employee of the Mall who was offended and precipitated the unlawful detention. Some of the important points here are that the employee had no standing in the conversation, as they were not a part of it. Then, there is no indication that the pastor was soliciting anything (Most retail stores here have "no soliciting" signs on the building, as they do not want the competition). Finally, the California Supreme Court has ruled that "that the free-speech and petition provisions of the California Constitution grant mall visitors a constitutional right to free speech that outweighs the private-property interests of mall owners"

    Now, when the pastor was approached by security and refused to leave when asked, he may have stepped over a line...However, if his goal was to force the issue, this was a good way to go about it. However, again, the request should never have come up, because there is no sign that he was doing anything to disrupt the shopping experience of the other folks in the Mall.

    So...Looks like the lawyers will be able to argue either side of this case, and, either way will get a new Mercedes out of the deal!


    Dave Mundt

    1. max allan

      Agreed, the only winners are lawyers

      Once again, the lawyers win.

      I think there used to be a time when laws were set up to protect the freedom/property/etc of individuals.

      Now it seems that laws and policing are set up to perpetuate the huge amounts of money earnt by lawyers in either arguing about loopholes or arguing about idiotic/contradictory laws.

      Now, if a government promised to sort that out, I'd vote for them.

  20. LuMan


    Surely I'm not reading this right. Am I to believe that I can talk to a stranger in a shopping mall (or centre), but only if I have filled in a form?? Does my co-conversationer also need to have filled in a form? How will I know? Do we have to wear badges??

    Sorry for the language, but this is fucking stupid!

  21. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Huddled masses yearning to breathe free

    This comment has been removed due to the commentator not seeking permission to comment four days in advance and giving no clear reason as to what they would be commenting on nor the form their comment would ultimately take. Abuse of the rules will not be tolerated and the police have been informed.

    God Bless the United States of America.

  22. Whore Reamer

    The point is...

    ... proselytising does annoy or upset a lot of people. Just because he found three people who were receptive doesn't mean that, in doing so, he didn't piss off a bunch of others. Religion has its place and if people are twatty enough to need it then they know where to find it. They should string this fucker up as an example. He could have started a riot.

    1. Geoffrey W


      <QUOTE>Just because he found three people who were receptive doesn't mean that, in doing so, he didn't piss off a bunch of others.</QUOTE>

      And it also doesn't mean that a martian passing by in a flying saucer didn't collide with a tree whilst rubbernecking to hear what he was saying, either. But until you find those hypothetical OTHERS, or the Martian, then they may as well not exist, and your hypothetical riot and lynching solution is as much of this world as are your thought processes.

    2. Ole Juul

      Re: The point

      Yes, proselytising can be a nuisance but who is to agree on which kind to ban? Personally sports fans irritate me. I'm also particularly pissed off by salesmen. However, as an adult I am able to put up with all these different kinds of religious fanatics. We have to be tolerant of each other. However, those who believe in "stringing" people up do push the limits of my tolerance a little. :)

  23. John Murgatroyd

    If I was to ask someone

    here if it was ok to speak to them......I can foresee the response being two words, one beginning with "F" and the other being OFF....but this is the UK2010, under the rule of ? (who?)

  24. Stubar

    Joey's knackered

    "Heyy! How yoo doin'?"

    1. Ole Juul

      "Heyy! How yoo doin'?"

      That's what we used to say. Now, if we want to greet someone we say "Where's the bathroom?"

  25. Jim 59

    Freedom of speech

    They have freedom of speech in the USA, and here in the UK (even in people's living rooms). Hence the Mall's actions are illegal. They have no chance with the Supreme Court.

  26. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    "Shopping mall mulls Supreme Court bid to back no-speaking ban"

    Doesn't a "no-speaking ban" imply that speaking is compulsory?

    In which case, what about the deaf?

  27. eJ2095

    Funny you should mention this BUT see

    My local branch here in the uk lols

  28. Anonymous Coward

    Mighty opinions out of little ignorances grow

    It is well-settled case law in the U.S. (and particularly in California) that shopping malls are public places and visitors may freely express opinions and engage in unsolicated conversations with other visitors. Westfield management knew the laws, but appear to have decided to flagrantly violate them. In the U.S., one of the few useful correctives for such lawbreaking is to relieve the scofflaw of piles of cash. Hence the lawsuit. In the U.S., punching a "god botherer" in the mouth in the ujnblinking gaze of multiple security cameras will result in a long stretch in either jail or prison in the company of men or women who will teach the would-be etiquette enforcer a whole new set of social rules, starting with "bend over."

    So, all of the comments about trespass and useful yobs and the like are both ignorant and disturbing. People who recoil from the prospect of other people exercising freedom of speech can't reasonably complain when their own freedom of speech is taken away.

    And as to this juvenile business of mocking religious people as "god botherers": I feel sorry for you. You are likely so busy making money, buying trinkets, and otherwise filling your lives with empty pleasures that you have no sense of the spiritual aspects of your existence, let alone the capacity to repond to them. This condition is, I think, the worst disability a human can suffer.

    1. John H Woods Silver badge

      I'm not mocking your religious beliefs ....

      ... but it's amazing how many 'upright citizens' seem to be so glib about the possibility of a convicted offender being sexually assaulted in prison - you present it almost as if you consider it part and parcel of the punishment, as if it were officially sanctioned.

      From simple induction, I conclude that the rest of your beliefs and opinions are likely to be, shall we say, uninformative.

    2. Geoffrey W


      I was with you up to the bit where you started to feel sorry for me and called me disabled because I have no truck with any religion.

      It seems to me that religion and spirituality very rarely go hand in hand, or mean the same thing. During my church going days I very rarely encountered any spiritual people in the congregation; or if they were spiritual then they hid it very deeply indeed. Not that I didn't like them but many had no apparent feeling for anything that wasn't in some other remote and invisible part of the world. Anything close by which they could smell or hear then it was just disgusting and there aught to be laws. I live in the woods on the side of a mountain and there is something very uplifting and spiritual about climbing the ridge behind my home as the sun comes up and feeling it on my face, and it has nothing to do with any church or religious organisation. Spirituality to me means seeing and feeling and appreciating the beautiful and the numinous in the world as we experience it, including all those things that religions like to proscribe such as sex and having fun, and not wishing for, or attempting to enforce, some fictional reality that will never be in human existence.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      religion != spiritualism

      Just because someone doesn't follow a religion, there is no reason to assume that person must be materialist or money-obsessed. That's the same logic as saying if you don't like apples you must love oranges, ie. no logic at all.

  29. John Tserkezis

    Legal yes, Stupid, also yes.

    On your property you can make up any rules (policies) you like as long as they don't contravene established state, federal, international, whatever etc laws.

    A shopping centre here in Australia a couple of years ago created a policy that you're not allowed to wear thongs (the australian rubber footwear flipflop type thongs), while using the escalators (the moving stairway thingies).

    They had legal right to ask and/or force you to leave if you insisted on using the escalators with thongs.

    We speculated they only did that to satisfy a discount on their legal liability premiums in case someone's loose footware was to jam within the jaws of death and lose a foot...

    They were very much within legal rights to do that. They were also very stupid to try it too.

    It lasted barely a month.

    1. Marcus Aurelius

      US appears to be different

      It seems that US law has decided that certain types of "private" property are not private in respect of Free Speech rights, as they are to a certain extent public areas.

      The Right to Free Speech can be limited (e.g. yelling Fire for no reason in a crowded theatre can be an offence) but only if it is absolutely necessary to do so.

      1. Mad Dave

        Of course,

        That's nothing like the UK deciding that pubs are public places?

  30. heyrick Silver badge



  31. Fred 4

    my view summarized by others

    1 - "A corrupt society has many laws."

    - Tacitus, Roman Senator

    2 - We are both atheists. When you recognize why you have rejected the multitude of other possible gods, you will understand why I have rejected yours.

    - unknown

  32. Anonymous Coward

    America - Land of the free

    That is all

  33. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    Permission to talk form

    I hereby request permission to talk to people in your mall.

    Name: A. Person

    Persons(s): Cuties between 20-28.

    Topics for discussion: How cute they look. What they are doing in a place like this. If they would like a drink...

    Are you selling / giving anything away?: My wild oats

  34. Gene Cash Silver badge

    This is actually awesome

    As someone in the Baptist South who gets harassed all the time by jesus nutjobs, I wish all the local malls would emulate this. I've had one old man spit at me because I was carrying a helmet and my "motorcycle is a tool of satan"

    I've had women in business suits standing at the local grocery store, handing out business cards. I thought she was a realtor, so I took one, only to discover it was for a local church. I told her "I'm sorry! I thought you were a hooker!"

    I had a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses wait for me at my bike so that he could ask me if I knew the Lord, as motorcycling was a dangerous hobby in which to partake. I said "you joined a religion which forbids blood transfusions... you're a fine one to talk!"

    That's the sort of freakazoids we get.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      While I agree in principle..

      >>you joined a religion which forbids blood transfusions... you're a fine one to talk!

      Even though there are so many checks on blood; it is a known fact that donated blood damages the immune system. In fact, in BMC Medicine, it was published that in a control group of 25000, twice as many suffered postoperative infections as did those who didn’t receive a transfusion.

      Then you look at the regulations of blood usage. Within the country, strict controls regulate how it is received, tested, screened and stored. But your hospital will (and often does) accept blood from other countries, who don't have the same screening practices.

      You don't even need full blood! Calledleukoreduction, the removal of white blood cells from donated blood; can be used along with medical filler products with extreme safety. This reduces known risks oftaking full blood on it's own (yes, there are known risks) by lowering immuno problems.

      I agree with your point about them peeps, but get your facts right first.

  35. Tigra 07 Silver badge

    Can you imagine this under Labour?

    Labour in this country would use that idea to create a speech tax for every word said in public.

    Combatting noise pollution the Nieu Leibour way...

    1. Martin
      Thumb Down


      It doesn't matter WHAT the subject is, someone on this forum has to find a way of slagging off Labour (even though they aren't even in power anymore) - and, furthermore, has to put in a "witty" misspelling of it.

      Which you seem to have misspelled - isn't the so-called joke "Liebour"?

      1. Geoffrey W

        oh, I dunno...

        A political party where everyone wears a Lei sounds like more fun than all those suits

      2. Mad Dave


        if they weren't the most authoritarian, freedom hating bunch of rogues ever to assemble together, people wouldn't feel the need to slag them off?

        What's the problem with the new government anyway? Have they asked you to actually ***GASP*** ***SHOCK*** ***HORROR*** get a job ?!??!?!?!?!?!?!

      3. Tigra 07 Silver badge

        I can spell Labour however i like...

        Yes it is spelt like that lol, didn't notice that

        Grow up Martin and get a sense of humor!

        If people like you can't see anything wrong with what Labour, sorry Liebour did in 13 years then you are very deluded and out of touch with everyone else who voted for change.

        It's people like you who vote for Liebour just because you're a lifelong fan and hold back progress.

        1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

          Re: I can spell Labour however i like...

          good grief

      4. EvilGav 1

        And ??

        I live in Scotland (though I am English) and still heard, during the last election, that many people could never vote Conservative because of Margaret Thatcher.

        She hasn't been at the head of the party for 2 decades and hasn't been a politician for almost as long, but that was still the reasoning behind the decision.

        Therefore I think it's entirely right and proper to be allowed to slag off a party that only lost power this year and held it for the previous 13 years.

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

          RE: EvilGav 1

          You will notice from history that the conservatives have always left the country richer when leaving office, whearas Labour have usually left it poorer.

          Labour tax everything and lie about everything, wasting their time slagging off other mps, rather than take constructive criticism and use it to help the country.

          They are a disgrace to the country and serve only to fill their pockets and stuff everyone else

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When will you lot learn to read

    He wasn't forcing his beliefs on anybody. The people he was speaking to were a willing party prepared to discuss whatever his beliefs may be.

    It was an interfering third party who was listening in that called security.

  37. Bluenose

    Free Speech, now Paid Speech....

    would probably be allowed. Wonder if you have to pay to fill in the 3rd party form?

    It is also interesting to note that if someone shouted out support the Patriots (an American football team worshipped by some Americans :) ) they would also have to fill in a form so the issue here appears to be that any form of communication that does not revolve around, "get in to American Eagle there's 50% off or other such commercial speak) is banned by this company. Now that is a step to far.

    Imagine standing outside the Houses of Parliament and only being able to talk about politics or going to work and only being allowed to discuss work. Where would our discussions of the weather, football, the opposite sex, etc be held. Pubs could ban us discussing such things and force us only talk about the quality (or more likely lack of it) of their beers and wines.

    I think therefore that I stand in support of this bloke who like most scientists was simply propounding standing in support of his own unproven theorie relating to the origins and laws of this universe and possibly others. Wonder if Richard Dawkins has managed to prove his theory of the genetic meme yet??

  38. Graham Bartlett


    I pity you. I have the ability to figure out morality from one base principle: a holy man who said: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another".

    I don't need a book which consists of God getting his followers to do immoral things (the entire Old Testament), which Christ explicitly said should be irrelevant to his followers; nor the clearly-fictionalised parts of what Christ did (easy to find by comparing the Gospels); nor various letters from people who never met Christ slagging off other Christ-followers and replacing Christ's teachings with their own bigoted views (all of the rest of the New Testament). Start from the start, and everything else follows. You could do that too, but you've chosen to abdicate reasoning to a money-making organisation where members of the organisation's hierarchy are not accountable to the people they claim to govern, and are able to freely abuse that position of responsibility. Nice one.

    I'd say I'm a fundamentalist Christian in that I believe in the fundamental teachings of Christ. As such, I believe that every organised church - without exception - is heretical to Christianity. Go to church on Sunday if you like, or spout Old Testament nonsense about gays, or repeat Paul's bigoted views of women, but if you do then you're in direct violation of Christ's own ideas on the subject.

  39. Ron Eve


    It's to do with the prevention of unauthorised persons/organisations from effectively setting up shop within a commercial property i.e. the mall. The tabloid (if that's what it is) is subverting the actuality.

    Quite right too (the prevention, that is).

    They haven't paid any rent to the owners for the space they're occupying and they're likely to seriously piss off paying customers with their proselytising about imaginary beings. I mean how would you like to walk into <name of supermarket here> for your weekly supply of toilet paper and be confronted by someone trying to force your to do 'Personality Tests', as formulated by a late science fiction writer?

    Thought not.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    @Private property

    Just a clarification. A mall, while privatly owned, is not a "private" property, in the sence that is it a public place. The difference can be summed thus.

    Your house, I can't come in without being invited. A mall is open to everyone, without restrictions. You could, for example, decide you do not like black people for some reason and forbid them from entering your property. While this makes you a racist bigot, it is not, strictly speaking, illegal. (You can prevent whoever you want from getting on your property), where the shopping center isn't allowed to have such a rule.

    Another clarification. While you are quite right that you cannot force someone to listen to you in a public place, they are still allowed to come to you and ask if you'd like to talk to them. From the article, the ladies did not mind at all talking about God (or whatever) with the man, so it isn't ask if he was arrasing them (that would be illegal). As such, the staff did not protect anyone who was being arrased and basically barged in to the "private" conversation of people speaking in a public place. That is unlawful.

    now let's see everyone point out how wrong I am.

  41. James Micallef Silver badge

    fail on both sides

    This sky-fairy dude should recognise that he is soliciting clients on someone else's private property. the mall has every right to ask him to leave if he does not comply with their rules

    The mall should recognise that the whole citizens-arrest malarkey was uncalled for, and could have dealt with the issue a lot more subtly

    Just chill dudes!!!

    (and have a beer)

  42. Keith Wingate
    IT Angle

    Freedom means choices

    As an agnostic I always give street-corner preachers, door-to-door Jesus-salesfolk, airport Hare-Krishna's, etc. the polite brushoff. I do take the Jews-For-Jesus pamphlets because they're entertaining, although I'm neither Jewish nor a Christ-worshipper. But I've never had a problem with this. People seem to understand pretty quickly that I'm not a very good prospect.

    I'm a lot more offended by people trying to spray me with perfumes which will have me sneezing for a few hours, or (back in the day) nicotine addicts who don't understand why, "Yes, I do mind if you smoke". If the guy had a megaphone and was blasting "Christian Music" (most of which seems to be neither, from what I can tell) I'd be offended. But "Have you heard about Jesus?" "No, thank you" and you keep walking ... I don't see the problem. If you don't like that you can't talk to folks at the mall, go to a different mall, in a different State if you must.

    Oh that's right, they smoke in Arizona. I guess you have to make your choices and live with them.

    The law of course, won't stand up in court (freedom of Assembly is guaranteed in the US Bill of Rights).

  43. John Savard Silver badge

    Shopping Malls are for Shoppers

    And if someone without paying rent to the mall owner tries to sell them stuff, proselytize for a religion, or beg for a handout, kicking such a one out the door is routine and unproblematic in almost any country in the world.

    In the U.S., however, I've read of a court case which prevented a major city's subway system from expelling panhandlers from its subway stations.

    I find this insane. First Amendment rights protect people from persecution for engaging in political debate. They ensure that newspapers won't be shut down for criticizing the government.

    Actions, like making a nuisance of oneself, should not be considered protected speech. That has nothing to do with allowing the people to consider all possibilities when making decisions about political issues.

  44. LARPKitten
    Thumb Down

    Vote with your feet.

    This is one mall I would never buy from again, were I in that area.

    I wouldn't mind a ban on religious propaganda, or solicitation, but general speaking? That's obviously over the line. My wallet wouldn't open even a millimeter in the presence of anyone dumb enough to try and push those rules on me.

  45. Scott Wichall


    California, home to a lot of the worlds authoritarian, weapons grade cockwafts.

    Enough said really.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I never thought...

    I'd stand up for an evangelist, but hey,

    "I'd like to talk to you about Jesus"

    "No thanks: goodbye"

    But... It seems his audience was willing. Had they complained?

    It never fails to astonish how some Americans interpret this "land of the free" thing. Maybe China ought to give them democracy... or something.

  47. Neoc


    You may be interested to know that most "shopping centres" (at least here in Oz) and quite a few alcohol-dispensing establishments have a placard at the front listing the "rules" you agree to by entering the premises. One of them is that management reserves the right to refuse you entry or to have you leave the premises without providing justifications.

    I'm not sure if this has ever been tested in court, but the fat the signs are still up would tend to indicate that either no-one has yet contested this, or it has been contested and lost.

    1. Ole Juul

      Not give a reason?

      "One of them is that management reserves the right to refuse you entry or to have you leave the premises without providing justifications."

      I do think that justification is required in most countries. Otherwise one could refuse blacks (or whatever) and just not give a reason.

      1. EvilGav 1

        You don't have to . . .

        . . . give a reason, but most will make up any reason they want.

        For example, my local (with the backing of all regular patrons), bans anyone wearing burberry (chav's), wearing Lyle & Scott (irritating chav's), having "popped" collars (twats).

        Those are the house rules - arbitrary, no basis for anything really, but they get enforced.

  48. skeptical i

    "Excuse me, do you have a minute to talk about ...

    * ... getting (political issue or candidate) onto this year's ballot? I'm collecting signatures." Malls have been given the authority to 86 petition signature gatherers.

    * ... how Product XYZ has improved my life? I have some samples and information here." Malls have been allowed to show peddlers the door.

    * ... a survey I'm doing for a class project? It's only three questions, won't take but a minute." Malls can evict research- gathering students.

    * ... ($deity)? I have good news about ($deity)'s plan for you, if you'd like to chat." Apparently these folks get a pass.

    In all instances, the solicitors are at the mall for the purpose of selling something and the passers-by could all give a "Sorry, not interested" and be done with it. In each instance there is the possibility of benefit being conveyed to the solicitee (maybe not as much in #3), and in no instance is there harm being done by the asking.

    So, why would the pastor have a stronger "free speech" case than my petition passer (who would most likely be booted regardless of how many people chose to discuss the issue/ candidate and sign the petition)?

  49. Ascylto
    Big Brother

    How to stay out of gaol ...

    " "

    The End.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Because you're worth it.

    Snatchko then, unsurprisingly, sued the mall and the security firm, and as the Bee puts it, is seeking "damages in an unspecified amount for false imprisonment, assault, battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malicious prosecution, and a general violation of his rights under California's Civil Rights Act"

    And this is exactly how many steps away from the kinds of adverts that ask "Have YOU had an accident at work"?

    Why is it that - even though the bloke was clearly wronged and the mall would have done naff-all about the problem if they weren't sued - this whole thing just strikes me as rather petulant?

  51. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    The "weirdos" cause problems for everyone

    "It seems that US law has decided that certain types of "private" property are not private in respect of Free Speech rights, as they are to a certain extent public areas."

    This is actually just California. Federally, well, I know locally I have not seen ANY mall allow people to set up tables.

    Anyway... frankly, you Brits that are saying "tolerate religious types", please recall the US is the home of the religious nutter. Of course there's plenty of normal religious types here that would be polite, set up a table and wait for people to talk to them. But if permitted, some will use bullhorns, they'll tell people they are going to hell (not even trying to convert people, just telling them they're screwed), they will go right up to people and not go away even if told to, they will follow people right to their cars. And probably try to slap bumper stickers on them while they are driving away. I have seen people that are like "OK, thanks, I've got to go" (too polite to say "STFU"), and speed up walking a little, they are followed -- speed up more, followed -- basically they'll be jogging and the religious type is still following them talking! The problem this causes for ALL people trying to push a religion is, before long, the "weirdos" will hear somehow that the polite religious types have not been bothered in some location and will start showing up -- therefore, to avoid the weirdos malls etc. end up with a blanket ban.

    Anyway.. it does sound like this mall was a bit heavy-handed, if the article is all there was to it. I do question this though -- was he and these ladies having a chat, or where they trying to walk away and he following after them? The main issue, the mall official should REALLY have STFU before saying anybody that wants to talk in the mall must fill out a form!

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