In a surprising ruling, an Ohio judge sentenced a Catholic man to attend services at a Baptist church for 12 weeks after the man assaulted a Baptist preacher.
According to ChristianToday.com, Judge William Mallory found 23-year-old Jake Strotman guilty of a misdemeanor after Strotman was part of a street scuffle with Baptist preacher Joshua Johnson.
The fight reportedly broke out after a hockey match between the Cincinnati Cyclones and the Fort Wayne Komets outside U.S. Bank Arena. Strotman later admitted that he had been drinking at the time.
Strotman approached Johnson and the other preachers and accused them of judging him. He said he “gave them my two-cents worth.”
"They were telling me I was going to hell,'' said Strotman on Thursday. "I was asking them: 'Why do you think you can condemn people?' I didn't understand why they thought they could judge me."
An unidentified man then started a fight with the street preachers. Strotman soon found himself at the bottom of the pile of men, engaged in the fight. In his effort to fight his way out, Strotman ended up striking Johnson on the face, causing Johnson’s eyeglasses to cut him.
Strotman was then charged with a low-level assault.
Although Strotman could have gone to jail for 90 days, Judge Mallory instead decided to have him attend Morning Star Baptist Church for 12 Sundays. Strotman has to stay till the end of every service and get his church bulletin signed by a pastor each week.
Judge Mallory also said to Johnson and the other street preachers: “I'm trying to get to something reasonable here. And I'll be honest with you guys, sometimes in certain places people don't want to be preached to. You agree with that right?"
After Johnson and the other men agreed, Mallory continued, "I admire the fact that you want to spread the word of God because I'm a religious man, too. Also the thing about religion, I think it is kind of personal and for me I don't try to impose my religious views on other people except for sometimes in this room."
Strotman himself suggested serving a church as his penance: "Your honour, if I may, I would be more than happy to serve a church of your choosing,” he said.
Strotman said he will gladly serve this sentence: “I think it’s a nice example of hearing people out instead of getting angry and jumping to conclusions,” he said.
Photo courtesy: Thinkstockphotos.com
Publication date: June 2, 2016