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Local police condemn church protesters

Posted: 7:12 PM, Dec 11, 2015
Updated: 2015-12-11 22:12:28-05
UPDATE: On Friday, local police and the Las Vegas Diocese announced church protesters will not be taken lightly.
 
"Our concern is for the safety of parishioners and the staff at each of the churches," said Diocese security director Steve Meriwether.
 
Police say these protestors crossed many legal boundaries.
 
"These people are obviously disrespecting these houses of worship," said sergeant Michael Brambilla.
 
The affected churches are on private property and the state of Nevada has laws that protect churches from this type of behavior.
 
"Persons are not allowed to go to houses of worship, regardless it be Catholic or otherwise and disturb, speak out loud, cause noise, and disturb the worship process," said Brambilla.
 
One St. Viator parishioner says he's already forgiven the offenders.
 
“I’m not angry with them,” said Dennis Masoner. “I find it hard to understand them.”
 
In each instance, the protestors left the church after being asked by worship leaders and were nowhere to be found when police arrived on scene so no one was arrested on the spot.  
 
The effort to identify and apprehend the men in these videos continues.
 
Police say no more than four people are seen at fault in these videos. The potential charges included trespassing and disturbing the peace.
 
ORIGINAL STORY:
 
First on Action News, we're talking to the men in the YouTube videos showing protesters storming several Catholic churches in Las Vegas , telling parishioners to repent now or else.
 
It's a story we first reported after several churchgoers reached out to Action News saying the feared for their lives.
 
The group of self-proclaimed ministers says they prefer not to be referred to as a group at all, just "brothers in Christ." They also said the YouTube page Koosha Las Vegas, which features their videos, belongs to only one member of the group, and does not speak for the whole body.
 
But Ron Cardiel, the street minister interviewing on behalf of the group, says while they didn't intend to make anyone fear for their lives, anyone living without "the true Jesus" should be afraid.
 
The videos in question show a group of men entering Catholic churches during Mass, telling parishioners they need to repent and turn to Jesus or their religion will not save them.
 
Several churchgoers called police after they said they feared for their lives in light of recent terror attacks, and the Catholic Diocese of Las Vegas confirmed multiple disturbances at several of their properties. Police confirmed at least 3 disturbances including events at Our Lady of Las Vegas Catholic Church, St. Viator, and Bishop Gorman.
 
During the video, the man behind the camera can be heard loudly saying, "Repent and turn to Jesus Christ! Pope is a Satan! Pope is a Satan! Mary statue is a Satan!" as the men interrupt church services and distribute pamphlets.
 
Cardiel says, "If they're going to be afraid, I'd be afraid of dying without Jesus Christ, and dying in their sins."
 
He says the group never intended to scare anyone and always leaves when asked, adding that they typically enters the churches before Mass begins so as not to interrupt services. He also says the material, however disturbing to some listeners, is something he feels compelled to share.
 
"They are in jeopardy, OK, they need to be right with God, come to the Biblical Christ. So the language used there is correct. The pope is a Satan, I don't know if he (the man in the video) has an accent, a language barrier, but the Pope is an false prophet," Cardiel says.
 
In response to people feeling threatened by the display in light of recent terror attacks, Cardiel said, "That's understandable considering what's been going on, but the difference between us and them is we worship the one true God and God is a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and of great kindness."
 
Cardiel did not clearly state whether he and his fellow ministers would continue entering churches despite the reaction from many people within the Catholic community.