Biden’s Secret Service Threatens To Arrest Pastor for Praying on Sidewalk Outside Chinese Embassy Because “Chinese Officials” Claimed D.C. Sidewalk as Property of China


Jordan Sekulow

February 23, 2023

5 min read

Religious Liberty



There is never an acceptable time for a sitting President of the United States or their Administration to side with an adversarial foreign power over the constitutionally protected rights of U.S. citizens.

And yet recently, that is exactly what happened when Biden’s Secret Service told an American pastor that he was not allowed to pray and peacefully protest on a public Washington, D.C., sidewalk outside the Chinese Embassy because the sidewalk belongs to China . . . because China said so!

Yes, you read that correctly. The Secret Service, under the Biden Administration, told a peaceful pastor who’d come to pray and demand China stop spying on the U.S. that he was standing on China’s sidewalk. It’s outrageous, and we’re taking legal action.

As we recently reported, Rev. Patrick Mahoney was recently threatened with arrest for peacefully praying and demonstrating outside the Chinese Embassy, in the wake of the recent Chinese spy balloon debacle. According to Rev. Mahoney, the Secret Service told him that the sidewalk was not public but Chinese property. That’s not only an absurd claim, but it is also completely false.

But to make matters worse, the Secret Service was following the directive of Chinese officials. As our demand letter to the Secret Service explains: “The agent said that because the Secret Service had been told that by Chinese officials, and that because tensions are currently high between the United States and China, the Secret Service would not allow him to engage in his expressive conduct at that location.”

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and Chinese officials DO NOT OVERRULE THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES. Period. Ever. It’s clear the Biden Administration got nervous that the pastor’s peaceful demonstration might irritate the Communist Chinese government, and so they jettisoned the Constitution. But they can’t do that.

It seems President Biden and his team certainly wouldn’t want anyone to call attention to what China has been doing. After all, they let that particular spy balloon traverse most of the United States for a week before finally taking action and shooting it down much too late. Rev. Mahoney has already taken more decisive action to demand answers from China than President Biden has during his entire presidency.

The ACLJ immediately took action, sending an urgent legal demand letter to the Secret Service on behalf of Rev. Patrick Mahoney, explaining that the agents on site were incorrect in their assertions about the property, as well as when they threatened to arrest the reverend for peacefully occupying a public, AMERICAN sidewalk.

As our letter stated, Secret Service agents on the scene reportedly took the word of the Chinese Embassy without even questioning it:

When he arrived in the public area outside the embassy, Rev. Mahoney introduced himself to an agent of the U.S. Secret Service, as he typically does when he demonstrates outside such locales – including this specific locale. The agent asked what Rev. Mahoney planned to do at this location. Rev. Mahoney replied that he was going to pray and engage in a peaceful demonstration, making it clear that he would only do so on the public sidewalk.

The agent informed Rev. Mahoney that this would not be permitted. The agent said that Chinese embassy officials told U.S. Secret Service agents that the sidewalk was embassy property. The agent said that because the Secret Service had been told that by Chinese officials, and that because tensions are currently high between the United States and China, the Secret Service would not allow him to engage in his expressive conduct at that location.

Secret Service agents, kowtowing to the Chinese Embassy, threatened to lock up an American citizen on U.S. soil for exercising his constitutional rights. He wasn’t committing any crime. That ought to chill you to the bone. It’s beginning to beg the question: What kind of power does the Chinese Communist Party have over the Biden Administration, while we’re all busily scanning the skies for balloons and UFOs?

What’s even worse, when Rev. Mahoney demanded to speak with a superior, the captain actually agreed that he was allowed to be there, but still insisted that the pastor give up his constitutional rights anyway in a “compromise.” As our demand letter points out:

The captain asked what Rev. Mahoney intended to do and whether a compromise of some sort could be reached. Rev. Mahoney explained that because he was standing on public property, he would not compromise his First Amendment right to engage in a peaceful demonstration. After some more discussion, the captain finally agreed with Rev. Mahoney that he indeed had a right to be at that location in order to pray and demonstrate.

Our letter demands that the Secret Service provide written assurances that when Rev. Mahoney returns to protest again, he will not be bothered, or threatened, or in any other way barred from exercising his constitutional rights to pray and demonstrate. After all, it’s nice to see someone actually trying to stop China’s spying.

The Biden Administration needs to worry more about Americans than it does about hurting the CCP’s feelings. Elections have consequences. We’re now battling Biden’s dangerous America Last policies in courtrooms all across the country. And if we sit back and allow China to usurp the liberty of the American people and wipe its communist feet on our Constitution, the results will be devastating. It’s a shame that our President doesn’t seem to realize that.