Rod Dreher

In Britain, a street preacher was arrested recently for saying in public that homosexuality is a sin. Excerpt:

Dale Mcalpine was handing out leaflets to shoppers when he told a passer-by and a gay police community support officer that, as a Christian, he believed homosexuality was one of a number of sins that go against the word of God.
Mr Mcalpine said that he did not repeat his remarks on homosexuality when he preached from the top of a stepladder after his leafleting.
But he has been told that police officers are alleging they heard him making his remarks to a member of the public in a loud voice that could be overheard by others.
He was arrested in charged with “using abusive or insulting words or behaviour contrary to the Public Order Act 1986.”


Christian campaigners said last night they were alarmed that the police seemed to be using legislation originally introduced to deal with violent and abusive rioters and football hooligans to curb free speech.
Neil Addison, a barrister and expert on religious law, said: ‘People should be able to express their opinions freely as long as their conduct is reasonable. In fact, it is part of the duty of the police to protect free speech.’

Thank God for the First Amendment, say I. But in European countries that lack free speech and freedom of religion guarantees in their constitutions, life is going to get worse for traditional religious believers. I wonder, though: this high-profile Islamic radical in the UK, far from merely expressing moral disapproval of homosexuality, actually called for gays to be murdered — has he ever been charged with an offense against public order? Anybody know? Would British authorities have the guts to do that? Calling for violence against gay people (or anybody) is quite different from expressing moral disapproval.
Al Mohler:

We have seen this coming for some time now. The public space has been closing, especially when it comes to Christian speech — and especially when that speech is about homosexuality. …This arrest is more than a news event — it is a signal of things to come and an announcement of a new public reality. Even if all charges are dropped against this preacher, the signal is sent and the message is clear. The act of Christian preaching is now a potential criminal offense.

Andrew Sullivan:

It seems to me that those of us who believe in the unfettered rights of our opponents to speak their minds – especially within the context of sincere religious faith – should be decrying what just happened in Britain.

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