Both Fred and Dale have the story, including the video of what happened, so I won’t put it here. A street preacher was arrested in London and held for seven hours. Again, the accusation was “homophobic speech.” You can watch and see for yourself what he said (if your views on music are similar to mine, you won’t miss anything if you skip the first minute of the video).
I think Tony Miano was unwise in a couple of ways. I wouldn’t use I Thessalonians 4, an exhortation to Christians, to preach the Gospel to unbelieving pagans (using “pagan” in the broader sense). And by citing the legal change removing the word “insulting,” he could have given the impression that he wanted to be insulting.
But while I think those things were unwise, it doesn’t change the following:
- Nothing Tony said was illegal.
- If his account elsewhere is accurate (I have no reason to doubt it), the threat to charge him because he would not recant entirely legal statements is an abuse of power.
- It is entirely legitimate (doctrinally, ethically, and legally) to single out homosexual sin and make religious statements condemning it, but he didn’t even do that. He spoke about all extra-marital immorality of all kinds.
- Those who swore at him were probably legally in breach of peace, using threatening words directly towards him personally.
- It is very troubling the police should even suggest that certain parts of the Bible should be off-limits (30:30 and following in the video).
- It speaks to the mess the law is in that the police would say they have to “try to find a balance” on whether statements from Scripture are illegal, especially when someone is saying exactly what Christians have believed for 2000 years. Parliament has made such a hash of things that police become arbiters of what is an acceptable version of Christianity, and the historical version is not immediately recognised as legitimate. I guess we’ll have to start having the police take divinity training.
So, Fred asks if there is a conspiracy in the UK to shut down street preaching. Good question. You wouldn’t think so, but when the accusation is consistently about “homophobic speech” which is not defined in law in Scotland (or as far as I know, in England), and the police act on that accusation, it begins to make one wonder.
Meanwhile, we still wait for anything from the Scottish Justice Secretary regarding the events in Edinburgh. It shouldn’t be hard to answer. Did the police act appropriately or not? Is “homophobic speech” a crime in Scotland, and if so, where is it defined? If not, why are the police interfering with lawful actions based on an allegation of “homophobic speech”?
Update: Transcript of Interrogation
Update Again: The Telegraph is now covering this on their website, with a small video segment.