Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Preacher arrested in UK for calling homosexual conduct sinful

London, England, May 4, 2010 (CNA/EWTN News) In a case which has disturbed religious freedom advocates, a preacher in the English town of Workington was reportedly arrested for describing homosexual conduct as a sin after a public sermon. A Baptist from Workington, the 42-year-old Dale McAlpine was preaching in the town on April 20. He said he never spoke about homosexuality during his public sermon, which was delivered from the top of a stepladder, the Telegraph reports.

McAlpine said that he later quietly listed homosexual practice among a number of sins referred to in 1 Corinthians during a debate with a woman passerby.

She was then approached by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO), who spoke with her briefly.

The officer approached McAlpine and identified himself as a homosexual who was a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer. He said a complaint had been made against the Baptist.

According to McAlpine, the PCSO warned him not to say homosexual conduct is sinful because it would be a crime. The preacher told the officer that it is not a crime to describe same-sex practice as a sin.

Police officers later arrived on the scene during another of McAlpine’s sermons. They arrested him and charged him with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” contrary to Section 5 of the Public Order Act. They claim he made the alleged offending remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others.

According to the Telegraph, the act was introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans. Its use against a preacher has caused concerns among Christians that it is being used to curb religious free speech.

At the police station, law officers took McAlpine’s finger prints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab. He was later interviewed and released on bail on the condition that he did not preach in public.

“I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know," the preacher told the Telegraph.

“My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn't apply.”

McAlpine is being defended by The Christian Institute. Its solicitor-advocate Sam Webster said in a statement that it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.

“A Christian who stands in a public place and expresses his religious beliefs in the hope of persuading passers-by of his views – that is freedom of speech,” Webster stated. “Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society,” Webster insisted.

Acknowledging the police’s duty to maintain public order, he said they also have a duty to defend “the lawful free speech of citizens.”

“It’s not for police to decide whether Mr. McAlpine’s views are right or wrong,” he added.

McAlpine pleaded not guilty at a preliminary hearing last Friday. He is now awaiting a trial date

3 comments:

  1. I'll bet the "officer" and the woman with whom he was debating are given 'carte blanche' for saying whatever they want in public.
    This brother in Christ is showing the rest of us who are too timid to speak the truth how it should be done.
    My prayers are for all of them.

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  2. Elizabeth ChewterMay 5, 2010 at 7:17 PM

    I wonder what would happen if he stood at Hyde Park Corner - aka Speaker's Corner - in the heart of London, and said the same thing. Would this be considered free speech then? Traditionally you can say what you want there; that's the point of it. Would it happen the same way if the cop was heterosexual??

    This is not the British spirit. Brits love their freedom - it's part of the reason we still have the pound, and resist being called European. It's part of the reason Brits left Britain to colonize America!! We have an adventurous, pioneering spirit, and a very generous accepting nature generally speaking. There are some puppet strings being pulled here. We don't have to look too far for the puppet master!

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