British street preacher Dale McAlpine apparently has no problem telling people that homosexuality is a “crime against the Creator.” But he got in trouble when he said that to someone who is not only a homosexual, but is the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for the local police.First up, what the hell is a police precinct doing with a "LGBT liaison officer".
On April 20, McAlpine, a Baptist, was passing out leaflets explaining the Ten Commandments or offering a “ticket to heaven” to passersby on a street in Workington, Cumbria where he had been preaching for years, according to the Telegraph of London. When a woman stopped to debate with him, McAlpine said he mentioned a number of sins listed in I Corinthians, including blasphemy, fornication, drunkenness, adultery and homosexuality. When the woman walked away, a Police Community Support Officer approached her and spoke briefly with her, McAlpine said. The officer then came over to McAlpine and told him a complaint had been made and warned him he could be arrested for using racist or homophobic language.
The street preacher said he told the officer: “I am not homophobic but sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator.” The officer then said he was homosexual and identified himself as LGBT liaison officer for the Cumbria police. Undeterred, McAlpine replied, “Well, it’s still a sin.” He then began a 20-minute sermon in which he says he did not mention homosexuality. But three uniformed officers arrived, arrested the preacher and put him in the back of a police van. He was taken to the police station, where officers took his fingerprints, a palm print, a retina scan and a DNA swab. He was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” in violation of the Public Order Act and, after seven hours in a jail cell, was released on bail on the condition that he would not preach in public. McAlpine, 42, said the incident was one of the worst experiences of his life.
“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," he 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.” Police allege that McAlpine made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard and that he used abusive or insulting language, forbidden by the Public Order Act. Christian groups have expressed alarm over this and similar incidents, claiming the 1986 law was designed to stop rioters and hooligans and is now being used to curb religious speech.
“The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens,” said Sam Webster, solicitor-advocate of the Christian Institute, which is supporting McAlpine. It is not a crime to express the belief that homosexuality is a sin, Webster told the Telegraph. “Case law has ruled that the orthodox Christian belief that homosexual conduct is sinful is a belief worthy of respect in a democratic society."
One man was convicted under the Public Order Act in 2002 for holding up a sign saying, “Stop immorality. Stop Homosexuality. Stop Lesbianism. Jesus Is Lord,” while preaching in Bournemouth. Another was arrested in 2006 for handing out religious leaflets at a Gay Pride festival in Cardiff, but the case was later dropped.
“It would appear that Christianity, the normative faith of this country on which its morality, values and civilisation are based, is effectively being turned into a crime,” Melanie Phillips of The Daily Mail wrote in a May 3 column titled, “The British boot stamping on the face of Christian belief.”
“Surreally, this intolerant denial of freedom is being perpetrated under the rubric of promoting tolerance and equality — but only towards approved groups,” Phillips wrote. “Never has George Orwell’s famous satirical observation, that some people are more equal than others, appeared more true.”
Is there anything so ridiculous?
If a bunch of Muslims were walking around shouting "Death to Jews" and "Hang all gays" then would our intolerant of Christianity, gay liaison officer do anything? Anything at all?
That's called a rhetorical question, folks.
How does the UK recover from its cultural malaise?