Preacher arrested for saying homosexuality is a sin

A Christian street preacher was arrested and locked in a cell for telling a passer-by that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God.
telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/7668448/Christian-preacher-arrested-for-saying-homosexuality-is-a-sin.html
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A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a)      uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)     displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

From reading the story, the preacher seemed like he was not doing anything with the “intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress.”

“X Y and Z are sins” is not a threat in itself. Abusive speech could arguable depend on the tone of voice, but no one in this incident accused the preacher of having a bad attitude.

“Insulting” is where we get into trouble. Insult is in the eye, or head, of the insulted. When passing a law like this, to they anticipate constantly making jugdments on if a person was reasonably insulted? Or is “It was insulting to me” good enough to convict on?

And, it is up to the prosecution to prove that the defendant had intended to cause any of the elements of the offence. In which case, if one were to go by the report, he had not. The arresting police officers acted in bad faith and in so doing, only proved poor judgment on their part. Unpalatable as it may be to the gay police present at that time, there is legal protection for those who express their beliefs on sexual conduct.

I believe that he was paraphrasing Leviticus which is actually your testament as a Jew is it not?Where is your outrage?

Indeed, it is up to the prosecution to make a case and for the court to decide. It is often best, in stories like this, to save one’s ‘concern’ until such time as the ‘jury is in’ rather than to get excited by a particular newspaper report.

But did he intend causing harassment, alarm or distress? We all at one time or another tell someone they are wrong, including to our family members. Does this mean that we intend being so much as insulting? I don't see how saying someone is wrong by that very fact can be called harassment.

[quote="Kaninchen, post:2, topic:197046"]
A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he—

(a)      uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

(b)     displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,

[/quote]

It’s depends on whether it’s in circumstances of ‘behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace’. As to whether that was the case here is something we’ll only really know about when it comes to court.

Thank God we live in the good ol’ USA-if somebody tried arresting a preacher in the same case here, the cop would get his badge taken away! (First Amendment FTW)

That’s also why in the infamous Matt Shepard bill, they had to put in a disclaimer saying that this bill couldn’t be used to prosecute anyone expressing their First Amendment rights!

Sounds like Fred Phelps and his group could not safely do street preaching in the UK.

In the U.S., he is free to use hateful speech, even at soldier’s funerals. His group demonstrated in front of a church at which I was attending Mass one Sunday.

But I wouldn’t trade free speech for the ability to shut up Fred Phelps, in any case.
Giving up free speech is the more dangerous course.

[quote="JimG, post:10, topic:197046"]
Sounds like Fred Phelps and his group could not safely do street preaching in the UK.

In the U.S., he is free to use hateful speech, even at soldier's funerals. His group demonstrated in front of a church at which I was attending Mass one Sunday.

But I wouldn't trade free speech for the ability to shut up Fred Phelps, in any case.
Giving up free speech is the more dangerous course.

[/quote]

It is a path that many, if not most Brits seem to be just okay with.

The roots of freedom don't extend all that deep in Europe actually. As Britain becomes more European in outlook, America may well stand alone in their reverence for freedom.

For the left it is all about feelings. If speech is going to hurt someone's feelings then it is an axiom of the left that it ought to be banned. More and more people are becoming very receptive to that idea, as the left gains ascendancy in most of Europe, and the West in general.

[quote="JimG, post:10, topic:197046"]
Sounds like Fred Phelps and his group could not safely do street preaching in the UK.

In the U.S., he is free to use hateful speech, even at soldier's funerals. His group demonstrated in front of a church at which I was attending Mass one Sunday.

But I wouldn't trade free speech for the ability to shut up Fred Phelps, in any case.
Giving up free speech is the more dangerous course.

[/quote]

Well, the thing is that the UK's been around for a very long time as a relatively free society mostly managing it without the advice of experts from outside with their new-fangled Enlightenment ideas ;)

Countries balance their freedoms differently, there isn't just one recipe.

Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

[quote="Adeodatus, post:13, topic:197046"]
Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

[/quote]

The insight possibly drawn from such a comment rather presumes that the person making it isn't so far steeped in Newspeak that they are not themselves living in a semantically constructed paradigm.

In other words, calling others deluded may be true, it may be false or it may just be a deluded comment which may itself be true or false but remains deluded whichever is the case.

On the other hand it might just be trite.

[quote="Kaninchen, post:14, topic:197046"]
The insight possibly drawn from such a comment rather presumes that the person making it isn't so far steeped in Newspeak that they are not themselves living in a semantically constructed paradigm.

[/quote]

Hope springs eternal, as a Pope once said.

Well, let’s hope your getting past ‘Four legs good, two legs bad’, doesn’t take an eternity, anyway.

(((Thank you my dear for producing the law in question :)! Well done.)))

Better not warn someone that eating McDonald’s might lead to a sudden heart attack thereby causing death; after all, you are intending to alarm them :slight_smile:

This law screams of poor education (e.g., this law could be demolished by my local High School debating club- how the hell did it pass in a parliament?) or a desire to keep lawyers busy.

A “Beware of Dog” or “Tresspassers will be prosecuted” sign could easily be argued to be in violation of this law, seeing as it is the very intent of such signs to alarm and threaten.

Furthermore,
A Christian Cross (for example) can produce any number of emotional reactions in people that could be argued as being threatening, alarming and insulting, depending on the individual. A Crucifix would be even more so (many Christian sects do not even like it).

They should have limited it to verbal abuse and harrassment.

quote="Timothy17, post:17, topic:197046")

Better not warn someone that eating McDonald's might lead to a sudden heart attack thereby causing death; after all, you are intending to alarm them :)

This law screams of poor education (e.g., this law could be demolished by my local High School debating club- how the hell did it pass in a parliament?) or a desire to keep lawyers busy.

A "Beware of Dog" or "Tresspassers will be prosecuted" sign could easily be argued to be in violation of this law, seeing as it is the very intent of such signs to alarm and threaten.

Furthermore,
A Christian Cross (for example) can produce any number of emotional reactions in people that could be argued as being threatening, alarming and insulting, depending on the individual. A Crucifix would be even more so (many Christian sects do not even like it).

They should have limited it to verbal abuse and harrassment.

[/quote]

There was a reason why I pointed out that the context is 'breach of the peace'.

This is really a matter for the courts to sort out and would suggest that comment on the basis of a newspaper report is really just sounding-off without the benefit of the fuller knowledge that a report of the court proceedings will bring.

[quote="DeaconsSon87, post:9, topic:197046"]
Thank God we live in the good ol' USA-if somebody tried arresting a preacher in the same case here, the cop would get his badge taken away! (First Amendment FTW)

[/quote]

The First Amendment is not a license to slander and harrass. This story reminds me of a campus preacher at OSU. Some of the things he said, for example, claiming that you'd become a demon if you ate at the Chinese restaraunt across the street, were rather amusing but for years he and his wife would verbally assault students, scream that they're going to hell, call female passersby "whores" and generally harrass the student population. I don't know exactly what the street preacher in the article said but, if it is anything like what the former OSU preacher was screeching about, I can see a legitimate case being made for arrest.

If they were on private property, or causing disruption, I suppose it might be prosecuted as disturbing the peace. But I would be hesitant to press charges on the basis of mere speech, no matter how hateful.

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