One of the police officers arrested a street preacher
Telling a street preacher that it is against the law to affirm the Bible's teaching on homosexuality is costing a team of British police officers some $11,000 – plus legal fees.
That was the resolution announced by The Christian Institute in a case that it fought on behalf of a street preacher, Dale Mcalpine, who was arrested and detained for nearly eight hours on the basis of the officers' decision that the Bible's teachings violated the law.
Mike Judge, spokesman for the institute, which fights on behalf of Christian and human rights in the United Kingdom, said perhaps the officers should remember the situation developed in Cumbria, not North Korea.
"Mr. Mcalpine was arrested and held in a cell for expressing his Christian views," Judge said of the case, which was resolved just days ago. "Sadly, it's not an isolated case. We have defended a number of Christians wrongfully arrested under Section 5 of the Public Order Act. There is a problem with the law and it needs to be fixed."
The institute report said it was the second such case just this month. On Dec. 8, a court in Birmingham County concluded police in West Midlands broke the law when they arrested, handcuffed and detained street preacher Anthony Rollins.
The court awarded Rollins 4,250 British pounds and ordered police to pay his legal costs. In the case of Mcalpine, police were told to pay him 7,000 pounds, or about $11,000, plus his legal fees.
The U.K.'s Public Order Act includes language that is similar to Barack Obama's "hate crimes" law in the U.S. that he signed more than a year ago in that they ban some statements regarding homosexuality.
That bill became law over the objections of a multitude of Christian organizations who say it grants special protections to those who choose a homosexual lifestyle, creating a form of "thought police" in the United States.
In Mcalpine's case, the U.K. police backtracked over issues of wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment and breach of human rights when Mcalpine, 42, of Workington, took them to task for his April arrest.
He was preaching from the Bible in Workington town center and his sermon contained no mention of homosexuality. But when he finished, Sam Adams, who identified himself as an "LBGT Liaison Officer," approached him, the institute reported.
"Even though Mr. Mcalpine had never mentioned homosexuality, [Officer] Adams warned him that he could be arrested if he made homophobic remarks. Mr. Mcalpine replied that he was not homophobic, but he sometimes preaches that homosexual conduct is a sin because that is what the Bible says," the report said.
"Uniformed police officers were called to the scene and wrongly informed Mr. Mcalpine that 'it is against the law' to describe homosexual conduct as a sin," the report said.
In fact the exchange went like this:
Mcalpine said he wanted to abide by the law and the police responded: "What've you been saying, homophobic wise?"
"I spoke to your officer earlier and he was upset that I was saying homosexuality was a sin – which is what the Bible says. I affirm that's what I say because that's in the Bible. And there's no law, there's no law," he said.
The police responded: "Well there is. ... There is. Unfortunately mate, it's a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act. ... It is against the law. listen, mate, we're pretty sure. You're under arrest for a racially aggravated Section 5 Public Order offense."
The institute said Officer Craig Hynes arrested Mcalpine, took him to the police detention facility and held him for nearly eight hours.
He was accused of using "threatening, abusive or insulting" words "to cause harassment, alarm or distress," although the charges were later dropped.
The institute reported that the arrest was so egregious that even a "homosexual campaigner," Peter Tatchell volunteered to appear as a defense witness.
Mcalpine told the institute he was pleased with the settlement and held no hard feelings toward police.
"I will pray for them because they have a difficult and sometimes dangerous job," he said.
Such situations have been developing more and more around the world. In one U.S. situation, a street preacher's toe apparently brushed the grass of private property and he was arrested, and in Oslo, authorities have tried to shut down those who would share their Christian believes in public.
At the time the case developed, Liberty Counsel Cultural Affairs Analyst Matt Barber raised the warning that such cases will be seen more and more in America, too.
"We know that what's happening in Europe and what's happening in Canada offers us a window into the future of what will happen here in the United States," he said. "The hate crimes laws and employment sexual orientation laws such as ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act here in the United States, have been the precursor to the more oppressive hate speech laws," Barber explained.
"Make no mistake, those laws we have now for hate crimes and the more present danger with ENDA, these laws are the precursor in the U. S. for the same kind of criminalization of Christianity that's happening in the U. K.," Barber said.
Judge said as in the U.S., British law supposedly protects the freedom of religious expression.
"The law does protect free speech in the U.K. and it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is wrong. However, there have been a number of troubling cases where the police have overstepped the law," Judge said.
New Zealand-born evangelist Ray Comfort, who runs the Living Waters ministry in California, said it's tragic that a free country like Britain has taken such a dangerous turn.
"I find it hard to believe that modern England – with its rich Christian heritage (John Wesley, Whitefield, Spurgeon, etc.) would go to the extreme of arresting a man for his beliefs," Comfort said.
"I think that this is a case of two police officers being offended at the gospel, and that was the motive for the arrest," Comfort said.
Barber added that the goal of the radical homosexual lobby is to silence Christians.
"Their goal is to silence any dissent and to silence under any penalty of law the biblical recognition and expression of a traditional Judeo-Christian world view relative to sexual behavior and sexual morality," Barber said.