Police in the United Kingdom who created a public awareness campaign that called Christians “bigots” say it is being discontinued.
In October, the Barnabas Fund Christian ministry complained to the government about the posters that described Christians and other religious believers as “bigots” and condemned them.
One pastor called the campaign’s own anti-“hate” line to report the posters.
The posters by the government-run One Scotland campaign are addressed “Dear Bigots.”
One message states: “Division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why if we see or hear your hate, we’re reporting you. End of sermon.”
Barnabas this week revealed Scottish Parliament member Gordon Lindhurst of Lothian received a letter from Aileen Campbell, Scottish cabinet secretary for Communities and Local Government, “stating that the government would not be reusing controversial posters which contained messages implying that Christian belief amounted to ‘hate.'”
Barnabas leaders met a few months ago with members of the Scottish Parliament about the attack on Christianity.
The objective of the posters was to tackle “hate crime.”
They were displayed in all Scottish cities in October 2018 and carried the logos of Police Scotland as well as the Scottish government.
Another message was: “Dear Bigots, You can’t spread your religious hate here. End of Sermon. Yours, Scotland.”
Barnabas Fund, an aid agency for the persecuted church around the globe, submitted a formal complaint to Police Scotland.
WND reported last December that a senior officer at Police Scotland responded to Barnabas Fund’s complaint and said the police are innocent.
“A senior officer at Police Scotland has belatedly responded to a formal complaint made by Barnabas Fund about a ‘hate crime’ poster campaign run by Police Scotland and the Scottish government,” Barnabas said.
He concluded the posters that target Christians are not “based on malice or ill will towards any social group.”
Barnabas Fund had warned that the “Dear Bigots” poster risked stirring up anti-religious prejudice and had upset many Christians.
“The letter replying to Barnabas Fund’s complaint arrived after 61 days instead of the normal 56 day maximum time period for responding. It included Police Scotland’s definition of hate crimes or incidents as being considered as such when ‘perceived by the victim’ to be motivated by ‘malice and ill-will’ towards a particular ‘social group.’ But the responding officer, who investigated his own department’s actions and motivation in commissioning the posters, said in his letter that the posters were not intended to be prejudicial to any group, adding that no further action would be taken,” Barnabas Fund said.
The Daily Mail of London reported Rev. David Robertson of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee said: “It is an absolute contradiction – a poster that is supposed to be against hatred that then encourages hatred. I showed my congregation the poster and they couldn’t believe it. It’s basically a poster that says if you are religious then you are a bigot.”
The campaign classifies people as bigots, racists, homophobes and transphobes, and threatens them with prosecutions and convictions.
Barnabas’ CEO Hendrik Storm issued a statement saying he was “shocked” by the message on the posters.
The organization has supported Christians who face prejudice and discrimination globally since 1993 but has never before deemed it necessary to make a formal complaint in the United Kingdom.
“This form of state-sponsored prejudice is something that Barnabas is more used to encountering in countries where Christians are marginalized and persecuted minorities,” the group said.