Police tell pastor facing LGBT arson threat not to be offensive

By WND Staff

A British Baptist pastor who reported to police that an LGBT mob was threatening to burn down his church was told by officers he should quit being offensive to others.

Josh Williamson, 34, pastor of Newquay Baptist Church in Cornwall was warned by police to keep his views in a “safe environment” after being targeted by a wave of anti-Christian abuse, including threats of violence, said the U.K. charity Christian Concern.

Williamson’s offense was responding on Facebook to the cancellation of a Cornwall Pride event with “Wonderful News!”

Grilled by others on Facebook about his reasoning, he explained it was “because I don’t think sin should be celebrated,” and he quoted the Bible.

The organizers of Cornwall Pride searched his personal page, took screenshots and posted them along with negative comments made by others users about gay pride.

“By blocking out the names on each comment and mentioning Newquay Baptist Church, it appeared that they had all been made by Josh,” Christian Concern said.

There were threats against the pastor’s wife and an image showing his head “superimposed onto an image of homosexual porn.”

Cornwall Pride started a campaign to have him reported for “hate speech and hate crime.” After he attended a meeting with members of Cornwall Pride at their invitation, he was targeted again for a leaflet he shared with them, with their permission.

One Facebook user declared, “LET’S BURN A CHURCH!”

Another user threatened to perform a mass sexual orgy at the church, calling on Cornwell Pride members to assault anyone who handed them the leaflet, Christian Concern said.

When the pastor contacted police, who sponsor the pride event, he was told the situation was “complex.” They said they didn’t think the threat would materialize.

And they told him to make sure he “did not offend” anyone because that might be considered a violation of the law.

Williamson, in a statement to Christian Concern, said: “My family and I, and our church community, have been very concerned by the level of anti-Christian abuse and threats of violence that we have been targeted with over the past few weeks. The police have not formally spoken to me about any hate crime or sought a witness statement to look at the various online comments which have included threats to burn down our church.

“As Christians we seek to speak the truth in love and would readily welcome all people to our services. The Bible, however, proclaims a message of repentance which calls on all people to turn from their sin and to trust in Christ. It would be unloving for us to remain silent about what God’s Word says in relation to human sin, including all forms of sexual sin. We therefore, must proclaim the truth that homosexuality is a sin, but that God loves sinners and Jesus can forgive all our sins.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Williamson, said: “It’s becoming worryingly common in the U.K. to see threats and calls for violence against Christians for voicing their simple opposition to LGBT Pride. Police forces should show Christians they take this seriously by protecting their free speech against mob threats rather than by seeking to keep Christians quiet.”

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