Main | Monday, May 03, 2010

BRITAIN: Preacher Arrested For Calling Homosexuality A Sin

A British preacher has been arrested and charged with causing "harassment, alarm, or distress" after he was overheard reciting a list of sins that included homosexuality. Dale McAlpine was taken into custody after a gay police liaison officer overheard him and summoned regular cops.
The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Wokington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God. Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act. Mr McAlpine, who was taken to the police station in the back of a marked van and locked in a cell for seven hours on April 20, said the incident was among 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 said. “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.” Christian campaigners have expressed alarm that the Public Order Act, introduced in 1986 to tackle violent rioters and football hooligans, is being used to curb religious free speech. Sam Webster, a solicitor-advocate for the Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr McAlpine, said it is not a crime to express the belief that homosexual conduct is a sin. “The police have a duty to maintain public order but they also have a duty to defend the lawful free speech of citizens,” he said.
Like similar cases, McAlpine's arrest is already being splashed across anti-gay and right wing sites as yet another example of the coming crushing of American religious expression at the hands of censorious homofascists.

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