Tuesday, May 4, 2010

UK Christian Minister arrested for anti-gay speech in mall

The Edge:  Boston  -  UK Street Preacher arrested for anti-gay preaching 

Dale Mcalpine claims he was only conversing about Biblical Norms 

 Under a law meant to prosecute violent soccer fans for hooliganism,  a United Kingdom Christian street preacher has been arrested for his anti-gay remarks to passers-by.  Law enforcement reported that  Dale Mcalpine was making ant-gay statements in a loud voice to passing shoppers in a shopping center.
Mcalpine stated he was  handing out leaflets and engaging onlookers in conversation.

Fear that Christians are being persecuted for voicing Biblical truths 
The British paper "The UK Daily Mail"  reported on May 1 that Mcalpine has set up a stepladder near stores for the purposes of preaching, and had engaged a woman in a conversation regarding Biblical definitions of sin.
 Homosexual behavior, he said,  was merely included within that conversation about Biblical norms.

Mcalpine said it was not long before he notice two law enforcement officers watching him.
The policeman was Sam Adams, a GLBT community liaison officer who is gay himself, reported the Mail. Adams told Mcalpine that people had complained about the street preacher, and warned him against hate speech. "I told him I was not homophobic but sometimes I did say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator, but it was not against the law to say this," recounted Mcalpine, going on to say that Adams "then told me he was gay and he was the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender liaison officer for the police. I said, ’It is still a sin,’ and our conversation ended," said Mcalpine. "It wasn’t a loud or aggressive conversation."

Public Order Act of 1986 "does not apply"  
Adams left the scene but was apprehended shortly by several additional officers and placed under arrest under the 1986 Public Order Act.  He was held for 7 hours.

The law was originally designed so that soccer fans could not cause public mayhem.

Mcalpine says he does not believe the law pertains to his actions, and that the incident left him "shocked and humiliated".  He asserted that he was only preaching the Gospel, which a free society would allow.  He stated that there was no hate or slurring of homosexuals in his speech.

The incident is being broadly condemned by Christians.

The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said that Mcalpine is "an ordinary, everyday Christian with traditional views about sexual ethics. Some people will agree with him, others will disagree. But it’s not for the police to arrest someone just because others may disagree with what is said." The Christian Institute is supporting Mcalpine’s legal needs, the article said.

Rob Logan, assistant manager at the cell phone store outside of which Mcalpine was preaching, told the press that Mcalpine has long handed out leaflets in front of the store.   "He is not aggressive or threatening. He is gentle."

In recent years other UK residents have been detained, questioned,  and/or arrested for voicing Christian beliefs or handing out flyers at Gay Pride events.  A 67 year old woman wrote a letter expressing her displeasure with local gay Pride events, and had law enforcement officials visit her home, where she was questioned at length.

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