I’m not a Christian, I used to be and I still hold to the values in inculated in me by the Sunday Schools and Scout troops along with confirmation classes. It taught me tolerance (though I know a good few intolerant Christians) and a lot of good social values such as treating others as I’d wish to be treated myself, a good human (and libertarian) value if ever there was one.
However the number of attacks on Christianity has increased in the UK over the last few years as various pressure groups who have values that Christianity disapproves of have gone on the offensive to make Christians lives just that bit more uncomfortable than necessary.
Police in Lancashire have told the owner of a Christian café to stop displaying Bible texts on a video screen, because it breaches public order laws.
Officers attended the Salt & Light Coffee House on Layton Road, Blackpool, on Monday 19 September, following a complaint about “insulting” and “homophobic” material.
The café’s owner, Mr Jamie Murray, says the officers did not specify which Bible texts had caused the offence.
That’s right, plod have decided that it’s illegal for Christians in a Christian café to display Bible verses. I can only imagine that it’s one of the militant gay factions or idiot socialist types trying to be clever and I have grave doubts as to whether they’d even dare try this in a Muslim run café. After consulting his solicitor the owner has put the display back, but he should not have even been warned in the first place.
The problem is as usual interpretation of badly written law in Section 5 of the Public order Act 1986…
- “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he:
- (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or
- (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,
- within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”
This offence has the following statutory defences:
- (a) The defendant had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be alarmed or distressed by his action.
- (b) The defendant was in a dwelling and had no reason to believe that his behaviour would be seen or heard by any person outside any dwelling.
- (c) The conduct was reasonable.
- Seems some pressure groups are using the insulting words clause to cut down on free speech no doubt congratulating themselves on doing so but not realising the ramifications that an attack on specific free speech is an attack on all free speech. Part of the problem is that people have forgotten that there is no right “not to be offended” and yes the Old Testament and the New Testament are fairly clear on the fact that the Christian God does not like the homosexual act, however, that doesn’t stop homosexuals from being Christians and the specifics as it is interpreted these days is that the sin can be hated, but not the sinner (not all Christians do I know). This seems to apply to most main religions, but only Christians seem to be attacked for it, I doubt the group or person who complained would like living in an Islamic country with their attitudes towards gays.
Parliament is going to debate removing the “insulting” clause from the Act, they also suggest that the police are better trained, either would be welcome, though any restrictions on free speech should be removed from the statute books save only for slander and libel, anything else just gives the state and their minions far too much power.