I wonder if they’d try this in another religions café

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.

The Christian Institute.

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.

15 comments for “I wonder if they’d try this in another religions café

  1. john in cheshire
    September 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    To be honest, I think it is appropriate that Christianity was, in quite a lot of ways, more intolerant. I don’t think that is incompatible with what Jesus preached. What we have these days is a form of socialist Christianity. As a Catholic, I feel that the Catholic Church has been infiltrated by socialists and islam lovers. And I never thought I’d ever think that.

  2. Jeremy Poynton
    September 26, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Which means that reading the bible aloud anywhere could be an offence. Way to go, Plod. You’ve outdone yourselves this time.

    My position – unbaptised, but I have a lot of respect for the Christian message. Not to mention the fact that constitutionally the UK is C of E – so, if you don’t like it her because of Christians, better butt out eh?

    • September 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      “Way to go, Plod. You’ve outdone yourselves this time.”

      Indeed! And you’ll note that this wasn’t some HQ diversity wallah, of the sort Insp Gadget always claims is at fault in these decisions. This was a community frontline officer.

      I’ll take further protestations of how dangerously thin the thin blue line is getting with a large pinch of salt, while nonsense cases like these are still being actioned…

  3. September 26, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    “Part of the problem is that people have forgotten that there is no right “not to be offended””

    There is now, if you’re a member of a special ‘victim’ group.

    I don’t see the need to bring the muslims into this. They’re not causing the trouble in this case.

    • September 26, 2011 at 5:07 pm

      I just used Muslims as an example, somehow I can’t see plod trying it on with Hindu’s Sikh’s Buddhist’s or any other religion other than Christianity.

    • September 26, 2011 at 6:01 pm

      QM is drawing attention to the marked reluctance by the police to take action against a recognisable identity group here. Contrast their actions here (and a similar case of a street preacher arrested for making a gay couple ‘uncomfortable’) with their actions in the recent ‘Gay free zone’ stickers in Bethnal Green. They there first tried to suggest it was a EDL attempt to stir up trouble against Muslims!

      Until a Muslim was caught for it…

      Sadly, the police ONLY target Christians for this.

  4. September 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    The answer, I think is to firmly rebut plod when they call. Sure, it may mean that they take matters further. On the other hand, if they aren’t too sure of their ground, they might back off. Either way, a firm “no” is the right response. A few more people standing up against this nonsense is what is required, not meek acquiescence.

  5. September 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    The cops never told Murray to stop doing anything, they told him they’d had a complaint. One of the annoying things about the way the system works is that if there’s a complaint, the cops are obliged to follow it up, even if following-up involves going to a cafe, checking it isn’t a Pastor Fred Phelps-themed hate cafe, chalking down the complaint to “stupid loony”, and then saying “as you were mate”. Which is what happened here.

    And yes, they do do the same thing to other religions. When I lived in Whitechapel (and I’m a very secular atheist who thinks that no religion deserves special protection or special punishment, so I’m cool with both of these, but is sceptical that either is a particularly good use of police time), the mosque bookshop was visited by cops who’d had “THE QURAN INCITES HATE”-type phone calls, and again had to turn up and check that the mosque bookshop wasn’t displaying “Kill The Qufir”-type posters. Which it also wasn’t. And which they also whinged about, but got three lines in the local silly-sheet, not a mass-circulation daily paper.

    • September 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

      “Which is what happened here.”

      Which is what the police claim happened here. The proprietor claims something quite different.

      Now, he may be making a mountain out of a molehill. And he may not.

      • Lord T
        September 26, 2011 at 6:46 pm

        and I know what one I believe.

  6. Patrick Harris
    September 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    My first thought is for the cafe owner to sue the police but that would only mean that the money for defence and any award would come from the public purse.
    Can he sue the individual police officer for misinterpreting the law and could they not go on suing up through, the sergeant, the inspector etc.
    There should be some punishment for not knowing your job.

    • September 27, 2011 at 5:41 am

      There should, yes. But increasingly, there isn’t.

  7. Lord T
    September 26, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I think you can if they break the law but they will argue it wasn’t the case. Plus you get more money from an entity.

    Sue them anyway. Starve the beast of funds and turn the wheel quicker..

  8. September 26, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Somewhat related:

    http://www.wordaroundthenet.com/2011/09/establishing-government.html

    “This isn’t separation of church and state, it is establishment of state upon religion.”

  9. September 27, 2011 at 6:59 am

    If I might add my tuppence halfpenny worth. You wrote, QM: “though I know a good few intolerant Christians”.

    You’re right in one sense – that these people are Christian in the context of believing in the trinity and subscribing to the gospels but then they become intolerant and lacking in charity, which is precisely what one of the main messages in Christianity is about – tolerance and charity. John in Cheshire says there are times when it should be intolerant.

    There are two different things going on here. Over at my place, I’ve only just posted a [long] reply to one of my readers on this very point – may I quote myself here:

    In general, in day to day negotiation with people, softness of manner is the way to go and in RL, that is my usual manner. It does get you much, much further [as you say].

    However, it’s as well to remember that that softness also encourages bullies who mistake a soft manner for weakness.

    I shall not presume to teach you any “little secret”s because you’re obviously aware of the principles … I will say though that I also had mentors who were quite clear – don’t attempt to negotiate either from a position of ignorance, nor from weakness. In fact, knowledge of a matter in itself gives strength.

    That’s what this blog attempts to do – increase that knowledge base and in that context, you are always more than welcome.

    That applies to OoL as well. There is a difference between personal softness of manner and softness or fuzziness in one’s principles. I’d accept John in Cheshire’s point as correct – stick to what you know is right and don’t bend on that, unless evidence overwhelmingly shows you it’s wrong [that’s the rub]. On the other hand, in personal manner, it doesn’t do to be intolerant in the context QM speaks of.

    I have a big problem with being preached at, as does everyone. If you pointed me to a bible though and pointed to a passage, without shoving it down my throat, I’d be more likely to go back later [obviously I can’t concede the high ground to you now] and look through for myself.

    If it did seem right what you said, at least in part, then I’d subtly alter my position. I’ve done this on Global Warming. Where it all comes apart is when he detects the slightest hesitation in me and goes in for the kill, pressing home his point. In that situation, I stonewall the bastard until he goes away, fuming that no one listens to him.

    Then, if it was posted on a blog like this, I can come back much later, when I’m ready, over coffee and look again at what he said and if anything of value was in there. That’s why fire and brimstone preachers and intolerant zealots are the very worst people Christianity could have and the other side knows that too. There are a lot of trolls about, which the gospels call false prophets and many of them are religious bigots.

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