Biblical preachers 'consistently targeted' in U.K.

Monday, May 3, 2021
 | 
Charlie Butts (OneNewsNow.com)

London police tapeAn attorney for a faith-based legal advocacy organization that protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people says even the First Amendment won't keep cases like that of an English street preacher who was arrested and held overnight for using "abusive or insulting words that can cause harm to someone else," or publicly defending the Bible's teaching on sexuality, from coming to America.

Police forcibly took 71-year-old Pastor John Sherwood down from a stepladder, manhandled, handcuffed, and led him away from a London square for publicly declaring marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. They had received complaints that he was making "allegedly homophobic comments."

Sherwood was released the next day without being charged, but Lois McLatchie of ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) International says the police sent a clear message.

"Unfortunately cases like this are becoming increasingly popular across Europe," she reports. "We've seen several cases of street preachers in the last few years being consistently targeted or even arrested for talking about their beliefs."

According to the Daily Mail, officers interrogated Sherwood about his attitude toward homosexual people and what he would do if his children were homosexual. The married father of two said he would "seek to bring them to Christ, but of course he would love them no matter what, because they're his children."

McLatchie

In addition to becoming increasingly common, McLatchie says these types of incidents are catching the public's attention.

"There is some hope emerging for freedom of speech," she observes. "I think people are starting to take notice of what is happening – the non-crime hate crimes … which is a system the police are able to take down what we're saying, even if they know it's not a criminal offense. So, there's a lot of pushback there."

But she warns that what is happening in Great Britain could be coming to America – in spite of the country's First Amendment.

"Be aware so that when things come up in your context over there, you can see kind of what's on the horizon when speech is diminished or nor protected the way it should be, and that will hopefully bolster your willingness to protect your First Amendment rights," she advises.

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