Anglican Samizdat

March 30, 2010

Peter Tatchell defends Christian’s right to criticise homosexuality

Filed under: homosexuality — David Jenkins @ 5:40 pm

The law in the UK seems to have abandoned common sense:

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell has defended a Christian street preacher fined £1,000 for saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Baptist Shawn Holes was taken from a busy shopping street in a police van and locked in a cell for the night.

He appeared in court the next day charged with ‘uttering homophobic remarks’ in a breach of the peace that prosecutors said was ‘aggravated by religious prejudice’.

Last night Mr Tatchell attacked the fine as ‘heavy-handed’ and ‘totally disproportionate’.

He said: ‘The price of freedom of speech is that we sometimes have to put up with opinions that are objectionable and offensive.

‘Just as people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should have the right to criticise homosexuality. Only incitements to violence should be illegal.’

Mr Holes, an American preacher who was travelling around Britain with a dozen colleagues, was arrested in Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, on March 18.

After discussing general Christian topics, the married father-of-two, a former wedding photographer, was fielding questions from the crowd.

When asked about his views on gays, Mr Holes, 47, from Lake Placid in New York State, said he told questioners: ‘Homosexuals deserve the wrath of God – and so do all other sinners – and they are going to a place called Hell.’

A spokesman for the Crown Office – the Scottish prosecution service – said: ‘We take all crimes of prejudice extremely seriously.’

When Peter Tatchell’s view of a Christian repeating what the Bible says about homosexuality is more tolerant than that of the police, it seems fairly obvious that something has gone badly wrong with British justice.

The Scottish prosecution service takes all crimes of prejudice extremely seriously except its own.


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