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Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Vile affections

Street preacher faces arrest after reading Bible in public, screams a headline in Christian Today.

No, no, no. He’s facing arrest for reading stuff out that could offend because it was deemed homophobic. It doesn’t matter that it’s the bloody Bible, you blithering, oversensitive idiots. It could have been anything.

I’m not entirely sure that people shouldn’t be allowed to read any passage they wish, assuming they’re allowed to read stuff in public anyway (and that’s another argument), because we can expect our own freedom of speech to be stamped on once we start going down that road.

If he wasn’t actually inciting people to go out and kill a gay, it should be OK – as long as he’s prepared for people to heckle and put their points. (Not that he would have a decent argument if he’s relying on prepackaged answers instead of thinking for himself.)

But the law is as it is, and it was the homophobia of the piece – by my reading of this tale, anyhow – that was likely to cause offence. Perhaps the police interpreted it as likely to cause a breach of the peace, who knows? And what had he said before reading the passage? He’s called a preacher, not a reader, so had he been spouting inflammatory stuff before that?

Whatever, it seems he wasn’t facing arrest for reading from the Bible, but for reading offensive material in a public place that just happened to be from the Bible.

One of the passages he was reading out – presumably the one that got the cops twitching – was from Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, in which he speaks of men who, “leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly”. Vile affections and all that.

Mind you, had be been reading the stuff from Leviticus, he’d have had to add that the culprits in this most heinous act of filth must be put to death. That might be considered a bit inciteful!

The story tells us that Miguel Hayworth, 29, who’s been a street preacher in Manchester, UK, for the last five years, has sought help from the Christian Legal Centre, and a human-rights barrister is to represent him.

Chances are that nothing will come of it. But he’s had his collar felt. If gay people went into the streets and slagged off Christians and Muslims by reading loudly from texts, there’d be hell to pay.


Anonymous said...

As a Christian,I find street preachers somewhat cringy.Especially when they are reading passages of scripture from an archaic translation of the bible.(and more so when they are shouting through a megaphone!)

Its interesting to note that when the apostle Paul spoke to 'pagans' he changed gears and never quoted scripture.He wanted to communicate to his hearers rather than alienate them. Only to the religous did he ever quote scripture.

Your take on this incident is very fair,especially as you value freedom of speech.
I may not like the generic street preacher image,but it worries me that the guy was being 'monitored' old Soviet style.

Baal's Bum said...

"Its interesting to note that when the apostle Paul spoke to 'pagans' he changed gears and never quoted scripture."
Its interesting to note that anonymous has refrained from being honest with their identity whilst commenting on a gay blog.
But I digress,What exactly are you complaining about? I think from your comment your main complaint is big brother. You state the guy was "monitored' old Soviet style." this I am afraid is modern British style.
The sad thing is, I am convinced that had the preacher been Muslim, protocol would have deemed it politically incorrect to have arrested or even required they refrained from their preaching.
The only thing I wish is that other religion's street preachers would be caught and duly arrested for spouting their bigotry in the same manner.