Another UK Street Preacher Arrested, Charged, for Views on Homosexuality
By Hilary White
WORKINGTON, UK, May 3, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Another street preacher in the U.K. has been arrested simply for proclaiming Christian teachings about the sinfulness of homosexual behavior. Dale Mcalpine says he was handing out leaflets in the Cumbrian town of Workington on April 20, when he was approached by passers-by and a police community support officer (PCSO) who identified himself as a homosexual.
In the course of the conversation Mcalpine, 42, told them that it is his belief that homosexuality is a sin because it is contrary to the word of God in the Bible. The Daily Mail reports that police said he had said this in a “loud voice” that could be overheard by others.
Mcalpine was then arrested, charged with using abusive or insulting words or behavior contrary to the Public Order Act 1986, and left in a cell for 7 hours. He is being assisted by the Christian Institute, and says he will be pleading ‘not guilty’ to the charges.
Mcalpine’s arrest marks the second time in just over a month that a Christian has been arrested in the U.K. for doing nothing more than preaching Christian sexual ethics. In early April LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) reported on the case of Shaw Holes, an American who was arrested in Glasgow while on a preaching tour with a group of British and American colleagues after he told a group of passersby, in response to a direct question about the issue, that homosexual behavior is sinful.
Mcalpine, who describes himself as a “born-again” Christian, told LSN that his arrest is a bad sign for British society.
“Someone does not want this wonderful truth of salvation to get out and that is what is happening in my country there is a spiritual battle for souls taking place,” he said.
“I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know,” Mcalpine told the Daily Mail. “My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said, and I was charged under a law that doesn’t apply.”
He added, “If you are preaching hate and calling on people to harm others, it is right that is against the law. But I would never do that. If we have a free society, I should be allowed to preach the Gospel as generations have before me.”
Mcalpine said in a statement that while he was preaching, a woman approached him and “proceeded to tell me that what we were doing was wrong and the truth has more shades of grey that what I was presenting.”
He said he continued his conversation with the woman, disagreeing amicably, but that afterward, a group of PCSOs who were standing nearby spoke to her as she was leaving. One of the officers then approached Mcalpine.
“I asked if everything was ok, and then he replied, ‘We have had complaints and if you say anything racial or make homophobic comments I will have you arrested’.”
“I told him that I am not homophobic but that sometimes I get up and preach that homosexuality is a sin and that is what the bible says. I also said that this is not a crime.”
Mcalpine said the PCSO then identified himself as the “LGBT liaison officer” for the police: “I said it is still a sin.”
The media has identified the PCSO as Sam Adams, a member of Cumbria police’s LGBT staff association who represented the force at the “Gay Pride” parade in Manchester last year.
Mcalpine said that he felt the PCSOs present were deliberately attempting to find excuses to arrest him and his colleagues. At one point in the day’s preaching in Workington, he wrote, “a gentleman with a red T-shirt” shouted at him about “God’s forgiveness.” The PCSO who had identified himself as a homosexual then approached this man and spoke to him. “This confirmed my suspicion that he was trying to get some complaint against me,” Mcalpine said.
When regular police officers alter arrived, Mcalpine said that one of them asked, “What have you been saying homophobic-wise?”
He replied that he had explained to the PCSO that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin, but that this does not constitute “hatred” towards homosexuals.
“I explained that there is no law against saying this and the policeman instantly disagreed.”
Mcalpine, who has never been in trouble with the law before, was then arrested for “racially aggravated section 5 public order offence.” He was later told he was being charged with “using threatening words/behaviour to cause harassment or alarm or distress”– a class of crime that was originally intended for violent and abusive rioters and soccer hooligans. He was released on bail on the condition that he does not preach in a public place to members of the public.
Mike Judge, a spokesman for the Christian Institute, said, “Dale is an ordinary, everyday Christian with traditional views about sexual ethics. Some people will agree with him, others will disagree. But it’s not for the police to arrest someone just because others may disagree with what is said.”
Columnist Peter Hitchens wrote in the Mail that this incident is just one more sign of the “revolution” that has occurred in Britain.
“The Public Order Act of 1986 was not meant to permit the arrest of Christian preachers in English towns for quoting from the Bible. But it has. The Civil Partnerships Act 2004 was not meant to force public servants to approve of homosexuality. But it has. The Sexual Offences Act of 1967 was not meant to lead to a state of affairs where it is increasingly dangerous to say anything critical about homosexuality. But it did.”
The Mcalpine case shows that Britain has gone far down the slippery slope, said Hitchens: “Small and harmless actions, offers of prayer, the wearing of crucifixes, requests to withdraw from duties, are met with official rage and threats of dismissal, out of all proportion. How long before Christians are being blackmailed by work colleagues, for daring to speak their illegal views openly?”
Read related LSN coverage:
American Street Preacher Arrested in Britain for Declaring Homosexual Behavior a Sin
Christian Ministers Arrested for Praying Near Gay Fest