Hilary White

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Stop arresting street preachers, says Christian rights group to head of London police

Hilary White
Hilary White

LONDON, July 28, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Exasperated with the numerous arrests of Christian street preachers for speaking against homosexuality, a UK advocacy group has written to the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (of London) demanding that guidance be issued to beat officers to put a stop to the problem. 

The last straw was the arrest earlier this month of visiting US street preacher Tony Miano for preaching that homosexual conduct is a sin. 

“As you might be aware, this is the position adopted by all the major churches in the United Kingdom,” said Andrea Minichiello Williams, the head of the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), in the letter to Sir Bernard Hogan Howe of New Scotland Yard. "I hope we can agree that preaching the Gospel on sexual ethics (absent extenuating circumstances) is a lawful activity."

Williams said that not only was the arrest unlawful, so was officers’ questioning on the content of Miano’s preaching. 

CLC is asking for the dismissal of the officers involved - PC Green, PC Bailey and PC Rutland - and referral of the incident to Independent Police Complaints Commission. “We assert that such officers are unfit to remain within the Police Force,” said the group. 

Miano was arrested and detained for several hours after police received a complaint by phone from one woman with whom he said he had tried to engage in dialogue. Miano said that while preaching on “both heterosexual immorality and homosexual immorality,” he  was approached by the woman who, he said, “turned, glared at me and told me to ‘f-off’.” Police subsequently arrived and told him he was “guilty of using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.” 

At the police station he was fingerprinted, had a DNA sample taken and was interviewed “under caution.” At first he was told that he would be charged with an offence under the now-notorious Section 5 Public Order Act.

However, the section under which Miano was arrested,\ has been overturned by an act of Parliament after several similar incidents came to wide public attention. A campaign group on freedom of speech, spearheaded by actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson, argued successfully that the word “insult” needed to be removed from the act. The change in the law, however, has yet to come into effect. 

Later that night Miano was abruptly released without charge. 

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While he was detained, officers not only questioned Miano about the incident but also about his personal beliefs. “The questioning is unlawful as intrusive to ‘private life’ within Article 8 of the European Convention [on Human Rights],” CLC said in the letter.

“From the transcript it appears as though the officers are convinced that if someone perceives there to have been a ‘homophobic incident’ then they believe an offence has occurred and therefore the speaker can be arrested.

“We remain of the view that no reasonable police officer would arrest a Christian for preaching a Bible message in the circumstances of this case, nor pursue such an offensive line of questioning.”

Street preaching, popular among Evangelicals, has a venerable history in Britain, starting in the 18th century with the Methodist movement when preachers John Wesley and George Whitefield would preach outdoors to crowds that had grown too large to be accommodated in church buildings. But with the sudden growth in political power of secularist ideologies, street preachers are increasingly becoming the most public targets of anti-Christian complaints, with the full cooperation of police. In some recent cases, this aggression against public displays of Christianity has escalated into outright violence. 

In an interview with LSN on the incident, James Bogle, British barrister and head of the Catholic Union of Great Britain, said that the removal of the term “insult” from the law was a step in the right direction, but far from an adequate response to the problems created by this law. In the current political climate, Bogle said, “at all levels of government,” homosexuality is considered “a special area” deserving of special protections and treatment.  

“Instead of groups or individuals getting the benefit of the law evenly and being equal before the law there is now inequality in the application of human rights law in the United Kingdom, in statutes like the Public Order Act or the discrimination [Equality] acts, as a matter of public policy. So the law is in effect being biased,” Bogle said. 

“The reason for this is that in the nature of human rights law, if you’re not careful, it becomes the opinion of a particular judge, or indeed a police inspector.” In most cases, those arrested have not faced charges, or have had the charges overturned by the courts. 

“Frankly, it’s a disgrace,” Bogle added, “that the higher echelons of the police force have allowed this situation to arise. Because what happens in all these cases is, no sooner do they hit the desk of the public prosecutor, or even of the local police inspector, they are immediately rejected, and the person freed. It doesn’t get to a court because the prosecutor knows it hasn’t got a chance because it is contrary to the law.”  

The Christian Legal Centre cited several similar cases of arrests for preaching against sexual impurity, and said that the European Court of Human Rights had upheld the principle that “the duty of the Police is to facilitate free speech on controversial speech and not permit a silencing of viewpoints disagreed with.” 

“Free speech requires a level playing field,” they added.


Read related LSN coverage: 

American Street Preacher Arrested in Britain for Declaring Homosexual Behavior a Sin

Street preacher awarded £4000 for wrongful arrest over gay remarks

It’s Getting Dangerous Out There — A Preacher Is Arrested in Britain

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BREAKING: Planned Parenthood shooting suspect surrenders, is in custody: police

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By John Jalsevac

Nov. 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Five hours after a single male shooter reportedly opened fire at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood, chatter on police radio is indicating that the suspect has now been "detained."

"We have our suspect and he says he is alone," said police on the police radio channel. 

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers also confirmed via Twitter shortly after 7:00 pm EST that the suspect was in custody.

The news comes almost exactly an hour after the start of a 6:00 pm. press conference in which Lt. Catherine Buckley had confirmed that a single shooter was still at large, and had exchanged gunfire with police moments before.

According to Lt. Buckley, four, and possibly five police officers have been shot since the first 911 call was received at 11:38 am local time today. An unknown number of civilians have also been shot.

Although initial reports had suggested that the shooting began outside the Planned Parenthood, possibly outside a nearby bank, Lt. Buckley said that in fact the incident began at the Planned Parenthood itself.

She said that the suspect had also brought unknown "items" with him to the Planned Parenthood. 

Pro-life groups have started responding to the news, urging caution in jumping to conclusions about the motivations of the shooter, while also condemning the use of violence in promoting the pro-life cause. 

"Information is very sketchy about the currently active shooting situation in Colorado Springs," said Pavone. "The Planned Parenthood was the address given in the initial call to the police, but we still do not know what connection, if any, the shooting has to do with Planned Parenthood or abortion.

"As leaders in the pro-life movement, we call for calm and pray for a peaceful resolution of this situation."

Troy Newman of Operation Rescue and Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, also issued statements.

"Operation Rescue unequivocally deplores and denounces all violence at abortion clinics and has a long history of working through peaceful channels to advocate on behalf of women and their babies," said Newman. "We express deep concern for everyone involved and are praying for the safety of those at the Planned Parenthood office and for law enforcement personnel. We pray this tragic situation can be quickly resolved without further injury to anyone."

"Although we don't know the reasons for the shooting near the Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs today, the pro-life movement is praying for the safety of all involved and as a movement we have always unequivocally condemned all forms of violence at abortion clinics. We must continually as a nation stand against violence on all levels," said Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, based in Washington, D.C.


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Rubio says SCOTUS didn’t ‘settle’ marriage issue: ‘God’s rules always win’

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By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Surging GOP presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, says that "God's law" trumps the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision imposing same-sex “marriage” nationwide.

The senator also told Christian Broadcast Network's David Brody that the Supreme Court's redefinition of marriage is not "settled," but instead "current law."

“No law is settled,” said Rubio. “Roe v. Wade is current law, but it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to aspire to fix it, because we think it’s wrong.”

“If you live in a society where the government creates an avenue and a way for you to peacefully change the law, then you’re called to participate in that process to try to change it,” he explained, and "the proper place for that to be defined is at the state level, where marriage has always been regulated — not by the Supreme Court and not by the federal government.”

However, when laws conflict with religious beliefs, "God's rules always win," said Rubio.

“In essence, if we are ever ordered by a government authority to personally violate and sin — violate God’s law and sin — if we’re ordered to stop preaching the Gospel, if we’re ordered to perform a same-sex marriage as someone presiding over it, we are called to ignore that,” Rubio expounded. “We cannot abide by that because government is compelling us to sin.”

“I continue to believe that marriage law should be between one man and one woman," said the senator, who earlier in the fall was backed by billionaire GOP donor and same-sex "marriage" supporter Paul Singer.

Singer, who also backs looser immigration laws and a strong U.S.-Israel alliance, has long pushed for the GOP to change its position on marriage in part due to the sexual orientation of his son.

Despite Singer's support, Rubio's marriage stance has largely been consistent. He told Brody earlier in the year that "there isn't such a right" to same-sex "marriage."

"You have to have a ridiculous reading of the U.S. Constitution to reach the conclusion that people have a right to marry someone of the same sex."

Rubio also said religious liberty should be defended against LGBT activists he says "want to stigmatize, they want to ostracize anyone who disagrees with them as haters."

"I believe, as do a significant percentage of Americans, that the institution of marriage, an institution that existed before government, that existed before laws, that institution should remain in our laws recognized as the union of one man and one woman," he said.

Rubio also hired social conservative leader Eric Teetsel as his director of faith outreach this month.

However, things have not been entirely smooth for Rubio on marriage. Social conservatives were concerned when the executive director of the LGBT-focused Log Cabin Republicans told Reuters in the spring that the Catholic senator is "not as adamantly opposed to all things LGBT as some of his statements suggest."

The LGBT activist group had meetings with Rubio's office "going back some time," though the senator himself never attended those meetings. Rubio has publicly said that he would attend the homosexual "wedding" of a gay loved one, and also that he believed "that sexual preference is something that people are born with," as opposed to being a choice.

Additionally, days after the Supreme Court redefined marriage, Rubio said that he disagreed with the decision but that "we live in a republic and must abide by the law."

"I believe that marriage, as the key to strong family life, is the most important institution in our society and should be between one man and one woman," he said. "People who disagree with the traditional definition of marriage have the right to change their state laws. That is the right of our people, not the right of the unelected judges or justices of the Supreme Court. This decision short-circuits the political process that has been underway on the state level for years.

Rubio also said at the time that "it must be a priority of the next president to nominate judges and justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood…"

“I firmly believe the question of same sex marriage is a question of the definition of an institution, not the dignity of a human being. Every American has the right to pursue happiness as they see fit. Not every American has to agree on every issue, but all of us do have to share our country. A large number of Americans will continue to believe in traditional marriage, and a large number of Americans will be pleased with the Court’s decision today. In the years ahead, it is my hope that each side will respect the dignity of the other.”

The Florida senator said in July that he opposed a constitutional marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution to leave marriage up to the states because that would involve the federal government in state marriage policies.

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Former The View star Sherri Shepherd and then-husband Lamar Sally in 2010 s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
Steve Weatherbe

Court orders Sherri Shepherd to pay child support for surrogate son she abandoned

Steve Weatherbe
By Steve Weatherbe

November 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- Sherri Shepherd, a Hollywood celebrity who co-hosted the popular talk show The View for seven years, has lost a maternity suit launched by her ex-husband Lamar Sally, forcing her to pay him alimony and child support for their one-year surrogate son LJ. The decision follows an unseemly fight which pro-life blogger Cassy Fiano says has exposed how surrogacy results in “commodifying” the unborn.

Shepherd, a co-host of the View from 2007 to 2014, met Sally, a screenwriter, in 2010 and they married a year later. Because her eggs were not viable, they arranged a surrogate mother in Pennsylvania to bear them a baby conceived in vitro using Sally’s sperm and a donated egg.

But the marriage soured in mid-term about the time Shepherd lost her job with The View. According to one tabloid explanation, she was worried he would contribute little to parenting responsibilities.  Sally filed for separation in 2014, Shepherd filed for divorce a few days, then Sally sued for sole custody, then alimony and child support.

Earlier this year she told PEOPLE she had gone along with the surrogacy to prevent the breakup of the marriage and had not really wanted the child.

Shepherd, an avowed Christian who once denied evolution on The View and a successful comic actor on Broadway, TV, and in film since the mid-90s, didn’t want anything to do with LJ, as Lamar named the boy, who after all carried none of her genes. She refused to be at bedside for the birth, and refused to let her name be put on the birth certificate and to shoulder any responsibility for LJ’s support.

But in April the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas, and now the state’s Superior Court, ruled that Shepherd’s name must go on the birth certificate and she must pay Sally alimony and child support.

“The ultimate outcome is that this baby has two parents and the parents are Lamar Sally and Sherri Shepherd,” Shepherd’s lawyer Tiffany Palmer said.

As for the father, Sally told PEOPLE, “I'm glad it's finally over. I'm glad the judges saw through all the lies that she put out there, and the negative media attention. If she won't be there for L.J. emotionally, I'll be parent enough for the both of us.”

But Shepherd said, “I am appealing the ruling that happened,” though in the meantime, Sally will “get his settlement every month. There’s nothing I can do.”

Commented Fiano in Live Action News, “What’s so sickening about this case is that this little boy, whose life was created in a test tube, was treated as nothing more than a commodity…Saying that you don’t want a baby but will engineer one to get something you want is horrific.” As for trying to get out from child support payments now that the marriage had failed, that was “despicable.”

Fiano went on to characterize the Shepherd-Sally affair as a “notable example” of commodification of children, and “by no means an anomaly.” She cited a British report than over the past five years 123 babies conceived in vitro were callously aborted when they turned out to have Down Syndrome.

“When we’re not ready for babies, we have an abortion,” she added. “But then when we decide we are ready we manufacture them in a laboratory and destroy any extras. Children exist when we want them to exist, to fill the holes in us that we want them to fill, instead of being independent lives with their own inherent value and dignity.”

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