"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Christian preacher arrested

From The Telegraph today:
A Christian street preacher was arrested and locked in a cell for telling a passer-by that homosexuality is a sin in the eyes of God.

The story concerns Dale McAlpine a 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Workington, Cumbria for a number of years.
He was apparently overheard by a PCSO who after an exchange with the passerby informed McAlpine that a complaint had been made and he could be arrested.
He claims that the PCSO then said he was homosexual and identified himself as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer for Cumbria police. Mr McAlpine replied: “It’s still a sin.”
Following futher exchanges he was then arrested and charged under Sections 5 (1) and (6) of the Public Order Act and released on bail on the condition that he did not preach in public.

Now it’s true that all the facts of this case are yet to come to light. Did this preacher merely explain his interpretation of the scripture or was he actually being abusive, offensively homophobic or inciting others to violence?
If the former then this arrest seems to be an abuse of the law and a curtailment of free speech.
It should not be the case that someone can be arrested for stating their opinions about the LGBT community and certainly not for pointing out that the Bible is anti-homosexual as this is just an unfortunate statement of fact.
I say again, no one has the right not to be offended, including gay people. They do however have the right not to be intimidated, oppressed or discriminated against.
By the same token though, those of us who know the Bible is tosh and that Dale McAlpine is a gullible pratt should also be able to say so, without fear of arrest. If all this man is doing is peddling his particular superstition, let him do so as long as he is prepared for others to point out where he has got it wrong.

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