Evangelical Christians | Great Britain | Law Enforcement | News

UK Gay Cop Arrests Street Preacher for Anti-Gay Sermon

A UK street preacher was arrested last week after a police officer, who happened to be gay, overheard him delivering a sermon the cop deemed to be homophobic in nature:

Mcalpine "Dale McAlpine was charged with causing “harassment, alarm or distress” after a homosexual police community support officer (PCSO) overheard him reciting a number of “sins” referred to in the Bible, including blasphemy, drunkenness and same sex relationships. The 42-year-old Baptist, who has preached Christianity in Workington, Cumbria for years, said he did not mention homosexuality while delivering a sermon from the top of a stepladder, but admitted telling a passing shopper that he believed it went against the word of God. Police officers are alleging that he made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and have charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act. Mr McAlpine, who was taken to the police station in the back of a marked van and locked in a cell for seven hours on April 20, said the incident was among the worst experiences of his life."

The incident has sparked a freedom of speech debate.

Watch a report from the UK's Christian Institute and a video of McAlpine preaching in Sheffield in July 2008, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Homosexuality IS against the Bible. So are a lot of other things that people do everyday. Women's rights are against the Bible. I'm not sure why we try to make the Bible pretty and "loving" when it really is anything but.

    The preacher should have every right to speak his mind on the matter, just as much as I should have the right to say his opinion is crap and that his religions (and other religions) are just silly fairytales for small minded people.

    Posted by: Cole | May 4, 2010 2:46:28 PM

  2. It is crazy that this guy was arrested. As long as he wasn't calling on people to do physical harm to others, he absolutely has a right to spout whatever idiotic opinion he has. This entire ordeal is bad news for the future of US policy. Conservatives are going to point to incidents like these as reasons that pro-gay policy shouldn't be passed.

    Posted by: JC | May 4, 2010 2:53:09 PM

  3. This can't happen in the US because of the first amendment. Instead of arresting the misguided preacher, he should have pointed out the things Cole did in the first post on this thread. The Bible is an awful book and should by no means be considered guidance for anyone. All he had to do was challenge the man on equal footing and he'd easily win, no need to bring the law into it. The preacher shouldn't have been arrested and they need free speech protection laws in the UK.

    Posted by: Wes | May 4, 2010 2:58:34 PM

  4. @Cole

    "The preacher should have every right to speak his mind on the matter, just as much as I should have the right to say his opinion is crap and that his religions (and other religions) are just silly fairytales for small minded people."

    Only a stupid, self-loathing fuck can equate anti-gay opinions with pro-gay opinions. Homosexuality itself doesn't hurt anybody. Anti-gay Christianity does.

    Posted by: Eugene | May 4, 2010 3:04:46 PM

  5. Calm yo ass, JC, the conservatives have been trotting out the bag of lies that outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation would get Christians arrested long before this arrest in another country happened. They'd do it anyway.

    What they're preying on is the widespread ignorance of basic Constitutional rights in the US. Unlike the US, the UK, as with most countries, do not have the basic guarantee of free speech in its highest law. And FYI, that American free speech deal? It also protects people who do make speeches calling for physical harm as long as it doesn't incite imminent lawless action (i.e. shit that the cops can't haul their donut-laden asses to stop in time). Shine a light on ignorance with proper knowledge, people.

    Posted by: LetSodomRing | May 4, 2010 3:07:08 PM

  6. @Cole

    You're spot on.

    Posted by: David T | May 4, 2010 3:10:49 PM

  7. FYI
    They DO NOT have the same laws in the UK as the US. If you are yelling at people from the top of a stepladder in a public street in the UK that homosexuality goes against the word of God, it can be argued that this could be "incitement of religious hatred" as in inciting discrimination towards people who do not believe exactly as you do. Frankly I don't have any problem with his arrest: if someone is yelling that 'god' disapproves of XYZ at the top of stepladder in a public space they need help anyway and hopefully his arrest might lead to an evaluation where he can receive the help he so desperately needs, since he's obviously got some issues.

    If he REALLY read his bible, he would know Matthew Chapter 6, verses 1-5, and would STFU already.

    Oh, and JC, (yeah you're SO not THAT JC) you obviously didn't even read the article so why are you commenting? This didn't happen in the US and will have absolutely no bearing on anything that does happen here and does in fact violate their laws. Please, read before you start spewing falsities.

    Posted by: wtf | May 4, 2010 3:16:56 PM

  8. There is a simple solution for his anger....


    Isn't that what the douche from Miami used for his "therapy"? hehehe.

    Posted by: Darren | May 4, 2010 3:20:09 PM

  9. @ Cole : I disagree. No one has the right of hate speech, or incitement to hate.
    I'm afraid that USA inhabitants have been too enthusiastic for you amendment rights.
    I'm glad this peddler of hate was arrested.

    As for the bible, what's this shit about the bible condemning homosexuality ? Au contraire !
    It expressly approves homosexuality in the accounts of David and Jonathon (whose love passeth the love of women) and Ruth and Naomie (Whither thou goest I shall go, your people shall be my people...etc).
    Let's get over the Leviticus and St.Paul bigotry.
    Now let's arrest the evil homophobic hate mongers and have some good old eye for an eye.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 3:22:53 PM

  10. That was a very stupid things to do and has given much ammunition to the Christianist wackos in America.

    Posted by: niles | May 4, 2010 3:24:59 PM

  11. I seldom feel anything like "proud to be an American," but I am very grateful to live in a country where expressing vicious, lunatic opinions is a protected right. They're free to claim I'm an abomination in the eyes of the Sky God, I'm free to call them ignorant, superstitious hate mongers. That strikes as being as perfect a situation as anything human ever can be.

    The price for being free to expression my own, frequently unpopular opinions is having to hear things that really piss me off. I'm happy to pay it.

    Posted by: Bryan Harrison | May 4, 2010 3:28:11 PM

  12. This gentleman never should have been arrested. This is political correctness/groupthink gone WAY too far. I fail to understand the need for the UK law (or Canadian law) to go as far as it does.

    Posted by: DR | May 4, 2010 3:28:16 PM

  13. Yes Niles, by all means, let's let the UK homophobes spout bullshit because it's going to upset the facist wingnut evangelicals in the US. Your argument is made of fail.

    Posted by: wtf | May 4, 2010 3:29:55 PM

  14. I guess Europe and USA see the freedom of speech issues in different ways. There may be a historical reason for that !

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 3:34:55 PM

  15. I don't know the precise parameters of their Public Order Act, but it seems like there are 2 issues here, the content of what he's saying and how he's saying it.

    Shouting on a public street from a stepladder could violate public nuisance or disturbance ordinances regardless of the subject matter. His subject matter alone--however ignorant--doesn't seem arrest-worthy, unless it was determined that he was inciting violence.

    The arrest seems an overreaction to someone who's more pathetic than dangerous, but it's also disingenuous of him to play victim of harassment when his intent is to harass passersby in the public square. Anyone is free to hold whatever beliefs they choose, but there will always be limits on how you can deliver those beliefs in a public setting.

    Posted by: Ernie | May 4, 2010 3:43:37 PM

  16. Gentleman? You're an ass, DR. A dumbass.

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 3:49:42 PM

  17. "I seldom feel anything like "proud to be an American," but I am very grateful to live in a country where expressing vicious, lunatic opinions is a protected right"

    Yeah, I betcha, else you would never speak.

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 3:51:06 PM

  18. @Bryan Harrison

    "They're free to claim I'm an abomination in the eyes of the Sky God, I'm free to call them ignorant, superstitious hate mongers. That strikes as being as perfect a situation as anything human ever can be."

    Yeah, except that the US is much more homophobic than the UK. But who cares about the gays?

    Posted by: Eugene | May 4, 2010 3:55:16 PM


    I hope you're willing to accept being arrested when you say something about someone else's religion that offends them. Further, disallowing the preacher from making such comments infringes on his right to practice his religion.

    Bryan Harrison is spot on. I hold my right to free speech so dear to me that I wouldn't dare try to take it from someone else. The irony is that most people who say that such "hate speech" should be outlawed are themselves guilty of similar hate speech, whether it be against straights, religious people, or anyone who doesn't agree with how THEY think. They operate under "free speech for me, but not for thee."

    This story makes me proud to be an American.

    Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2010 4:14:00 PM

  20. @ jack: It may come as a surprise to you but we are all proud to be from our various countries; it is not a peculiarly American (USA) phenomenon.
    I hold my right to peaceable public space so dear as to regard any hate filled abusive behaviour as an infringment to my rights of free unfettered passage in my own country.
    He can practice his religion in private.....but not so as to abuse the public.
    And no, I am not "guilty of similar hate speech"......that assertion of yours is absurd, outrageous and offensive.
    No doubt you hold your right to bear arms "so dear" also. That makes you "proud to be an American", I suspect.
    And,to answer your question, yes, I would expect to be arrested if I came out with hate speech or incitement in public.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 4:35:51 PM

  21. Totally agree with Cole and DR.

    Count me among those grateful for the 1st Amendment. I won't be tearing up my ACLU card anytime soon.

    Posted by: Aaron Rowland | May 4, 2010 4:42:11 PM

  22. @jack
    @Bryan Harrison

    To quote another homo: I'm free.
    We are just as free as you. Again it's not a peculiarly American (USA) phenomenon.
    Get over it.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 4:42:23 PM

  23. Yes, Tank, "gentleman". The only ones acting like uncivilized asses are the ones namecalling like yourself.

    There is no evidence that he did anything other than preach, get over it. That ought not be cause to have him arrested, nor will I throw ugly names at him. That's the refuge of the foolish and ignorant.

    Posted by: DR | May 4, 2010 4:48:23 PM

  24. All the American chest thumpers need to consider the result of their laissez-faire approach to hate speech - more hate, more gay-bashing, more violent attacks against racial and religious minorities. Hate speech laws are like anti-graffiti laws - if people speak civilly about others, then maybe they'll act civilly, too. There is no equivalency to hate speech; the good Americans of Westboro fame are inciting hatred of gays and everyone else who disagrees with them; I don't hate them but would encourage them to seek treatment for their obvious mental disorders!

    Finally, where is this much-vaunted freedom if you can lose your teaching job if you don't have the right ACCENT?!

    Posted by: Hue-Man | May 4, 2010 5:06:25 PM

  25. This is a glaring difference in the US and most other countries of the world. We here in the US are so used to the notion that Free Speech is an inalienable human right (yes, I know that it's now how it's presented in the First Amendment, but it's how many see it) that we forget how lucky we are that our founding fathers saw the need to include it in our Constitution.

    Right or wrong are subjective issues here. My view, the arrest was legal in the UK. Therefore it was proper. Was it right? Debatable. From my American view, no. While I despise what the man was preaching, I feel that he had the right to say it, just as I would have the right to refute what he says. However, if I were a citizen of the UK I might say differently.

    I'm just going to say that I'm glad I live in the USA where I could tell this guy what a load of horse squeeze he's spewing, then use his beloved Leviticus against him to show how he's going to "burn in hell" just like us homos.

    Posted by: Steve | May 4, 2010 5:06:50 PM

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