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...

Feed This post's comment feed

Comments

  1. @JackFknTwist:

    Europeans have a very twisted idea of what "Free Speech" means. In the truest sense of the word, having the freedom of speech allows you to say what you want, about whatever you want, against whomever you want.

    The only time your freedom of speech should be constricted is when your practicing of speech conflicts with another right.

    In the United States, your freedom of speech ends when you advocate the denial of another's rights. Whether that right is their own free speech, or quite simply their right to *exist*, really doesn't matter.

    In the United States, there is a distinct difference between a) telling me that my innate characteristics (black, white, gay) are "wrong," and b) advocating harm against me because of said characteristics.

    Being hateful is not a crime. You seem to think it is. It's a distinction that many Europeans don't seem to get. And it's a huge reason why, like many of the others on this board, I am proud to be an American.

    (And, to answer the question you posed to someone else - I am proud to have the right to bear arms. If you knew anything about our Second Amendment, you'd understand why that's an important aspect of our Democracy.)

    Posted by: TommyOC | May 4, 2010 5:09:51 PM


  2. "In the United States, there is a distinct difference between a) telling me that my innate characteristics (black, white, gay) are "wrong," and b) advocating harm against me because of said characteristics."

    And what, pray tell, distinguishes between the belief that a characteristic is wrong and harm caused by a significant amount of the population believing it to those who have it? How clean is that distinction?

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 5:16:24 PM


  3. "Right or wrong are subjective issues here"

    Well that's a stupid thing to say. And it's offered with no reason to believe it, so we can dismiss it just as easily.

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 5:20:06 PM


  4. "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."

    At what point does hate speech that has the potential to cause harm become unprotected speech? Or do you think that I should be able to convince a group of people that you're a child molestor who is going to attack their children if they don't kill you? That all speech (including libel and slander) should be free? When it happens? So it's your position that we have to wait and see to determine whether or not speech should be restricted based on harm it causes? A little late, don't you think?

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 5:25:53 PM


  5. Is that shopping center really a "public" space? I would think it's private property. Did he have permission to sermonize there? Based on the 2nd video, he's clearly disturbing the peace with his disruptive loud speech. I would have arrested him for that, instead of his religious rhetoric.

    Posted by: David in Houston | May 4, 2010 5:33:35 PM


  6. @Tommy OC : yes I know "anything about the second amendment"....thanks for your patronising remark.
    I do not share your enthusiasm of that hugely flawed document the Constitution, there is not time nor space to discuss it.
    No, I do not think being hateful is a crime.But I think that incitement to hatred is.
    These bigots are inciting yobs by giving encouragement and justification to their prejudices.
    No amount of worship of your beloved free speech will convince me otherwise.
    That's why there is a strong anti-fascist movement in England and Germany.....because incitement to hatred is not acceptable.
    @ other writers:
    Please don't keep telling me you are so proud to live in a free country, it only displays your ignorance of other societies and is horribly condescending.
    We had to fight the British for 800 years; you got away with a few decades only because you lived so far away.Our freedom was more sorely won and all the more cherished because of that.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 5:42:44 PM


  7. Tank,

    This is not slander (libel is the print version). This is a man preaching from the Bible. He is reading something from a religious text and commenting on it. That's it. He did not point a finger at any specific person and say something untrue or defamatory about him/her. He didn't even incite people, according to the article, except for the (probably) gay person who reported it to the officer, who also happened to be gay.

    Europeans, as someone noted above, can't seem to understand the difference between true hate speech and people expressing a moral opinion. It seems that any negative judgment becomes a "hate crime", and that is simply not fair or appropriate in my opinion.

    Not all speech expressing a judgment you don't like is meant to incite criminal activity. Not all speech you disagree with or which expresses a judgment you don't agree with is hateful. It may not even be wrong. You just don't agree with it.

    Welcome to the First Amendment. I may not agree with the speech I hear, but I'm going to defend it. I'm glad that US Hate Crimes laws haven't gone off the deep end like their European or Canadian counterparts; all those do is effectively chill free speech.

    Posted by: DR | May 4, 2010 6:26:20 PM


  8. Of course the various posts on this blog by commentators would violate the religious propriety acts in GB, which were designed to enable authorities to evict radical Muslim clerics from the country when they preached hatred (particularly hatred of Jews). In theory, a person posting a comment on this blog that Christianity is a blight upon the world could be barred from entering GB, or if they were already there, arrested. I forget the name, but a famous British holocaust denier was arrested in Austria when he went to speak there, and only got out under a loophole in the law. Also, don't defame anyone on this blog because you might get sued in GB there and lose easily, unlike here in the US. Isn't the Internet fun! Remember kids, no more religion bashing, you've been warned!

    Posted by: anon | May 4, 2010 6:53:53 PM


  9. This story is a starkly clear example of why Britain could use a First Amendment like ours. And, remember the First Amendment is just as much a protection for the rights of those who think opposite to us, especially when it comes to the context of expressing religious beliefs and faith. As a writer and an editor, I clearly understand that there's nothing more political than language and perhaps the greatest power is that power to control the use of language, how we call or name something, and how it is expressed and disseminated. Precisely, who should assume that power? For those who think the British authorities were justified, take a moment, breathe, and then ask yourselves the potential dangers of policing and inhibiting speech. I find the man's thoughts utterly reprehensible but his right to express what he sincerely believes is not ours to control. And, yes, it is an inalienable right. In the broader scope of our world affairs, let's temper our immediate visceral and emotional response. Our outrage can be practical and highly effective but there also are limits. Those who penned the First Amendment thoroughly understood that dynamic in the fragile days of the young nation.

    Posted by: Les | May 4, 2010 6:56:52 PM


  10. @ DR:
    "Europeans can't seem to understand the difference between true hate speech and people expressing a moral opinion."

    "It seems that any negative judgment becomes a hate crime".
    "Not all speech you disagree with .....is hateful".

    Dude, are you serious ? Talk about stating the f***ing obvious!
    We are not talking about opinions.....we are talking about speech designed to incite hatred of a class or group and likely to so incite.
    It's not a matter of whether you agree or disagree with what you hear; that's not the issue, so stop mouthing the First Amendment.
    It's about hate speech inciting violence.......that's not protected by any rational system of justice, common law or civil law.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 7:04:36 PM


  11. JACKFKNTWIST:

    Then we have a glaring difference in values. I value ideas, both right and wrong, for the eventual exposure of truth and falsity that benefits us all. John Stuart Mill has an excellent little line about this one in "On Liberty." And no, saying that I'm glad I have this freedom is not ignorant or condescending. At least not any more condescending and ignorant than your apparently flawed beliefs about the United States. Pot, meet kettle.

    TOMMYOC:

    You said that "In the United States, your freedom of speech ends when you advocate the denial of another's rights. Whether that right is their own free speech, or quite simply their right to *exist*, really doesn't matter."

    That is patently false. One may freely go about saying that gays should not be allowed to marry, that blacks should not be allowed to vote, or that the equal protection clause should be repealed and minorities should have less rights. That speech is perfectly protected under the First Amendment.

    Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2010 7:17:27 PM


  12. @Les : we're not quibbling with "the rights of those who think opposit to us",nor do we quibble with anyone expressing religious beliefs.
    You ask ;"Who should police speech ?" Why the law, of course !
    If what this man says is likely to incite violence against a minority then I fail to see the relevance of whether he sincerely believes it or not.
    You seem to be advocating his right to say anything provided he sincerely believes it !
    "The right to express what he sincerely believes is not ours to control."
    If that is your position you are giving a carte blanche to every hateful fascist alive to peddle their violence.
    (The reference above to Austria arresting a Holocost denier was to Irving the British historian.)( @ anon above)

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 7:21:22 PM


  13. Also, JACKFKNTWIST:

    "We are not talking about opinions.....we are talking about speech designed to incite hatred of a class or group and likely to so incite.
    It's not a matter of whether you agree or disagree with what you hear; that's not the issue, so stop mouthing the First Amendment."

    Are YOU serious? First, what in your mind constitutes an opinion? Why is the thought and expression that gays are going to hell any less an opinion than anything else?

    Second, prove that the speech is intended to incite violence. Inciting hate should be irrelevant, as it is up to the individual to hate/not hate whomever they please--you can't/shouldn't criminalize it. As easily as you say that it is intended to incite, they can say that it is intended to show gays the errors of their ways in hope that they repent. Finally, that speech does not at all directly incite violence. He was not saying to go out and kill all of the gays. If stating what the bible says is inciting, then recitation in public of nearly any speech that was intended to fight injustice is incitement to criminal activity.

    Your arguments are one large, steep, slippery slope, and it will come back to bite you in the ass when someone decides that YOUR beliefs are hateful. Then you'll be crying foul, no doubt.

    Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2010 7:23:33 PM


  14. @ Jack: I value ideas too......but not your ideas of protecting incitement to hate speech.
    As for my ideas about the States, why don't you discuss that with Arizona and Texas.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 4, 2010 7:26:48 PM


  15. No, JACKFKNTWIST, you value ideas that you agree with. Everything else you manage to find a convenient label for, under which such ideas should never see the light of day. You have no claim to the marketplace of ideas.

    Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2010 7:29:13 PM



  16. "This is not slander (libel is the print version). This is a man preaching from the Bible."

    Right, it's not slander. but if it were the in the bible that gays are pedos, and you're gay...well, then I guess it'd be okay for me to incite violence against you....so long as I didn't drop any names. Fucktard.

    Just change it up to inciting violence against a group of people, then. You seem to have nothing against that activity.

    "He is reading something from a religious text and commenting on it. That's it."

    Right, and the nazis read from mein kampf and commented on it about inferior races and people...that's all they did (and all neo nazis to this day do)...no harm no foul according to you. Once again, you're retarded.

    "He did not point a finger at any specific person and say something untrue or defamatory about him/her."

    No, instead it was just groups of people. Whole groups of them...LOL!

    "He didn't even incite people, according to the article, except for the (probably) gay person who reported it to the officer, who also happened to be gay."

    No? So if I were to quote from the bible where it says homosexuality is wrong, and provide my own commentary on it in which I inflame passions of the people listening and then you just happen to be around and get torn to shreds by the angry mob that I unleash...well, I wasn't inciting anyone, was I? Gimme a break, you fuckin' mongoloid.

    "Europeans, as someone noted above, can't seem to understand the difference between true hate speech and people expressing a moral opinion."

    Now what's the difference? If you provide a coherent and definitive separation that I couldn't expose as a fraud and ad hoc in argument...then by all means, provide it. Because all hate speech amounts to poeple's opinions...LOL!

    "It seems that any negative judgment becomes a "hate crime", and that is simply not fair or appropriate in my opinion."

    This is meaningless garbage. We're not talking about hate crimes. But please, what's the difference between hate speech and a negative judgment about people such that hate speech fails to be a negative judgment?

    "Not all speech expressing a judgment you don't like is meant to incite criminal activity."

    Right, and does that matter? So if someone were to say the exact same thing as someone who intended to incite violence, and did...it's okay? LOL!

    "Not all speech you disagree with or which expresses a judgment you don't agree with is hateful."

    No, but is not all hateful speech a negative judgment? LMAO!

    "It may not even be wrong. You just don't agree with it."

    I think racism and homophobic beliefs about gay men molesting children are demonsrably wrong...and false. I disagree with what's wrong and false.

    "Welcome to the First Amendment."

    blah blah blah, this has nothing to do with the first amendment. And further, the first amendment doesn't grant you the right to incite a riot. Welcome to reality.

    "I may not agree with the speech I hear, but I'm going to defend it."

    This is that stupid "I'll defend the death sir, your right to say it" bullshit. Go wrap yourself in the flag to express bad and immoral reasoning somewhere else.

    "I'm glad that US Hate Crimes laws haven't gone off the deep end like their European or Canadian counterparts; all those do is effectively chill free speech."

    You just disagree with hate crimes laws because you don't know what a hate crime is...it's not a thought. LOL!

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 7:34:08 PM


  17. Tank, you assert that this speech incites violence, or even a RIOT (hah!), with no evidence as such. It doesn't even come CLOSE. You are straining to find a way to ban speech that you disagree with, and it couldn't be any more transparent.

    Furthermore, bad and immoral reasoning is NOT a crime. If you wouldn't wrap yourself in the flag to defend someone's right to reason incorrectly, then you don't deserve to live in this country. You belie your own hypocrisy, and your own short-sightedness. I'll delight in the day that something you say that is negative about someone is construed as hate speech and you are crying the other way.

    Posted by: Jack | May 4, 2010 7:57:59 PM


  18. It'd be nice if we could do this, here in the US. I wouldn't have to walk a gauntlet full of assholes like this every Monday, Wednesday & Friday on my way to class.

    Street preaching is just harassment. Mentioning God or Buddha or Harvey the Holy Fucking Rabbit doesn't change that fact.

    Posted by: Please | May 4, 2010 8:05:43 PM


  19. "Tank, you assert that this speech incites violence, or even a RIOT (hah!),"

    I'm asserting that hate speech like this eventually does incite violence--not that this particular speech did. Do you deny that? That hate speech can and does incite violence?

    "It doesn't even come CLOSE."

    Hate speech doesn't event come close to inciting violence? Where's your argument?

    "You are straining to find a way to ban speech that you disagree with,"

    Not at all. It's not about my agreement or disagreement with it. It's about the fact that certain types of speech incite violence against groups of people.

    "and it couldn't be any more transparent."

    Oh blow it out your ass, lackey.

    "Furthermore, bad and immoral reasoning is NOT a crime."

    No, it's not. Never said otherwise.

    "If you wouldn't wrap yourself in the flag to defend someone's right to reason incorrectly, then you don't deserve to live in this country."

    No, you have to tolerate it by your own standard. You got that, slick? I more than deserve to live in this country even if I were to say such a thing (though I didn't), and you, by your own reasoning, would defend to the death my right to say it. Got it, chump?

    "You belie your own hypocrisy,"

    Now that's a sentence that I wouldn't allow. Nope...and trust me when I tell ya that I'm using "sentence" euphemistically.

    "and your own short-sightedness. I'll delight in the day that something you say that is negative about someone is construed as hate speech and you are crying the other way."

    I want an argument. This has nothing to do with disagreement or holding unpopular views. It's a slippery slope either way, and there's no hard and fast rule to apply that isn't entirely ad hoc.

    And by the way, I never once wrote that I think that this individual case was right or not-right.

    Posted by: TANK | May 4, 2010 8:52:45 PM


  20. Tank--

    For someone so adamantly against supposed "hate speech" (or speech you deem as such), you sure do use a lot of it:

    "You're an ass... A dumbass."

    "Fucktard."

    "[Y]ou're retarded."

    "[Y]ou fuckin' mongoloid."

    "Oh blow it out your ass, lackey."

    If you were preaching like this about others on a street corner, would you support your own arrest?

    Posted by: Adam | May 5, 2010 1:44:52 AM


  21. Where in that speech am I condoning or compelling violence toward others? Admittedly, there was a lot that he had to "blow out" of his ass, and that could cause damage...lasting damage. However, how is that hate speech? Ya fuckin' dumbshit tardo! Do you know what hate speech is?

    This all deals in the area of logical vagueness.

    Posted by: TANK | May 5, 2010 2:24:23 AM


  22. And what if I had a type of tourette's syndrome? Would it then be hate speech, too? FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU!

    Posted by: TANK | May 5, 2010 2:27:46 AM


  23. @ jack :No one is interested in this guy's opinions and no one objects to him holding them or expressing them in private.
    But using his opinions, whether sincere or delusional, to incite others against a minority is a crime.
    To suggest that incitement to crime is protected speech shows that you do not understand your own Constitution.

    Furthermore as indicated above by TANK, there has been a history of incitement against minorities, particularly against the Jews in Germany and Austria, That's why those counties have made it a crime to deny the Holocaust and that's why the British historian, David Irving, was imprisoned in Austria for denying it.
    I support strong legislation to criminalise public incitement to violence against minorities, whether Jews, homos, Islamics, Christians or any other group.
    And no, opinions .

    @ Jack : since when did you get to pronounce on who deserves to live in USA ? Are you from Arizona, by any chance ?

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | May 5, 2010 3:33:24 AM


  24. It surprises me greatly that you seem so eager to make yourself such a fool on this issue Tank. From our previous discussions I could see that, though you are an insufferably obnoxious cuntbag, you clearly understood scientific skepticism and disinterested rational analysis at a very deep level, far more than virtually anyone else here. Your arguments against Jack are embarrassingly weak, he has identified the logically correct stance and has won. Very surprising for a reader of Harris and Hitchens et. al. Oh well.

    Posted by: Blake | May 5, 2010 4:16:22 AM


  25. Unfortunately, blake, that's not an argument. You simply don't have an argument and are resorting to ad hominem attack. Hitchens and Harris, though engaging writers, are neither philosophers nor scientists. You lack an education in both areas, I imagine, and are easily taken in by their words. They are good at phrasing other people's arguments...but they are other people's arguments, and there isn't an original idea between them. Dennett's a bit different, as he's written extensively in areas that do not concern "religion". he is an actual philosopher...just as dawkins is an actual biologist.

    Posted by: TANK | May 5, 2010 4:58:08 AM


  26. « | 1 2 3 »

Post a comment







Trending


« «Hundreds of Veterans to Lobby Congress, White House on DADT« «