Anti-Gay Street Preacher Awarded $21,650 For Wrongful Imprisonment

On September 17 of 2011, John Craven — a 57-year-old Christian preacher — was arrested by a mounted policeman in Manchester, England for “harassment and distress” when during a public soapbox sermon he told two gay teenagers that homosexuality is a sin and that God “hates sin, he loves the sinner.”

CravenAccording to Mr. Craven, “he was kept in cells for almost 15 hours where he was denied food, water and access to medication for his rheumatoid arthritis.” 

He was recently awarded a £13,000 ($21,650) out-of-court settlement over allegations of “wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and breach of human rights” by Manchester police.

Craven said:

“I preach the gospel which means good news and the love of God for all. The actions of the police have left me feeling nervous and anxious. I found the whole episode extremely distressing.

“It appears that the actions of the police were calculated to give me and other street preachers the impression that we could not preach the gospel in public without breaking the law and if we did we would be arrested.”

Alan Greene of the Greater Manchester Police said, “We can acknowledge that we did make mistakes and kept the claimant in custody for too long.”

The settlement comes “after a three-year battle that cost him more than £50,000 in legal expenses.”


  1. rjinva says

    I wonder if he will ever realize that his actions may have left those gay teens feeling nervous and anxious; if perhaps they found the whole episode extremely distressing.

  2. June says

    Everyone has the right to there opinion. The idea that preaching bible truth can get you arrested…is not surprising. Paul went to prison, so this gentlman is in good company. God bless him.

  3. Ulf says

    Except British laws on speech aren’t the same as in the US and tho he is entitled to his opinion, he had no right verbally assaulting two teenagers with his false religious dogma.
    Paul also said to obey the law of the land, thus your implication he was a martyr for the *cause* isn’t supported by scripture.
    He also forgot that Jesus told him to go forth and preach the good news, not beat people over the head with condemnation and confrontation.
    If Jesus wants someone to change after they have accepted him as their savior, then Jesus will change them, not this bozo or you!

  4. Klien says

    Can you imagine if we had “gay preachers” screaming at heterosexuals to be gay or support gay rights at every corner of every major city like we do these Christians? people constantly overlook just how MILITANT most Christians are

  5. Paul says

    Few things missing in this article. He wasn’t preaching about gay people. The teens went to him and asked his views on gay people, he stopped preaching to the street and quietly told the teens that his opinion didn’t matter and that the bible had something about immoral sexual something-or-other in Revelations.

    They started taunting him (and kissing, but whatever) and then they went to get the police. While we can all empathise with the teens, they were trying to trap him and create a problem. And that’s sort of fine, actually. Ballsy. But when they got coppers involved? That’s tricky.

    He was arrested and held for hours for answering a question, then the police mistreated him. Nobody covering this in the UK likes this guy and we sort of pride ourselves on a general distaste for loud religion. Whether he should’ve been arrested has people divided. Also, he made a net loss of £35,000+ so it’s not like the judge was rewarding him.

    Basically, this wasn’t some Phelpsian sociopath terrifying dewy eyed children. Love this site though. Great reporting otherwise!

  6. Jon says

    @ Paul; you’re just an anonymous disembodied voice on the internet. If you’re going to make a point, you better be able to back it up.
    I’m calling you out as a LIAR.

  7. Paul says Pick an article, and maybe be less hostile? It comes too easy when you, too, are an “anonymous disembodied voice.”

    This article is strictly accurate, but leaves out certain details. My intention was to add a few of those details to show that the world isn’t quite as atrocious as this article implies. Because when I read it I thought, if this was the first and only time I’d heard this story, I’d be feeling pretty angry/sad. This is the second time I’ve ventured into a comments section in my life. Didn’t know I had to cite my references. Feel like I’m back at uni! Anyway. Thanks for being a sweetheart.

  8. MCraw says

    Up next: ban the bible. How else can you be free without the shackles of morality being brought up every now and again to remind me I’m a sinner? Who wants to think of Jehovah when you fornicate anyway?

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