Christian discrimination cases
A victory for the street preachers whose case was HEART’s April 2017 cover story
Christian campaigners are celebrating court decisions in favour of three street preachers.
Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were arrested after preaching in Bristol city centre and fined in February, but Judge Picton overruled the conviction at Bristol Crown Court in July, saying he was “conscious of the right of freedom of speech and freedom of expression”.
Changing the cultural climate will require the boldness of a revivalist rather than a politician’s pragmatism
It is a year since Theresa May became Prime Minister after six years as Home Secretary.
In that year it does not seem as if anything has improved for Christians who stick their heads above the parapet by graciously refusing to bake a cake, offering to pray for a colleague or quoting the Bible in public (see the report on street preacher Mike Overd in HEART April/May 2017 called ‘Battle for the Bible’).
Rev Andrew Symes of Anglican Mainstream answers three of the most commonly voiced questions:
Are there other precautions these street preachers should have taken or that others should learn from for the future?
I personally don’t like street preachers who just shout at passers by.
I’ve been involved in street evangelism in the past where music and drama can draw a crowd; there can be a challenging but winsome message, the distribution of tracts and the offer of chat and prayer on a one to one basis.
So I think there can be street preaching that is effective and attractive, or annoying and off-putting. But that’s a matter of taste, and people shouldn’t be arrested for bad taste! If someone is courageous enough to preach in the street, they should perhaps work with local churches to make sure they are in the right place and doing it in a way that attracts people and doesn’t just repel them. I’m talking about the method…
llustration: Tim Charnick
By Philip Quenby
This nation currently has a serious blind spot, arguably as bad as anything that ever beset our ancestors. We have a problem with truth
We have created a tangle of competing rights so thick that even the best judges in the land struggle to cut through the undergrowth
Only a fool or a charlatan would argue that Britain has ever been a model of perfection. Yet the fact remains that for centuries this land set an example to the world of impartial justice and good governance.
This is not an idle boast. It is evident in comparative murder statistics, which are the best proxy we have for levels of violence and disorder down the ages and across societies. Right up to the late 1940s, the murder rate in England was substantially below that in (for example) the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Italy.
To understand why this country was so distinctive, we need to appreciate that it was not chance that brought about our system of government and our laws. They were instituted in an age when Christian belief was taken for granted: until very recently our laws were self-consciously Christian in inspiration and application. We should not underestimate how they have contributed greatly to our prosperity, freedoms and security.
Yet we are in the process of dismantling this heritage and replacing it with a confection of lies and half-truths.
What would YOU like the new Prime Minister to do? After the recent turbulent political events, there is a new, apparently steady, hand at the top of government.
But unlike her temporary opponent, Andrea Leadsom, Mrs May has a track record of six years in charge of the Home Office – the government department which arguably has the most power to affect the lives of Christians.
Calling for an open and free society: Andrea Williams of Christian Concern
A LEADING CAMPAIGNER FOR CHRISTIANS’ RIGHTS HAS CHALLENGED THERESA MAY TO HALT THE PROSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS IN THE WORKPLACE.
In an open letter to the new Prime Minister, Andrea Williams of Christian Concern writes that Theresa May’s tenure at the Home Office saw an ‘alarming’ increase in Christian organisations being forced to water down or deny their ethos and ‘countless’ instances of Christians being side-lined.
A former Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner is going to appeal a ruling which found her guilty of serious misconduct after she asked to pray with the family of a murder victim.
Vilified for their Christian stance: Daniel McArthur, his wife Amy and their two children (photo: Christian Institute)
The Christian owners of a bakery who lost a discrimination case after refusing to add a pro-gay marriage slogan to a cake are appealing the decision.
Three senior judges will deliver their judgment at a later date, after a four-day hearing at the Court of Appeal in Belfast in May.