Outlaw street preachers says Archdeacon Martin
by Jenny Taylor, Lapido Media:
A TOP clergyman has said street preaching should be outlawed.
Archdeacon of Oxford, the Venerable Martin Gorick, said: ‘Street preaching can incite to religious hatred. I think it should be outlawed.’
His remarks arose after two ‘American-style’ street preachers in Bristol were convicted last week of a ‘religiously aggravated public order offence’ under the Public Order Act 1998.
Michael Overd of Creech St Michael, Somerset and Michael Stockwell of Selden, New York were fined £300 and ordered to pay costs after a magistrate at Bristol Magistrates Court found them guilty of disorderly conduct and using ‘threatening and abusive words … likely to cause alarm’.
A video circulating on the web records one of the men, Michael Overd, preaching about ‘sinners’ before he is asked by a policeman to ‘disperse’ for ‘winding people up’, and is then manhandled and arrested as people cheer.
Mr Gorick gave his reaction on the day of the hearing after he had read a paper on blasphemy to the Council of Christian Muslim Relations in High Wycombe, a former chair manufacturing town northwest of London.
He said: ‘It’s clear that as a society we are open and tolerant of most beliefs and practices.
‘As a Christian I am very happy that we do not prosecute people for blasphemy in this country. We have seen in history how terrible it is when political power, or religious majorities attack religious minorities.
See also: Street preachers convicted for quoting the Bible in ‘modern day heresy trial’, from Christian Concern