Prayer as harassment: the curious case of Christian Hacking

Nov 13, 2019 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

When does prayer become harassment? That’s the essential question at the heart of the recent arrest of a Christian called Christian Hacking, who was praying in a public space outside the Marie Stopes abortion clinic in Ealing, West London. He wasn’t sporting banners of aborted bloody foetuses, or yelling into a megaphone about ‘baby murderers’, or even staring piously surrounded by candles and incense in the hope of inducing guilt in the pregnant women about to terminate the “product of conception” in their wombs. He was just on his knees praying, which for someone with a broken back who uses a wheelchair is something of a witness.

Was that the problem? His prayer was an obtrusive public witness?

He was arrested and carried into a police van for breaching the Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) outside this abortion clinic, which was put in place by Ealing Council last year to form a 100m ‘buffer zone’ to protect pregnant women from harassment by Christians who don’t want them to evacuate the “product of conception” from their wombs. The PSPO prohibits people from engaging “in any act of approval/disapproval or attempted act of approval/disapproval, with respect to issues related to abortion services, by any means. This includes but is not limited to graphic, verbal or written means, prayer or counselling.”

When Mr Hacking asked the police what he had done wrong, bodycam footage shows one responding: “l’m saying you’re in breach of the court order.” To which Mr Hacking responded: “So it’s a criminal offence to pray, according to the court order, it’s a criminal offence to pray outside of a place where children are being killed?” The officer then stated: “I believe that I’ve given you the answer.”

Christian Hacking was just praying. He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to having committed any crime, but the case collapsed because the arresting officer failed to caution him at the point of arrest: he was already in the van when they read him his rights, which constituted an irregular arrest.

Read here


Related Posts


Share This