Freedom of Religion

As Theresa May preaches freedom to proclaim faith in Christ, street preachers are convicted of a public order offence

“How refreshing to hear a Prime Minister talk about their Christian faith, and sound like they mean it,” writes Tim Stanley in the Telegraph. He continues:

At a Downing Street reception for religious leaders on Tuesday, Theresa May said that people must feel able “to speak about their faith, and that absolutely includes their faith in Christ.”

“Faith in Christ?” I took an involuntary breath. Did you mean to say that Prime Minister? It sounds so, well, faithy.

She does mean it, and if Mrs May finds some way to put those words into action then it’ll do all of us good.

Well, not quite all of us (screeches the National Secular Society), but it would indeed do a lot of people a lot of good if the Prime Minister could find some way of putting her words into action, which politicians tend not to do when the going gets tough. In this case, it’s ‘s a pretty big ‘if’, not least because it would involve a bit of rowing back on equality and a bit of re-balancing of human rights: it would require a pretty strong assertion of ‘reasonable accommodation‘ for Christians once again to be free to speak publicly about their faith in Christ.

That is faith in the Christ of thorns and nails; not so much faith in the Christ of duvets and fluffy pink things. The Christ who came to bring a sword, to set sons against fathers and daughters against mothers, to separate the sheep from the goats, he’s not very palatable these days. But the rainbow Christ, the peaceful, all-inclusive, non-judgmental Teleletubby Christ, he’s cool. There was an array of ecclesiologies and christologies represented at the Prime Minister’s reception, and she welcomed them all:

“I am delighted in particular that we have here with us today people from all parts of the church and the United Kingdom – including the Black Majority Churches, the Network Churches, Parliament’s own Church, St Margaret’s Westminster, and church leaders such as Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Sentamu, and the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, who is standing down after more than 20 years.

“Can I just say, Richard has been one of the great leaders of the Christian faith in our country – he is not just someone with an extraordinary presence and richness of thought who has in twenty years almost doubled church membership in his diocese and established over 30 new churches.

“I am sure you will join with me in paying tribute to his outstanding leadership and service – and wishing him well in the years ahead.

And the wine flowed, the strawberry pancake canapés were scoffed (it was Shove Tuesday, after all), and everybody smiled and smiled.

But while they were listening to the Prime Minister talk about sacrifice, service and ministry; while she lauded those who comfort the sick, feed the starving, weep with the bereaved, and volunteer as aid workers in war-torn parts of the world; while she spoke of celebrating the role of Christianity in our country; of our “very strong tradition” of religious tolerance and freedom of speech, two street preachers were being convicted of a public order offence in Bristol Magistrates’ Court.

Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell had been preaching in Bristol’s Broadmead Shopping Centre last year, and their subject was sin, salvation and the uniqueness of Christ. This tends not to go down very well with those who enjoy sin, don’t want to be saved, or believe that all ways lead to God. Christian Concern recount:

They took it in turns to preach, and as they did so, a crowd gathered. At points, the crowd was loud and aggressive, with some swearing and being abusive towards the men. There was also, however, debate between the preachers and members of the crowd, especially on the differences between Islam and Christian belief. Several hecklers appeared to be supportive of Islam.

Well, you can guess what happened next. In order to placate the agitators, the police silenced and arrested the Christian street preachers:

During the four-day trial, prosecutor Ian Jackson said: “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.” And it seems that if you believe it to be a truth and you proclaim it as truth, you may be found guilty under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998, for using “threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress”. Mention Jesus (the thorny naily one), and the offence becomes religiously aggravated.

“We must reaffirm our determination to stand up for the freedom of people of all religions to practise their beliefs in peace and safety,” said Theresa May. “And I hope to take further measures as a government to support this,” she added, tantalisingly.

Faith in Christ is offensive to those who are being lost. Preaching the cross is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks (1Cor 1:23). Is it offensive to point that out? Isn’t it a bit (shh..) ‘racist’? If it is a breach of Section 31 of the Public Order Act 1998 to preach it in the public square, isn’t it a breach of Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 to blog about it?

  • Maalaistollo

    Well, it’s time to put your money where your mouths are and support the work of the Christian Legal Centre, because nobody else – especially in the institutional churches – shows any interest in preserving the freedom to preach the gospel in public.

    • Richard B

      Quite right and have done so for some years – and others are taking a Stand too (eg Voice for Justice at http://vfjuk.org.uk/about/)

      • Maalaistollo

        Thanks for the link. I confess that I had not previously heard of Voice for Justice. It appears to be very sound.

    • David

      Quite ! That’s my position as well !

      • whiskymike

        and me

  • Dreadnaught

    Wherever goes Islam – Violence is its constant companion.

  • Theresa May is a consummate Conservative politician in that she gives the thoroughly believable impression of being pro-British and pro-Christian while carrying forward the long-term programme to wreck both Britain and Christianity by means of Third World immigration and attendant Islamization.

    And the programme is coming along just fine, as Munby and Beatson observed six years ago: ‘We sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths. We are sworn (we quote the judicial oath) to “do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.” But the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity, in whatever form.’ Click here to download the judgment.

    • David

      Nicely summed up !

    • Dominic Stockford

      She may be Conservative, but she is about as conservative as a socialist.

      • Tory MP Stephen Crabb says that ‘the need for a Jewish state remains as crucial now as it was in 1948’.

        Tory MP Stephen Crabb told the British last month that ‘there is nothing on the horizon to suggest that achieving any significant reduction in immigration is achievable or even desirable.’

        Tory MP Stephen Crabb supports Israel as the Jewish homeland but wants Britain to be subjected to more and more immigration and Islamization.

        Tory MP Stephen Crabb is a Christian. With friends like him, Christianity doesn’t need enemies.

        • Pontius Jack

          Stephen Crabb’s ambitions for high political office exploded on the launch pad. One is reminded of a similar under Mrs Thatcher, one John Moore. Perhaps Providence works its mysterious ways still?

  • len

    We have a death cult wreaking havoc worldwide,but the soft target are’ the Christian’ so lets deal with them.
    This attitude hasn`t changed much since the time that Nero blamed the destruction of Rome on the Christians.

    • Pontius Jack

      That’s very naughty Len. We must not rock the boat in our delicately nuanced multicultural society. Only those denominations that have big churches and a professional dress wearing priesthood can be trusted to approach these matters sensitively, i.e. not try at all. I can find you the relevant 80,000 word treatise from the Magisterium if you like.

      • len

        Very PC Mr Pontious Jack…Have I met you somewhere before?.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Yes you have. Look underneath your shoe !

  • CliveM

    The Prosecutors argument is incredible. It’s hard to know what to say. Putting to one side for a moment whether (or not) Jesus is the only God, on what basis does he say that this cannot be the truth? Is he saying that the British Courts have decided there are multiple Gods? Or no God? Is he saying that the Preachers deliberately lied by making this claim? Or is making a mistaken claim now a criminal offence? Or can you now only make claims that everyone agrees with and can’t be offended by?

    This is potentially a massive limitation too free speech.

    I’m actually in a state of some shock. When and who decided this liberty to Preach in the public sphere needed to be curtailed? Is there any Christian truth that is now acceptable?

    Today how would John Wesley fair? Yes I had heard Preachers being arrested for preaching about homosexuality, but this is fundamental and goes to the heart of our faith.

    I needs to be fought.

    • Watchman

      The CPS is acting on behalf of the one who wears the crown. I wonder if Her Majesty agrees with the prosecutor’s remarks? If he is expressing an opinion on Her Majesty’s behalf should he not resign; the Rev Gavin Ashenden comes to mind…..

      • CliveM

        I think that’s overstating the link and direct connection between the two offices.

        • Watchman

          If we forget the Rev Ashenden for a moment, would you agree that the CPS is acting on behalf of Her Majesty?

          • CliveM

            Only symbolically. The Queen doesn’t frame the laws, she (again symbolically) gives Royal Assent to the laws passed by Parliament. As she must have given Royal Assent to this law, it will be reasonable for the Prosecutor to believe he was acting properly in relation to her requirements.

  • CliveM

    Another thought. As it is demonstrably true that Mohamed was, in today’s terms a paedophile, rapist and killer, would preaching that be acceptable in the public space?

    Hmm, I’m not going to try.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Would this judgment apply to Islamic street preachers? If not, why not? Would it also apply to atheists who, after all, have no proof they are right? Would this apply to say, the Bishop of London, when he calls upon Almighty God at the Remembrance Day Service, and if not, why not? Does this only apply to little people? Sigh……..I know, I am asking pointless questions, but really this sort of think is an outrage.

    • len

      Its’ the little people’ who preach the Gospel Mrs Proudie. Those in their palaces are too rich and have too much to lose by being provocative and’ rocking the boat.’

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I fear you are right, len…but this has made me very angry indeed.

        • len

          Me too.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Even so. Such hypocrites in charge of the civil law!

  • Richard B

    In having been taught the Christian values of decency and honour in the post-WWII days and respect for the constabulary, I take deep exception to every display of police and magisterial bigotry supportive of venomous, irrational hatred against any citizen. It is a satanic stain upon our nation – but as its seen the Lake of Fire looming over the horizon it wants to take as many as it can with it! Hence, increasingly ugly times.
    There’s good encouragement, however, in Tim Stanley’s confirmation as a secular journalist of what some prophetical voices (outside CoE, of course!) have been delivering during the last couple of years about ‘changing winds’. He writes, “The age of political correctness is over…A mighty wind is rushing over the political landscape”.

  • len

    The ruler of this present[corrupt] world system doesn`t particularly care what religion you preach(he actually actively encourages ‘the worst sort of religions’) but the thing he really hates is ‘biblical Christianity’.
    So whenever the true Gospel is preached it will be opposed vehemently.
    Just look at the history of the martyrs who preached the Gospel as Jesus , the disciples, and many others did.

  • John Ross

    It is a bit rich trying to implicate the PM in a court decision. If nothing else Bristol Magistrates’ Court deplorable verdict illustrates the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary.

    • David

      Do I understand you to be saying that the leading politicians are innocent, even after creating laws that facilitate the suppression of free speech, which includes Gospel street preaching based upon that very book, The Bible, upon which we are invited to swear to tell the truth in Court ?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        No politician is innocent…I offer Mr. Blair as proof…

        • David

          Yes. The Blair creature – the source of many of the UK’s problems.

      • John Ross

        The verdict was that of the court, not the PM or politicians. To be sure the legislature needs to take another look at this pernicious law, but let us recognise and not confuse – as I think Archbishop Cranmer does – the importance of a constitutional separation of powers. As for swearing on the Bible, I don’t know when you were last in court, but all that is required is an affirmation of truth before testifying. Many courts no longer ask witnesses to swear on the Bible, and nowhere in law is it mandatory to do so.

        • David

          Tucked away within that answer is, I think, a tacit agreement that the politicians, and therefore surely the leading ones, are responsible for creating the legal framework of laws that have allowed such persecutions to occur. However I don’t sense any rush amongst the legislature to review their destructive products.

          • John Ross

            You simply cannot blame the law. The police intervened in a public order situation, made the arrests and charged the speakers. The prosecution occurred and the court passed down its verdict. None of this need have happened if (a) the preachers had been responsive to police requests to be less inflammatory at the time, and (b) if the police had not pressed charges, but cautioned them and sent them on their way.

            Those opposed to the Gospel will continue to go for such easy-picked ‘low-hanging fruit’ where there is much sympathy for law and order and little for the protagonists. They – the opponents of the Gospel – will thus be able to establish an anti-Christian atmosphere around legal precedent which will be used later against much more reasonable actions from the rest of us. We need to be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. I fear the Lord’s counsel in this matter has been stood on its head.

          • Dominic Stockford

            The Gospel IS inflammatory. We can do nothing about that.

          • Pontius Jack

            Well said. We simply can’t have so-called Christians, no matter how well-intentioned, going around believing Luther’s nonsense about a ‘priesthood of all believers’. Leave it to the professionals who’ve done such a good job maintaining the Christian nature of the country.

          • Merchantman

            It’s not just Luther who spoke up for a wider priesthood but as you are aware Hebrews epistle itself.

          • Watchman

            I don’t think the apostle Paul would have taken your advice.

            2 Corinthians 11:24-26 HCSB
            [24] Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews. [25] Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. [26] On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; …

          • David

            I am not “simply blaming the law”. Clearly a process has been at work, as indeed anyone can see. But neither should we fail to note that the root cause of all this are laws made by politicians in Parliament, that all too easily lead to situations like this.

    • Dominic Stockford

      George Whitefield preached in public on a regular basis, in a manner which caused riots and public insurrection on a regular basis. He was not arrested, not even once. Why? Because the law didn’t permit it. Today’s politicians could easily make it so once more.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      The video makes clear that the police officer clearly had an agenda (quite possibly one that he has been instructed to have) and was not applying the law impartially.

      The people likely to create a breach of the peace were those in the crowd shout and gesticulating. They are the one who should have been issed with a ‘dispersal notice’.

      After the arrest the PC says that one of the specifics of the offence is ‘challenging Muslims’. Hardly an impartial point.

  • PessimisticPurple

    I’m sure Christians are not the only people who evangelize in the public square. The lefties seem to be out calling forth the revolution most Saturdays. Can’t we start complaining to plod about basically ANYONE who’s talking in public, just for wickedness? Choke them in their own ‘human rights’.

    • Thomas Moon

      Much ‘human rights’ legislation is deliberately contradictory. You have the right to free speech but you also have the right not to be offended by what others say. Plod will decide which ‘human right’ wins in any particular situation. Where there is any conflict, you can be sure it won’t be those of Christians, heterosexuals or whites.

      • PessimisticPurple

        Dunno about that. I may be wrong, but as I understand it, what constitutes harassment, alarm and distress is entirely subjective. If you say you’re distressed, you’re distressed, and it’s not for Plod to contradict you. If they refuse to act, make a formal complaint against them.

        • Dominic Stockford

          To which you will receive a reply some months later, and find it so anodyne as to be meaningless.

          • PessimisticPurple

            Coppers are lazy and idle. They hate having to deal with complaints. They always roll over for the anti-Christians because the anti-Christians give them the most earache. Get a name as a stirrer and a trouble maker and they’ll roll over for you. Line of least resistance.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Your “human rights” depend on which of the 9 “protected characteristics” apply to you.

        Protected Characteristics
        https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/equality-act/protected-characteristics

  • David

    The content and tone of this article is absolutely on the button.
    Mrs Maybe is, like most politicians, a vote harvesting professional. So with her background as a vicar’s daughter she is careful to project the image of being a Christian, and even gives a hint of a promise to restore freedom of speech, but nothing definite emerges from her.
    Now whilst singing hymns and reciting the ancient creed in one of her constituency’s village churches, she probably believes in what she says. Somehow she manages to square that profession of faith in the one Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with furthering her career by supporting what are undoubtedly the anti-Christian laws that we have imported from the EU, and the anti-western UN.
    So in practice she is acts as a humanist, at best, and at times as an agent for PC cultural Marxism with its unworkable philosophy of moral and culture relativism and variegated choose your own sexuality.
    The best response that committed conservative Christians can make is to continue writing to their MPs and offering financial support, according to their means, to Christian Concern and, or the Christian Institute. They alone offer practical support against the massed attacks from the political establishment, the judiciary, the biased CPS and the brainwashed, careerists in the upper echelons of the police forces, all of which are determined to stamp out the flame of Christian Truth upon which was built our sense of public and individual decency, our democracy, Common Law and Constitution, all of which have been degraded by politicians post the 1960s.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      “…a vote harvesting professional”…what a fabulous and pertinent phrase, dear David…forgive me if I pinch it and use it later…

      • David

        Thank you Mrs Proudie.
        Yes of course you can use it.
        You scale the heights of literary excellence, dear lady, whilst I merely aim for clarity.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          You flatterer you…but bless you!

          • David

            Blushes an even deeper shade of pink !

  • Richard B

    I was musing in the early hours on recent words from the Lord about His taking widespread action against evil (eg as in wheat and tares parable) and thought it would be good for The Spirit of the Fear of the Lord, as in Isaiah 11:2, to start sweeping across our nation. (That is as a blessing; as in my being convicted of sinfulness upon my unexpected encounter with Jesus.) Amen anyone?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes. We need a revival, which is the work of the Holy Spirit.

      • Watchman

        But it is our role to earnestly pray, a discipline we seem to have laid to one side.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I (and some others who blog here) take part in the ‘Concert of Prayer for the Revival of Christian Faith in our Nation’ – where several churches up and down the country join together to pray, specifically, for Christian revival. We spend 1.5 hours on the set day (an older congregation) other spend 2 hours, and sometimes more – all on the same day at the same time. The next occasion is on April 1st, from 10am onwards.

          • Watchman

            Sorry, Dominic, I wasn’t having a swipe. I’ve just been reading Leonard Ravenhill on revival and am bemoaning the fact that churches do not seem to dedicate time to prayer in the way that they did in the past.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Understood, no problem. It was a great opportunity to remind people of this event – based in Leeds, some in the South East, us in Teddington, some in Devon, and so on.

          • Watchman

            Glad to have been of assistance.

          • Jon of GSG

            Wow – it’s probably because it’s late but I’ve read that three times and I still can’t quite grasp it. My church happens to be starting a revival prayer group tomorrow, but if we can link into something wider that would be nice. Is there any website or anything for this concert of prayer etc etc?

          • Dominic Stockford

            If you can find the details for Christ Church, Leeds (Crossgates), the pastor there should be able to help you.

          • Jon of GSG

            Thank you! In the light of a reasonable hour I also understand what you wrote there now too…

  • In principle I support the right to preach in public, and I certainly abhor arguments such as those quoted from the prosecution. Why can it not be a truth that Jesus is the only way to God? I assume he means it can’t be certain. But if public speech had to be limited to certainties there’d be very little of it left.

    But I still cringe whenever I pass a street preacher – except on the very rare occasion that they are actually any good. Christianity needs a much better street presence. In Birmingham city centre on any given weekend the Islamic and JW public stalls are always so much more enticingly presented than the raving Christian street preachers. We need a new movement for effective city centre street evangelism.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Islamic and JW public stalls in Teddington are manned by people with dull faces, no life in their eyes, and a complete lack of any discernible interest in doing anything beyond ticking a box or two in their ‘done some works’ list.

      Christian Street Preachers need to preach the Gospel and not get into ‘debates’ with those listening. You cannot reason someone into faith, it is the gift of the Holy Spirit alone. Simply present the facts (which includes that Jesus is the only way to God, and IS God) and trust in the Holy Spirit to do what He wishes, and go where He wills.

  • Pontius Jack

    This is all very difficult and divisive, and it’s very unhelpful that evangelical Christians outside the churches of the Apostolic Succession take it upon themselves to spread their controversial message in the streets. Of course one can see they are probably well intentioned, but it’s a much more complex issue than they think. We need a multi-faith inter-disciplinary work-stream approach to consider how this issue is to be resolved and to produce a 50,000 word report with recommendations to be further considered by broader community groups.. Education must be the way forward for these radicals, although one can understand the authorities’ response.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Do dry your hands thoroughly…

    • JayelSmithers

      OK I nearly fell for it. Well done.

      • Pontius Jack

        I’m sure I don’t know what you mean.

    • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

      Provoke and enrage the rabble, then use the sword to defend oneself against the savages, trannies, queers and kiddy fiddlers.

      … hic … pass the bottle.

  • carl jacobs

    To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.

    I wish this quote had been placed in context. I suspect he is arguing that there is no such thing as a true religious statement and that therefore religion is by definition not a matter of truth.

    Is there a more complete version of the quote somewhere?

  • Dominic Stockford

    “prosecutor Ian Jackson said: “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth.”

    This is the Crown Prosecutor, are we to take it that, therefore, the official position of the Government/State for whom he speaks is that Jesus is NOT the only God? It appears so, despite the facts. Which means the CofE will be disestablished within the next couple of years, and people like me will be locked up for preaching this in my own church, and publishing newspapers saying the same thing. This isn’t prophecy, it’s simply inevitable.

    • len

      The fact of Christians not being allowed by the State to preach the Full Gospel of Jesus Christ puts the UK in a position similar to the Christians in communist countries.
      Of course the position of Christians in the UK is nowhere near as bad as the fate of Christians in Islamic countries, but the illusion of the UK being ‘a free and open society’ has probably gone now?.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I believe so. Anyone who preaches the Gospel in public, even simply reads the Scriptures in public, is now open to arrest and conviction should someone make a complaint.

        Such an outcome doesn’t appear on the radar for those who publicly promulgate any of the other faiths (except Judaism).

        • len

          It appears its only Judeo/Christian faiths that irritate the authorities beyond reason..That’s probably because the authorities are too scared to look at the real threat.

          • Watchman

            Len, both Jews and Christians are being persecuted, and we should not be surprised for it was all prophecied: the Jews from the exile
            Deuteronomy 28:65-67
            [65] You will find no peace among those nations, and there will be no resting place for the sole of your foot. There the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and a despondent spirit. [66] Your life will hang in doubt before you. You will be in dread night and day, never certain of survival. [67] In the morning you will say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and in the evening you will say, ‘If only it were morning!’— because of the dread you will have in your heart and because of what you will see. …

            and the Christians in Matthew 24 as part of Yeshua’s warning of the end times.

            Matthew 24:7-11 HCSB
            [7] For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. [8] All these events are the beginning of birth pains. [9] “Then they will hand you over for persecution, and they will kill you. You will be hated by all nations because of My name. [10] Then many will take offense, betray one another and hate one another. [11] Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. …

    • Peter Hitchens

      This is indeed the position under the Equality Act 2010, which made all religions equal and, de facto, removed any remaining general privileges accorded to Christianity ( a few particular privileges to do with Church internal affairs were retained). A current battle over attempts by Clavinists to retain Sabbath observance in the Western isles has also turned partly on the resulting inability of local authorities to use Christian arguments for enforcing such observance.

      De jure Establishment, like the Coronation Oath, remains technically in force and has vestigial privileges such as the Bishops in the (probably doomed) House of Lords but cannot in reality be asserted and will not survive much beyond the reign of the current monarch, whose Coronation Service cannot possibly be the same, or contain the same pledges, as that of 1953.The Equality Act was passed by a Labour government, but received only token opposition from the Tories (A Mrs Theresa May was the Opposition spokesperson at the time). It was based (like so many of our supposed Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments)upon directives from the European Commission and both major parties knew they were obliged to dress it up as English law and pass it. It is this aspect of our EU membership that has always most interested me, and I see as yet no sign of any attempt to untangle it.

      The 1986 Public Order Act was mildly amended to make it slightly less appalling, but it is still an atrocious assault on free speech which would be struck down by the US Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment. But we don’t have one of those. Worse, we lack people in public life who understand these things.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Thank you for the clarification Peter. I shall await the arrival of the boys in blue with even more expectation. My various activities make it almost inevitable.

        • chefofsinners

          The Hitch? Amongst us degenerates?

          Some Samaritan help him back to the right side of the tracks.

  • Sarky

    Seems that one of these ‘preachers’ was convicted of something similar a couple of years ago.
    It appears that they are going out of their way to offend people.
    Is it not hypocrital that people on yesterdays blog, who were calling for the letter of the law to be upheld at any cost, are now bleating when that law is then turned on them??

    • len

      How were these Christians offending people?.
      ‘The crowd were loud and aggressive’ How many of the crowd were arrested?..

      • Sarky

        The question should be ‘why were the crowd loud and aggressive?’
        If the preachers were after a reaction they certainly got it.

        • len

          You didn`t answer the question….

          • Martin

            Len

            He dare not.

        • len

          OK so I will go to prison for preaching the gospel. I accept that .
          I expect all these child cutters will be going there for their beliefs too?.

          • Sarky

            Depends of youre preaching in love or hate.

          • len

            Depends on your perception.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You wont like sharing a cell with them Len, especially if what you say is true….that you are a Daniel Craig lookalike. Jack is a kind Christian and will visit you with a cake.

          • len

            A cake, with a file in it I hope?.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Well Len you would be well advised to reconsider throwing cabbages at Catholics if you want a file in the cake.Besides if Abdullah your cell mate find out you have a weapon, things might not fare too well for you.

        • len

          Could use the same mentality to excuse the rape of a woman.”well she dressed so provocatively so the rapist wasn’t to blame”Or a thief stealing something “The display was so tempting, I just couldn`t help myself.”.
          .

          • Except they are supposed to be representatives of Christ, behaving in His image. Jesus never offended sinners or non-believers. He attacked those who knew better.

          • William Lewis

            How do you know who was offended and who wasn’t by what Jesus said? How do you know why some of the people in Bristol were offended?

        • carl jacobs

          Because they didn’t like what the men were saying and it’s socially acceptable to dislike Christians. Just a thought.

          You don’t have to be aggressive to generate an angry response.

        • Dreadnaught

          I’d have thought that you would be a firm supporter of freedom of speech – how wrong was I.

          • Sarky

            I am. But free speach doesnt mean you can say what you want with no thought to others.

          • Dreadnaught

            We have slander laws and free speech does mean you can say what you like if its truthful opinion. Its only recently that laws that protect people from hearing what they disagree with have been introduced and thereby crippled the spirit of freedom of expression.
            None of this existed until Muslims overtly politicised their presence to enable them to dominate the public space and we let them..

        • Martin

          Sarky

          For the same reason you come here. They hate the God they have rebelled against and will seek every opportunity to attack His servants. Thus, whenever Christians are obedient to God they will be opposed, however right they are.

          • Sarky

            You can’t hate something you don’t believe in!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Of course you can.

          • Sarky

            Do you hate aliens?

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I’ve no problem with them, as long as they’re not here illegally.

          • Sarky

            Try answering the question!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I did.

          • Sarky

            You know you didn’t, because you know that if you did your position would disappear!!!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Seems to me that you are throwing a wobbly because you didn’t get the answer you wanted.

          • Sarky

            No, just at your obvious evasion.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            I answered your question., where is the evasion?

      • Merchantman

        The two Christians were merely doing what Jesus told them to do. Noble to stand in the gap and be arrested. They have also done a service in showing the bias of the system that it may be challenged and changed.
        The nasties are the ones who closed down the reasonable freedom of speech.
        Cant they appeal their conviction?

    • carl jacobs

      No. Because cutting off a girl’s clitoris is not remotely comparable to making a public statement that someone else doesn’t like.

      Not your finest hour, Sarky.

      • Sarky

        I agree. But the law is the law.
        A robbery is not comparable to murder, but the thief should still answer for their crime.
        You can’t have it both ways Carl.

        • carl jacobs

          Do you seriously think the police would have arrested a Muslim for “hate speech”. When you answer “No” – remembering as you certainly will the many public statements made by Muslims in the past – then you can tell me the true purpose of this law.

          “I am offended and I am loading my AK47!”

          “We can’t have that! Arrest the offensive speaker.”

        • Dreadnaught

          The Law is an Ass in this instance.

  • Dreadnaught

    Similar to the discussion yesterday, th laws as they stand make for bad Law. In this instance, that fact is compounded by bad policing, resulting in very dubious court convictions.
    Offence is not given – it is only taken. If taken, and to such a degree that the people who deem themselves offended, resort to abusive, threatening or violent behaviour, then it is they, who are causing the breach of the peace.
    To proclaim that that you believe that your god of choice is the only god, is hardly a reason to convict when all religions make the same claim. The only group singled out for criminal action are the Christians, because they are the least likely (now) to resort to civil unrest when the same kind of claims made by Muslims get away with it.

    The most disturbing element of this is that our legislators in the Mother of Parliaments, have undermined one of the fundamental foundations of freedom in their misguided efforts to protect minority feelings. The have unintelligently legislated in haste, on vote sensitive abstact or subjective contexts such as hate, mental hurt and perceptions of ‘receiving’ offence, to the ludicrous extent that the police, and the social workers are trying to interpret and apply laws simply to avoid starting a riot.
    Its not the preachers, social workers or police who should be in the dock; it is the unfathomable laws.

    • David

      Yes, and therefore the politicians that created them.

      • Dreadnaught

        WE elected them; therefore we get the politicians we deserve.

        • David

          I agree with that. In a democracy one gets what one asks for, in theory anyway. But often the problem is that politicians do not disclose fully their intentions before the elections.

  • IanCad

    “Can’t this nasty evil little s**t be put away for good; better still, crucify the b***ard” Comment about the case in the Somerset County Gazette.

    Our wretched subjects seem quite square with the continuation of the forging of our own chains. Liberty is subject to the creeds of equality and safety. Self reliance is subordinated to the whims of the state and H&SE. Speech is curbed by a perverted police force. Religion is a matter for consensus; And we are due a shake up.

    It is to be noted that Michael Stockwell is an American. Poor chap, he completely misunderstood that in this Sceptered Isle; Common Law, Englishman’s Castle, English Liberty – that glorious notion forming the framework of their Bill of Rights. All those essentials of freedom, are but distant, quaint oddities in an overcrowded, fearful and conformist land.

    We need the American First Amendment. Let us form it into a statute of our own image:

    ” Parliament shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Again we have to look to the New World to help us liberate ourselves from the state of utter degradation we have sunk to.

    • David

      I tend to agree Ian.

    • betteroffoutofit

      They’re the most arrogant, ignorant, hypocritical **********s [choose your own epithet] on the planet. They’re the ones who set the model for everyone’s degradation … and they can’t even figure out the meaning of their own constitutional models. As for their fun and games with English language…

      Oh, and btw, I do know. I existed there for 40 years.

      • IanCad

        I can only conclude that 40 years must have been spent within the confines of one of their quite dreadful liberal colleges.

  • The Explorer

    It is a true statement that the Bible says no one comes to the Father except through Christ. That the assertion itself is true is unprovable and is a matter of faith. If that is what Ian Jackson means, no problem.

    But he might mean something else. George Orwell said somewhere that the best evidence against the truth of Christianity was the unconverted hordes of Asia. A God worth worshipping, or likely to exist, would have made Himself more widely known.

    • len

      God has given us all the evidence about Himself , the rest is up to us.
      We can examine the evidence or ignore it..

      • The Explorer

        You can look at the evidence and become a theist rather than an atheist. Will that take you through to a saving knowledge of Christ, or do you need access to revelation?

        Observing Nature may tell you that there is a God. But will it tell you that God is a Trinity?

        • carl jacobs

          Creation testifies to the power and glory of God. It does not testify to the concept of God. Men will be held to account for rejecting this revelation.

          The problem is not with the testimony. The problem is found in the one to whom the testimony is given.

          • The Explorer

            Absolutely agree about those who reject the revelation. That’s not Orwell’s point. Orwell’s pont is about being held to account for never having had access to the revelation.

            In Luke, Christ says that the servant who ignores the message will be punished more severely than the one who never received it. But if you never received it, how could you obey it, and why should you be punished at all?

          • carl jacobs

            But they have received it and therefore are without excuse. There are no innocent men. Every man is condemned by virtue of his rejection of general revelation. Romans 1.

          • The Explorer

            Why did the Athenians have a shrine to “an unknown God”if they had rejected general revelation?

          • carl jacobs

            They weren’t worshiping God. They were worshiping an unknown pagan god. It was simply an expression of their pagan worldview.

            Yes, greater light means greater accountability.

          • Are you suggesting then that a man who, through no fault of his own, worships a false god, in ways consistent with his conscience and limited understanding, may be saved?

          • The Explorer

            Well-phrased question. I would say yes to that, not because of the man’s own efforts, but because he responded to Christ as best he knew.

          • carl jacobs

            How do you arrive at these conclusions?

            No, I wasn’t. I was asserting that natural man (confer with Romans 8) rejects general revelation, suppresses the truth in unrighteousness, and deliberately chooses to worship rocks when he knows he should worship God. Note that means God and not the general concept of deity. No man is therefore able to say “It wasn’t my fault.”

          • How does man know the true God without revelation? God had to reveal Himself to Abraham and Incarnate Himself to bring us closer to knowing Him. General revelation that there is a God doesn’t tell us much about His attributes or plan and it doesn’t naturally lead to the truth in Christ.

          • carl jacobs

            Creation does not testify to the existence of a generic undefined god. It testifies to the existence and nature of God Himself. That is a specific testimony by which men may know something sufficient of God.

            For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:19-20

            General revelation does not just tell us that there is a God. It tells us who that God is. That men willfully reject this testimony is a result of man’s sinful nature. The problem is in man. The problem is not in the revelation.

          • “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.”

            This is a reference to the natural law written on our hearts and the wonders of creation which point to a Creator. What cannot be known, Carl, it that which God revealed to the Jews and then to man through the Incarnation.

          • carl jacobs

            I agree, except they don’t “point to a Creator.” They testify of the Creator. Otherwise, that doesn’t change a single word I wrote.

          • Then this should inform evangelism – and it wouldn’t start with condemnation and judgement. Men don’t necessarily wilfully reject this testimony – they need to be helped to see and understand it.

          • Royinsouthwest

            They were worshipping God. Have you forgotten what Paul said?

            For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Acts 17:23.

          • Dominic Stockford

            As Carl says, one has greater accountability but both do not spend eternal life with God.

          • The Explorer

            I agree that Scripture says there are different degrees of reward and punishment in the after life.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Romans 1, to repeat Carl again “no excuse” – therefore, neither.

          • Any man who persistently resists the work of grace, sent to all of us, will be judged by God accordingly.

            Creation testifies to a Creator Being. He writes His laws for human conduct on our hearts and manifests His existence in the physical world. Without revelation, we cannot begin to comprehend the nature and plan of God or be led to Christ as Christians know Him. Our social world translates and transmits this natural testament to us but, as a consequence of the Fall, without revelation we cannot fathom it.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Wrong, wrong wrong. Grace is that act of God whereby He saves the sinner, dead in their sin, and makes them alive in Christ. It is not something to be resisted, nor can a man resist it, As Saul discovered.

          • God chose Paul for great grace and a special mission. If He hadn’t known how he would use these gifts and grace, He wouldn’t have given them. Paul still had to cooperate. The Annunciation and the reactions of Mary and Joseph illustrates this.

          • Martin

            HJ

            God chooses to save the rebel sinner, despite their rebellion. Until God by His grace saves them and gives them a new will, they will not cooperate. That applies to Saul, Joseph and Mary.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Its amazing how many people argue with God on that one!

          • The Explorer

            I believe that no one comes to the Father except through Christ, but I also think Orwell was wrong. I believe it is possible to respond to Christ without knowing that you have done so; so that an encounter with Christ after death is not, “Who are you?” but, “So it was you all the time”.

            in ‘The Horse and his Boy’, Shasta has sort of heard of Aslan through the distorted horror stories of the Calormenes. He responds to three versions of a voice that stop him from riding his horse off a cliff in fog, without knowing what he is responding to. Only afterwards does he realise that he has responded to Aslan. That’s the sort of thing I’m getting at, which is why I don’t think the situation is as desperate as Orwell suggested.

          • Martin

            Carl

            And in any case, every one of us knows who God is and that He exists.

          • You know who God is? Wow! Jack only knows as much as God has condescended to reveal.

          • Inspector General

            …plus a bit more that God didn’t…

          • Very good …. If only Jack had your higher understanding of these mysteries.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Splutter !:)

          • Martin

            HJ

            And you think God has not revealed who He is?

        • len

          I think ‘the natural condition’of fallen man is atheism.

          “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.(John 6:44)
          God has completed everything necessary for salvation and it is up to us to pick it up.
          Our part simple. Gods part, everything.

          • 1649again

            History would indicate the opposite. Almost every society has a sense of the divine. It seems to be encoded in our very natures. Why?

  • chefofsinners

    Well, since it was “Shove Tuesday”, I would say that shoving the gospel down people’s throats is never a good idea, but when push comes to shove, if the courts are going to ban preaching then we should tell them to shove it.

    • IanCad

      I only got as far as “Push” and couldn’t quite get it to fit seamlessly into my comment. Well Done!

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, but I expect I shall see you in some incarceration at some point, when we actually do it.

      • chefofsinners

        Best place to be. All the paedophiles and child abusers will be on the outside.

  • Arden Forester

    It is all so English. On one hand the constabulary ingratiate themselves with the Barabbas tendency by arresting street preachers who offend excitable secularists. This action is supported and promoted by the prosecutor using the law of England. On the other hand the law of England demands respect for the Christian Faith, as per the Coronation Oath and other Acts.

    Prosecutor Ian Jackson says “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth.” Well, that may be his truth. As Pilate asked “What is truth?”.

    “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. All Christians are expected to believe this as true. That some do not, or get wimpish about it, is another matter.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Jackson has broken the law by assuming there is an existence of God. Why is that a truth if Jesus is not a truth?

      • Arden Forester

        Good point.

  • Irene’s Daughter

    12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?
    13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.
    14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
    15 ¶ And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified. (Mark 15:12-15)

    “The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.” (Ec 1:9 AVRLE)

    Mob rule is still thriving and living in the UK.

  • dannybhoy

    You can read about it here..
    http://www.christianconcern.com/our-concerns/freedom-of-speech/street-preachers-convicted-for-quoting-bible-in-modern-day-heresy-tri
    and also contribute to paying to their fine as I have done.
    More importantly we could organise a peaceful rally or demo as I suggested..
    “We have to accept that according to the law these two men have broken it, but we also know our nation’s history and culture is steeped in Christianity. We sent out missionaries all around the world, and our monarchy, law and parliament are also deeply influenced by Christianity.
    Persecution is coming to the UK, because the forces of darkness, indifference and political correctness have united to destroy our Christian heritage.
    So my suggestion is…
    Yes appeal for money to pay the fines, but even better organise a Christian demo outside the Houses of Parliament on a Wednesday morning (PMQ at 1pm) and have boards reading “I believe that Jesus Christ is the only Way, the Truth and the Life. Now arrest me!”
    I believe that whilst we still have the freedom to do so, we should stand up and be counted. I most certainly would attend such a protest.”

    You don’t have to completely agree with these men’s theology, but as as a Christian of whatever denomination you have to recognise their right to preach the Gospel in a historically Christian nation, and be willing to stand up and be counted.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Perhaps the Archbishops of Canterbury and York will join you…?

      • dannybhoy

        Oh I’m sure they will, suitably disguised…

      • Maalaistollo

        Do you perceive, madam, tendrils of ice creeping across the face of the infernal regions?

    • Pontius Jack

      Of course one could point out to the Courts that the CoE is by law long established and that the British State itself upholds the objective truth that Jesus Christ is God.

      • dannybhoy

        And that inspires you to do……what?

        • Pontius Jack

          That the Prosecutor was incorrect in what he said?

      • chefofsinners

        Are you washing your hands of the lot of us?

        • Pontius Jack

          Of course not my dear Chef. I am only concerned for your welfare and correct process (in reverse order). Hand washing comes later.

          By the way, I trust that you as a Chef dealing with lots of dirty sinners (presumably Protestants) wash your hands regularly in biocidal gel in accordance with Appendix 3,479 Part V of the Magisterium??

          • carl jacobs

            Jack doesn’t deserve this.

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            Beer fumes and Cromwellian nationalism. They’re bound to effect the mind sooner or later.

          • Pontius Jack

            Indeed, one achieves a higher state of consciousness.

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            Yes, first achieved by that fine upstanding Christian soldier, The Inspector General, who’ve I’ve been a long time admirer of.

            Mustn’t linger. Romanists, Muslims, queers, trannies and kiddy fiddlers to round up and castrate.

            Now, where did I leave my sword?

            … hic … pass the bottle

          • Inspector General

            “Hello, is that the blog headsman. Yes, as soon as possible if you will. Indeed, it is he who needs the cutting edge of your services.. What was that? No, he won’t be missed. Not at all.”

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            Have a swim in our finest ales. Showers afterwards strictly voluntary. Then pick up the sword or bullwhip and go conquer the nation.

            … hic …. pass the bottle.

          • chefofsinners

            It is a little known fact that the Council of Trent took place on the banks of the river Trent in Birmingham, but was broken up by Swiss Midlands Guards. History records that a certain Jacques Heureuse was arrested washing blood off his hands in the river but defended the guards so stoutly that he was released and granted the honour of wearing the big girly pantaloons.

          • 1649again

            LOL.

      • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

        …. and we intend to hit you over the heads with our heavy bibles, condemn and insult and, if that doesn’t work, take up the sword

        …. ‘hic’ …. pass the bottle

  • John

    I completely support the right of these two gentlemen to broadcast their beliefs in the public sphere and, though I have not looked into this case, I suspect I might agree with everything they say.

    The judge appears to have worryingly overstepped the mark and gone beyond his brief. May a private citizen not say what he believes in public without the judiciary weighing in? They are there to judge whether the law has been broken or not. It is not their job to adjudicate on the reasonableness or otherwise of religious belief and hand down fines to anyone they deem to be a little bit unhinged. This is an outrage.

    All that said, I have to add that I do not think shouting in the streets is the best or most fruitful form of evangelism in the society we live in. I had a go myself when I was a bit younger. Most people just think you’re a nutter. In my particular case, they may well be right of course.

    • Pontius Jack

      My dear fellow, you are entirely correct in what you say. The public are increasingly intolerant of public speaking in the street. It is something that has almost faded from public culture and simply makes people think Christians are weird. It is regrettable, but a fact. Far better to put up a stall with leaflets and engage in reasoned private conversation with those passers-by who respond.

      Of course our society is now very enlightened and extremely equal, which is hence why we have developed such a finely tuned hierarchy of equalities, a top ten chart one might say, with constant jockeying for pole position. Alas Christians, especially native whites, dangerously heterosexual of course, are locked desrvedly at the bottom of the Chart, while an exciting and volatile struggle for number one is fought out between Muslims (male of course), ethnic lesbians, and the new fastest climbers – trannies – who have displaced the long time chart leaders, male homosexuals, who have now commenced a slide down the pecking order. Top tip for future fastest climbers: kiddie fiddlers who can rely on the second preference votes of the Islamic audience.

      • CliveM

        1642

        This is a form of on line bullying. It is compounded by the fact that not everyone has picked up who is behind this and believe it to be HJ. I would ask you to stop for honesty’s sale.

        • Pontius Jack

          A few hours of gentle parody is not bullying. Based on Jack’s appalling views on the last thread it is a very mild response. I have been subject to far worse on this site and you did not speak up then.

          • CliveM

            No one has pretended to be you, which is the issue. Not everyone noticed this as a parody. Argue with whoever you want, I really don’t care. But do it honestly.

          • Pontius Jack

            Given that Jack has repeatedly used other persona, it’s a mild case of biter bit. I should have thought the parody was obvious, and indeed very mild.

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            Agree with you. Do unto others as you choose – including use of the bullwhip, calling them offensive names and putting one’s sword through them.

            You really should join Synod.

            … hic … pass the bottle.

          • Pontius Jack

            Great idea. Thanks. I can get the troopers to close it down in the afternoon. We’ve got a prior appointment to disperse the Commons in the morning. Will have to postpone the Lords until the following morning though.

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            You’ll need the support of the mob to ensure success, so best to arm them. Get them to see all their problems are caused by Muslims, queers, trannies and kiddy fiddlers. Any good Levellers about these days? The BNP will assist.

            … hic … pass the bottle

          • 1649again

            Now you’re just being silly.

          • Have you aged by seven years? The year of regicide and dictatorship. You soon get to 1660.

          • 1649again

            The reference is rather to the March 1649 abolition of the House of Lords given today’s vote. However, the Lord Protector is timeless.

          • Darth Vader thought that too.

          • 1649again

            1/10

          • CliveM

            Well yes he has and in the past has got into trouble for it. But he hasn’t tried to undermine someone by pretending to be them.

            Dominic certainly wasn’t aware this was parody.

            Personally I wouldn’t do it. I’d be worried about pissing of HG.

          • Pontius Jack

            Given that Mrs Proudie and JayelSmithers clocked it immediately and seemed to have thought it amusing we’ll see. As for those who fell for it… Christians need to use tools selectively, and humour and parody can be very effective in illustrating a point. Both the Inspector and the Chef are proficient in their use and it’s a shame it seems to go over the heads of some on here because the points contained within are often very serious.

            Jack’s counter is alas woeful.

          • CliveM

            Re your last sentence, I’ve seen better!

          • Cressida de Nova

            Although on animal farm, some are more equal than others.

          • Jack uses other persona?!

            Dear man, Jack cannot control those other people and they don’t even make an attempt to disguise themselves.

          • Anton

            I trust you meant that comment as a pun on bitter and mild, given your profession.

          • Sarky

            So 1649 thinks it’s ok to bully Jack for his views??
            I take it he doesnt see irony considering the topic.

          • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

            Have a drink of our fine beer, get wasted and relax. Cuddle up to your sword and think of England.

            …hic … pass the bottle

        • Cressida de Nova

          That was the idea. He wanted everyone to think it was Jack.
          Nasty type. Scrapings…

          • Jack actually thinks he was just taking the p*ss and being a smart ars*. He’s not bright or imaginative enough to imitate Happy Jack.

          • Cressida de Nova

            You need a holiday in a warm clime…Maybe visit your relatives in Mauritius 🙂

            I don’t share your opinion. He’s a paranoid loony. He thinks I am a Protestant neo nazi called Norty Nina.He is trying to discredit you also by impersonating you. …

            Clive was right in raising an objection.The brute has tainted this blog. Linus at least only visits occasionally but this wacko has taken up residence

        • Anton

          I’ve been away for the day and worked out immediately what was going on. Anybody who can’t… well, I’m sure you can finish the sentence for yourself! May the best satirist win.

          • 1649again

            Thank you Anton. Knowing how tender are some of His Grace’s correspondents the parody was made very obvious (Pontius Jack indeed!) and merely made exaggerated versions of HJ’s comments on the last thread (and others). There was no attempt to deceive. It was a fond rather than cruel form of satire. A number of correspondents saw it for what it was immediately and seem to have found it amusing, but it was done to make a serious point about HJ’s appalling views on addressing FGM. Once done, Pontius Jack retired to suspended animation, but remains ready to be revived should His Grace’s blog ever need a defender.

            As for the suggestion that it is akin to bullying, I suggest those people look at a dictionary. Having experienced sustained and vicious bullying over years at school, I know what bullying is at first hand and have nothing but contempt for such and those who do it.

            There is one such regular on here whose hinges fly off at the least frustration of their will. It does His Grace’s other correspondents little credit that some get upset over a mild parody yet never (with the exception of Carl) oppose that person’s vile abuse and misrepresentation of contrary viewpoints. I will continue to do so selectively.

      • 16 … ‘hic’ … 42

        Take up the sword and rid the land of these pestilences …. ‘hic’ …. pass the bottle.

        • CliveM

          HJ

          This can only end badly!!!!

      • Anton

        The trouble is… an awful lot of street preachers *are* weird.

        • Cressida de Nova

          See Len !

        • 1649again

          They are in my view and are indeed counter-productive. A quieter, more reasoned and well presented on our High Streets would be far more effective. Ranting slogans though a microphone achieves little other make the speaker feel they’ve done something good. An articulate, reasoned and active social media presence on non-Christian blog sites is likely to be far more effective.

          • len

            Street preachers ‘ranting and raving’.What sort of place do you live in then?.Far more genteel on the Wirral where I live.

          • Anton

            Street preaching is an important ministry. The problem is that too many are doing it for reasons obviously concerned with their own psyches, which are, to put it gently, quite different from the average bloke. One I know of was told by his elders not to do it in the smallish town where their church was located. He didn’t ask why and patently didn’t want to face the implications, for himself, of the reasons. Instead he does it in a big city not too far from that town. In that city another street preacher is not a member of a regular congregation and has regularly heckled still other street preachers through a megaphone whenever he differs with their theology over minor points. When this sort of thing goes on for a decade there will be the occasional success, but I shudder at how many people will have been turned away from Christ by their personality profiles.

    • dannybhoy

      John,
      My point is that if Christians don’t do something besides commenting what is going to happen?
      Look at the Church in the Middle East. It has been effectively neutralised because Islam neutralises it. Christians are not citizens, have no rights, cannot evangelise, cannot build new churches.
      If through a warped and soppy sense of “Christian” compassion Islam is allowed to become the dominant faith in the UK, what do you think is going to happen to our freedoms as Christians?
      When do you suppose a situation will arise that suits all your denominational/doctrinal requirements and will spur you to action?
      It won’t. What will happen is piece by piece legislation will be put in place to remove our right to congregate, to worship, to differ in our opinions and lifestyles, until finally we end up like churches in the Middle East..
      That’s my point.
      These guys are Christians
      The believe in preaching the Gospel outdoors
      Many churches used to do outdoor evangelism.
      If we refuse on whatever grounds to show solidarity with these guys, we are betraying the Gospel.

    • Dominic Stockford

      But if don’t reach out in the street you’ll find that we find it very difficult to spread the Gospel at all. As a church we produce a Christian newspaper every few months which goes through nearly 2000 doors – but we have the money at the moment (having cashed in on ridiculous London property prices) and many won’t. I hand out a few tracts occasionally, when they have some relevant title, but even that is now getting awkward, given this judgement. People can throw them down and I won’t get done for littering, but if they find them ‘offensive’ I shall be in trouble.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Many people find political correctness offensive but for some reason the authorities don’t want to know about that.

  • ecclesiaman

    Well done Your Grace. I was not able to read the whole of Tim Stanley’s piece but hope he wasn’t deceived by TM’s hypocrisy. Is she likely to change the law? If (and as HG explains), the law is unchanged then Free Speech is doomed. That is why groups like CC act. Only a demo such as dannybhoy suggests is likely to make an impact but doubtful what that will achieve. Most unlikely that our Christian leaders will put their heads above the parapet? HG has shown more leadership here than any other leader that I know. What prospect that Archbishop Justin will go large publicly on this?
    The police are in a difficult position though I believe they are instructed to be belligerent.
    Public speakers need to be wise, foolish questions avoid for they generate argument, and don’t cast your pearls before swine, are appropriate scriptures. But when the chips are down we have to own our exclusive faith. If we don’t confess all that our Christian faith is before men, Jesus will not confess us before God. Time to count the cost of discipleship.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Mr Welby will probably say that as they’re not CofE men they’re nothing to do with him, and neither is the legal case.

      • ecclesiaman

        I suspect you will be proved right but if the ABC is more than a lifeboat for the C of E perhaps he will be good enough to resign office.
        The Queen is between a rock and a hard place in all this. Constitutionally she has to keep her subordinate position but what a storm she could cause by being more explicit about what many believe to be her genuine faith in the one true God and God the Son. Perhaps she is the only barrier before a melt down of much of our decreasing stability. I think she may know this and maybe that is why not rocking the boat is the lesser of two evils. Who would want her issues of conscience.

  • Inspector General

    Ah, Bristol! The city that gave the Caribbean as many pirates as they could deal with, and its city accent forever associated with them.

    With this heritage, fellows will not be surprised that Bristol is today home to a strong contingent of just as extreme dangerous unpleasents. To wit, anarchists. Anarchists are in revolt over the system we enjoy – capitalism. They want nothing to do with it, and that includes working for a living, so they hang around shopping centres. Whilst drawing benefits paid for by our taxes, it has to be said. It is thus proved that although they revile the aforementioned economic model, obviously not enough to refuse the handouts it provides.

    Now, anarchists love muslims. They really do. Part of the downtrodden so they are in the UK. Part of the angry army that will rise up and overthrow!

    So, if this crowd are agitating or being agitated in the centre of Bristol, the authorities become somewhat alarmed, and move in heavy handed. What hope a couple of Christian street preachers!

    If anyone thinks the Inspector is over egging it today, consider this. If ever the similarly crazed gang the Green Party do get a second seat in Parliament, it is said it will be one of the Bristol ones: Bristol West

    • Dominic Stockford

      Spot on Major!

  • Royinsouthwest

    Who the Hell (i use a capital letter deliberately) is Ian Jackson to decide what truth is? I don’t know him from Adam, although I could tell him form Eve, but if I ever met him I would tell him that for his own safetly he had better not try and tell me what I could say.

    To continue in a more serious vein who is responsible for allowing the likes of Ian Jackson to tell us what we can and cannot say? Why are our government and our courts threatening freedom of speech and freedom of religion?

    Furthermore, why is it that the more that politicians and lawyers concern themselves with “human rights” the less freedom we have? Aren’t freedom of speech and freedom of religion human rights?

    • Dominic Stockford

      I refer you to the following exchange further down – it answers your question.

      Dominic Stockford • 5 hours ago
      “prosecutor Ian Jackson said: “To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth.”

      This is the Crown Prosecutor, are we to take it that, therefore, the official position of the Government/State for whom he speaks is that Jesus is NOT the only God? It appears so, despite the facts. Which means the CofE will be disestablished within the next couple of years, and people like me will be locked up for preaching this in my own church, and publishing newspapers saying the same thing. This isn’t prophecy, it’s simply inevitable.
      3 • Edit• Reply•Share ›
      Avatar

      Peter Hitchens Dominic Stockford • 3 hours ago
      This is indeed the position under the Equality Act 2010, which made all religions equal and, de facto, removed any remaining general privileges accorded to Christianity ( a few particular privileges to do with Church internal affairs were retained). A current battle over attempts by Clavinists to retain Sabbath observance in the Western isles has also turned partly on the resulting inability of local authorities to use Christian arguments for enforcing such observance.

      De jure Establishment, like the Coronation Oath, remains technically in force and has vestigial privileges such as the Bishops in the (probably doomed) House of Lords but cannot in reality be asserted and will not survive much beyond the reign of the current monarch, whose Coronation Service cannot possibly be the same, or contain the same pledges, as that of 1953.The Equality Act was passed by a Labour government, but received only token opposition from the Tories (A Mrs Theresa May was the Opposition spokesperson at the time). It was based (like so many of our supposed Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments)upon directives from the European Commission and both major parties knew they were obliged to dress it up as English law and pass it. It is this aspect of our EU membership that has always most interested me, and I see as yet no sign of any attempt to untangle it.

      The 1986 Public Order Act was mildly amended to make it slightly less appalling, but it is still an atrocious assault on free speech which would be struck down by the US Supreme Court as a violation of the First Amendment. But we don’t have one of those. Worse, we lack people in public life who understand these things.
      • Reply•Share ›

    • The Explorer

      “I don’t know him from Adam, although I could tell him from Eve.” That’s a very confident identity statement in this enlightened day and age. Gareth Peirce the human rights lawyer, for instance, is really Jean Margaret Webb.

      Do we know that Ian Jackson is a man?

    • David

      “the more that politicians and lawyers concern themselves with human rights, the less freedom we have?”
      Well put Roy.
      What is more, I’d add, “and the fewer rights that in fact we have”.
      But of course the whole deceit of the Human Rights legislation is that it is designed to grant to one group at the expense of another. So like all Socialism it is all about domination and power.

  • Hi

    Well to arrest and convict street preachers is bonkers.

    Notes :

    Bonkers :adjective, BRITISH, informal
    adjective: bonkers
    mad; crazy.
    “you’re stark raving bonkers!”
    https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/bonkersS

    Bibliography :

    MCAVITY, P et al “Street preaching : a post feminist perspective” 2nd ed .Scumbag College University Press, 2011

    BEAN, M, ” Street preaching and the Marxist Critique ” . Scumbag College University Press, 2009

    SMITH J, “Street Preaching and the high street: a critique using the works of Mill, Hegel , Hume and Kant ” . London. Bonkers. 2007.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    These people are harmless. If a society can’t tolerate a man with a sandwichboard proclaiming “prepare to meet thy God” etc, then that society is not a free society.

    What sort of idiot enabled religious persecutions through the courts? No sane person wants this. Leave them alone.

    • Cressida de Nova

      Len evangelises by sandwichboard and he has never been arrested (not yet anyway.)

  • Politically__Incorrect

    I do pray for these two men. The way they have been treated has nothing to do with justice or fairness, just a twisted and perverse interpretation of the law. Whatever happens now I suspect nothing will silence this pair. Their treatment by the court only highlights the fault line in society between those who support genuine freedom of speech and those who support it on the condition you only say what they approve of. I hope there will be an appeal, but this is about something much bigger than our failed criminal justice and some cravenly arrogant lawyer.

  • Are these guys seriously attempting to convert men to (their version of) Christ? Mr Overd said: “You can’t have the threat of violence and public disorder to stop us criticising Islam and other lifestyles. Where is our freedom? If you don’t like what I said, just move on and let others hear the message, but they want to end the free speech.” Does this suggests he only wants to preach to the converted?

    Jack defends his right to free speech but wonders about the motivation and effectiveness of this approach.

    Some thoughts from two women contemplatives:

    “Jesus does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, nor even at their difficulty, but at the love with which we do them.”
    (Therese of Lisieux)

    “[T]he most effective educational method is not the word of instruction but the living example without which all words remain useless.”
    (Edith Stein)

    “Sufferings gladly borne for others convert more people than sermons.”
    (Therese of Lisieux)

    “Trying to do good to people without God’s help is no easier than making the sun shine at midnight. You discover that you’ve got to abandon all your own preferences, your own bright ideas, and guide souls along the road our Lord has marked out for them. You mustn’t coerce them into some path of your own choosing.”
    (Therese of Lisieux)

    • Sarky

      Might have to agree with you. Mr Overd has been done for this twice previously (although acquitted). Does make you question the motivation.

    • Anton

      First they came for the street preachers…

      It is in your own interest to support them, Jack.

      • Oh, really?

        Mr Stockwell said: “If you are trying to come (to Christ) through Catholicism, through Jehovah Witness, through Mormonism, the Bible says you’re a thief and a liar and a thief comes to steal and destroy. But Christ came that we may have life.”

        Being a member of the Catholic Church makes Jack a “thief and a liar” and is equivalent to the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons? With friends such as these, Jack will take his chances. They’re alienating people from Christ through provocation and using scripture as a weapon to beat others about the heads with – not drawing them to Him.

        • Anton

          Yes, it is in your own interest to support freedom of speech for people you disagree with, so that you can have it yourself.

          • So it seems this isn’t about teaching people about Christ but is more of a political protest and gesture to provoke a response. They’re inviting prosecution by stirring up enmity. This kind of behaviour will not attract people to the Church.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Again, your presumption that you know their intentions only reveals your own prejudices. Street preachers have often attracted people to Christ. It is what Jesus Himself was (a street preacher). He was not part of the religious establishment. And those who were part of the establishment mostly hated Him. It is an old story.

          • Give Jack one example of Jesus being aggressive or offensive to sinners or non-believers, as opposed to His harsh words to Israel’s religious leaders.

          • 1649again

            In Matthew 15, 26 he called the Gentile woman a little dog as a test of her motivation, something that was a Jewish insult.

          • Depends on what tone to project onto Jesus’ voice in that encounter to establish His intent, doesn’t it?

          • 1649again

            Entirely agree but no MInister has explained explained it convincingly to me.

          • Little dog – puppy? The Jesus we know from scripture wouldn’t deliberately alienate a women seeking His help. Before He started the conversion, He knew her responses and that He would grant her request.

          • 1649again

            That’s one interpretation, but I’ve seen others. None has convinced.

          • Jack didn’t need convincing – he just understood it that way.

          • Anton

            My point about free speech is not about preaching Christ. It’s about any free speech that doesn’t explicitly call the hearer to violence.

        • carl jacobs

          So your problem is that they associated JWs and Mormons with Catholics? This is the evidence that they are “alienating people” and “using scripture as a weapon”? Because I would bet a lot of money that you would have let that statement pass if it didn’t contain the phrase “through Catholicism”. I would in fact be shocked to the extreme if you didn’t consider both Mormons and JWs to be non-Christian heretics.

          • My “problem” is aggressive proselytising and accusing people of being thieves and liars – be they Catholic, Mormon or Jedi Knight. Jack would prefer a more peaceful, engaging approach be adopted when seeking to turn people off the wrong path and back onto the correct one, especially in a secular society where faith is dying.

          • carl jacobs

            Telling people that you don’t come to Christ through a false religion is not aggressive. It’s necessary. If you really want to get people angry though, tell them they are intrinsically evil and worthy of judgment. Then tell them they can’t do anything about it. That is also necessary. And that is also when the fangs come out. As I said, there isn’t a nice way to say some of this stuff. It cuts right across what people want to hear. The Gospel is inherently offensive to natural man. I think if they hadn’t grouped Catholicism into the category of false religions, you would have recognized that.

            Now if you would prefer they could go all seeker-sensitive and tell them about how Jesus wants to be their life coach so they can be all they want to be. It’s easy to attract people with an easy message that tickles the ear. But it won’t be the Gospel.

          • As you know, Jack doesn’t agree with your representation of Christianity. Christ comes to us, for one, and Jesus didn’t adopt this approach towards sinners.

            Your Christian theology holds that humans are intrinsically evil. Catholics believe that humans are intrinsically good because they were created in the image of the good God. Sin has transformed human nature. Sin entered the world when humans disobeyed a decree from God. Catholics believe that the effects of this disobedience marked the soul of the first humans in such a way that it would be transmitted to all succeeding generations. Original sin is a state of being rather than a condition of guilt. From birth humans are able to reflect God’s holiness only imperfectly. We were created to submit instinctively and freely to God in all our actions, but original sin resulted in evil – a deprivation – that has marred our will so that it does not always point in the direction of obedience to God.

            St. Augustine believed that original sin so deeply corrupted the human soul that it was actually unable to choose the good without the healing effects of God’s grace. On the other hand, St. Thomas Aquinas saw the effects of original sin as the inherited tendency of the soul to choose a lesser good rather than the greater good of obedience to God. Humans are therefore flawed images of God, but the goodness of their original creation remains.

            It is from our creation in the image of God that humans obtain the freedom of the will that allows us to act sinfully and keep our broken relationship with God from being healed. Catholics reject the idea that humans are predestined to act in one manner or the other: both their sin and their obedience are the result of a free choice because we all have sufficient grace to overcome the inclination to sin. God is all-powerful and could simply will humans to be good, but God chooses to limit divine action in order to preserve human freedom. Similarly, while God’s infinite knowledge may foreknow what we will choose, this does not impinge on our freedom or choice.

            Catholics also hold that humans have an innate sense of what is right and what is wrong, natural law, written into the core of our being. Natural law transcends society and culture and gives us a clear knowledge of good and evil. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, natural law allows humans to act in a moral manner, prompting them to choose the greater good of obedience to God rather than following their own desires. What it cannot provide is knowledge of or belief in Christ.
            These beliefs lead to a different style of teaching and evangelising.

    • carl jacobs

      No, Jack, he is saying that courts are increasingly looking at religious speech as needful of excessive burden because they consider religious speech to be inherently divisive and dangerous. This burden is not extended to anti-religious speech spoken by irreligious people. There courts are in effect imposing heresy laws on religion in service to the reigning secular dogma.

      Except for those religions whose adherents will threaten violence if they get offended.

      • So it’s not about evangelising or calling people to Christ? They deliberately chose passages from scripture that attack and get folks riled up and draw attention from the authorities. Passages that need framing in the overall Gospel message of God’s love and mercy.
        Jack agrees they have the right to free speech but let’s not pretend this political protest is teaching people about Christ.

        • carl jacobs

          The comment I made does not assume anything about the motivation of the men in question. It merely addresses the meaning of the statement you quoted. You seem quick to impugn the integrity of these men.

          • “We have been called to heal wounds, to unite what has fallen away, and to bring home those who have lost their way. Many who seem to us to be children of the Devil will still become Christ’s disciples.”
            (Francis of Assisi)

            Jack’s comment is based on what they do and say. It’s not necessarily their integrity he’s questioning, just their wisdom and whethe it squares with the Gospel. So far as Jack recalls, Jesus wasn’t abusive towards the Samaritan woman and His conversation with the Canaanite women was gently provocative given His insight.

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know that they have done anything unwise or imprudent. In any case, wisdom and prudence would not have spared them the wrath of punishment for speaking certain things out loud in front of a hostile public. The message is offensive to man no matter how it is couched.

          • Why keep returning to this same spot to an audience you know to be hostile?

          • carl jacobs

            Whatever their actions, you have to demonstrate some evidence of malignant intent. This question does not have a self-evident answer.

          • Not malignant intent – just ineffectual and unwise behaviour.

          • carl jacobs

            Understand that I have a fairly negative impression of street preachers because I have in my head a certain stereotype. So I understand where you are coming from. But I don’t know anything about these men. A stereotype is just that and is often unjustly applied. I’m trying to account for that bias in myself.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Indeed, Jesus was gentle with the street people. Jesus also was anything but gentle with those in authority (see Matthew 23).

          • They were religious leaders who had the benefit of knowing scripture and God’s laws and were using this for selfish ends, putting barriers between God and man. Jesus came to bring the good news and to set people free. He met sinners where they were.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Exactly. Rather like these street preachers.

          • He didn’t berate them with passages from scripture. He talked with them and attracted them to Him by His love and compassion. His message attracted them. Perhaps these men would do better serving the homeless, the ill, prisoners, the hungry and the poor.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Check out Jesus’ reaction to the moneychangers in the temple. Check out Matthew 23. Check out all the prophets who chastised the Jewish people and predicted God’s judgment on them. They were virtually never popular. There are many callings among people of God. Some are to care for homeless, ill, etc. and some are to be watchers on the wall, warning the people of the dangers (Ezekiel 33).

          • The money changers were part of an oppressive religious system putting barriers between ordinary people and God. Jesus provided a model of evangelism that reached out in love that attracted sinners to Him.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Jesus was, in fact, perfect. He knew when to berate and when to be gentle. We do not have such good judgment, not even to judge street preachers who actually preach the scriptures against an oppressive secular system. If only a few people heard the gospel and repented, it would be worth it.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Carl,
            You took the words right out of my mouth. This was exactly my thought when I read Jack’s comment.

        • CliveM

          HJ

          I’m with Anton in the sense that I find most Street Preachers ‘weird’.

          However when you look at the argument used by the Prosecutor, that’s the cause of my concerns.

          • We’ve had one sentence and Jack would like to see his full argument.

          • CliveM

            Well yes, that would be helpful.

      • IanCad

        I am slowly coming to the understanding that we British need to become the Fifty First State.

        • 1649again

          If the resulting entity had Her Majesty as its Head of State I would tend to agree with you. I see moves are underway to invite the US to become an associate Commonwealth member.

          • IanCad

            There we have it!!! The USA becomes a member of the Commonwealth. The ideal solution – a little constitutional give and take. We’ll take their Imperial System; They’ll give us the FA.
            There are no problems too big for this blog to remedy.

          • Pubcrawler

            Sorry, whose Imperial system? They can keep their Queen Anne 16oz pints, thank you very much, we’ll keep the Imperial 20oz measure..

          • IanCad

            I completely overlooked the quaffing interest. Perhaps liquid measure should remain metric to appease you lot.

          • Pubcrawler

            ‘Remain’? It’s not metric now, and never has been. My point is that there is a difference between the old Queen Anne system of measures, which the US still uses, and Imperial which they missed out on because it was introduced in the 1830s in the Empire.

          • IanCad

            Petrol is sold in litres, as is booze, milk too. Large volumes of fluids are measured in cubic metres (1000litres)
            I get your point re. US & UK pints but am at a loss as to understanding your claim that the mind-numbing, conformist, unimaginative, and thoroughly retrograde metric system is not operative in this TV and sports addled land.

          • 1649again

            It’s that old Protestant can-do attitude!

          • bluedog

            If the US joins the Commonwealth it will become the US Commonwealth. To be avoided at all costs.

          • Holger

            The US will never accept a British monarch – or any monarch come to that – as head of State. The country was founded on the rejection of monarchy. It’s a basic part of its DNA, just as it is here in France.

            Still, it’s amusing to watch British monarchists lost in self-admiration making plans to foist their ridiculous comic opera régime on nations which discarded that kind of nonsense hundreds of years ago. Dreams of empire still loom large in the British psyche. Well, among the more deluded sections of the population, that is.

          • bluedog

            ‘It’s a basic part of its DNA, just as it is here in France.’

            Looking forward to the outcome of your Presidential elections.

          • Holger

            Looking forward to the outcome of your Presidential elections.

            As are we. It will be a relief when Hollande leaves the Elysée. Nobody, not even the most fervent socialist, wants him to stay.

            Regarding the election, I make no predictions about the result because in today’s volatile political climate, what used to be impossible is no longer so. But those who would like to see a Le Pen victory are, I think, almost certainly bound to be disappointed.

            Whoever she faces off against in the second round, be it Macron or anyone else, has a much greater chance of winning than she does.

            French politics is not like American politics where there are only two parties. We have 4 or 5 major parties (depending on how you define “major”) that split the electorate into several camps, so in the first round of an election, no candidate can score more than 20-25% of the votes. This is why we have a second round, during which the two top-scoring candidates from the first round face off against each other and the one who scores more than 50% wins.

            First and second round voting differs greatly. In the first round we vote for our ideal (or preferred) candidate. In the second round, unless we actively support one of the two remaining candidates, we vote against our leVoters of eliminated candidates cast their second round votes tactically – generally not for either candidate, but rather against the one we dislike the most.

            Le Pen’s problem is that voters who don’t actively support her, which means at the most 25% of the electorate, will unite against her and vote for the other candidate no matter who he may be. The FN is just too divisive and although those who support it do so with passion, they just aren’t numerous enough to win an outright victory.

            In effect our next president will almost certainly be he who comes second in the first round. At the moment it looks as though this will be Macron, but as I say, I make no predictions because anything could happen between now and May, although I can’t envisage any kind of event that would swing enough people behind Le Pen’s neo-fascist campaign to bring her to power.

            We French are not like you Brits or the Americans. We’re profoundly attached to ideas of European unity and equality. Le Pen wants to divide us. She wants to close our borders and turn France into a hermit nation, closed off from the world behind a wall of intolerance and selfishness. I don’t believe my countrymen will let her do it because we are not and have never been insular isolationists like the British and the Americans. We don’t believe in impregnable walls. We built one in the 1930s and it didn’t work, so we know from bitter experience that a country with land borders cannot seal itself off from the outside world.

            As to who we get as president, I have reservations about all of the likely or possible candidates, but whoever gets to the second round with Le Pen (assuming she does get to second round, which certainly looks likely at the moment) will be my choice. And that’s all I can do – cast my vote in the manner that seems right to me.

            If Le Pen wins I will be more than surprised. I’ll be astounded. And then I’ll be concerned. Not because of anything she’ll do, but rather because the public reaction would be seismic. Paris detests Le Pen and when Paris is unhappy about something, it doesn’t sit quietly at home bitching about it. It gets out on the street and makes its feelings known. Even if she pulls off a miracle and scrapes in as president, she won’t be able to govern. An FN victory would plunge us into civil war, which is why the chances of it happening are infinitesimal. Nobody except her most rabid supporters and a few malevolent British Christians wants that to happen. So I face the election with confidence. Time will tell if I’m right or wrong.

          • bluedog

            ‘Even if she pulls off a miracle and scrapes in as president, she won’t be able to govern.’

            So much for French democracy, just an exercise in window dressing after all.

          • Holger

            You really have no idea what democracy is, do you?

            It isn’t some kind of religion that we must obey on pain of damnation. It’s a very human social contract whereby minorities agree to abide by majority decisions on the proviso that certain basic freedoms are guaranteed to them.

            If Le Pen is elected, those basic freedoms will be rescinded. Minorities will then be faced with a choice: acquiesce in their own oppression or rise up and resist.

            In a modern democracy governments only rule by common consent. If that consent is withdrawn then the country becomes ungovernable. If nearly 50% of the country refuses to recognize Le Pen’s government, she won’t be able to govern.

            That’s the reality of democracy. It isn’t some holy law whereby governments win a divine right to rule. It relies on the consent of the governed. If a large percentage of citizens refuse to give that consent, government become impossible.

            This is what awaits us if Le Pen wins the presidential election. There won’t just be a few pussy hat protests and some grumbling about how awful she is. We’ll be looking at the kind of civil uprising that we haven’t seen in France since the 19th century. Even May ’68 will seem tame in comparison. I hope it doesn’t come to that and I believe it’s extremely unlikely. But as Fillon’s on the verge of crashing out of the race, which will effectively take the Republicans out of the running, it all depends on Macron now. Does he have some terrible skeleton lurking in his cupboard that will force him to stand down too? For the time being all attempts to smear him have come to nothing. But who knows what a childless ex-banker married to his former teacher who’s nearly 25 years his senior does in his spare time? For the country’s sake, I hope he’s as blameless as he seems. If not then Le Pen might be in with a chance.

            I can’t say I’m thrilled with the prospect of having a complete neophyte for a president. But when you’re caught between the devil and the deep blue sea, and you know how to swim, there’s no choice really, is there?

          • bluedog

            ‘But who knows what a childless ex-banker married to his former teacher who’s nearly 25 years his senior does in his spare time?’

            You’re not alone in asking that question. Mind you, she still looks good and she has a beautiful daughter too…

          • Holger

            Of course she still looks good. She’s French.

            Frenchwomen don’t let themselves go like the saggy baggy English.

            My point is that their intergenerational relationship is unusual, and that unusual behaviour tends to be a characteristic of unusual relationships.

            How unusual though? If it’s any kind of sexual peccadillo (children, close blood relatives and animals excepted, of course), we couldn’t care less. But if there’s fraud or corruption taking place – of which I make no allegation, I’m merely hypothesizing – , or if we find out he’s a secret Scientologist or a member of Martin’s weirdo hyper-conservative bible-thumping sect, I doubt he’d last the week.

            Time and le Canard Enchaîné (or maybe Mediapart)will tell.

          • bluedog

            Moves that are utter folly. The result will be a reverse takeover by the US of the entire institution.

        • bluedog

          No, no, no and a thousand times No.

          Is all it needs is constitutional reform of the UK, something the Scottish Labour Party has just put on the agenda, although Jezza fumbled the pass. Setting aside that the SLP plan includes the unworkable proposal to split England into regions, a federal constitution creates an opportunity to rethink how the country is governed. Brexit is a valuable catalyst in this regard.

          The immediate objective for the UK post Brexit should be to resolve the Irish Question. The solution is obvious, give the province of Ulster to the Irish Republic on condition that united Ireland joins the federal UK, leaving the EU. Adding an additional 5m to the UK takes the total pop. up to 70 million and greatly strengthens our position vis a vis rump-EU.

          It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the US will break up at some point in the future. If Trump legitimises 11m illegals, as seems to be the rumour in an amazing volte-face, the Hispanification of SW USA could lead to rupture in the medium term. What would it mean for the fifty-first state if the US got bogged down in a messy situation in Central America?

          Anschluss with the US would be an absolute disaster for the UK, resulting in a massive drain of businesses and human capital to the US with no obvious compensating benefits. There are clear advantages for the US, however. They would obtain an unsinkable naval and airbase off the western coast of Europe, securing a dominant strategic position in Europe until a British War of Independence.

          • IanCad

            My comment was partially tongue in cheek, and more to address the plights of messrs Overd and Stockwell. Such a travesty could not occur over there because of their First Amendment.
            Your points are well taken, particularly those concerning the possible breakup of the western states (Jefferson State) and our likely role as a permanent aircraft carrier.

          • bluedog

            Phew.

          • Hi Bluedog,

            True, but isn’t the UK already a U.S. aircraft carrier(which whilst not unsinkable is capable of being reduced to ash and radioactivity ? ) .

            I mean to be fully independent , Britain would need a full-fledged independent nuclear deterrence delivery system and maybe would have to kick out and close the numerous bases the US owns across the UK? Oh and also massively increase defence spending and logistical spending such as satellites.

          • bluedog

            All true, Hannah. The UK could not begin to survive a nuclear war. But this where closer co-operation with the old Commonwealth is very important to the UK. The initial British nuclear tests all took place in Australia, something the Australians would not allow again. But both Canada and Australia have scope to offer the UK a strategic depth it can never have within the geography of the British Isles, particularly for things like weapons testing. The US has been a ruthless ally, taking care to shut-down allied weapons programmes that could have had a technological edge. Check out the Avro Arrow scandal in Canada and the combination of ineptitude and skullduggery that ensured the demise of the TSR2 programme.

          • Hi

            I shall look those up.

          • Dominic Stockford

            “give the province of Ulster to the Irish Republic”

            Reward the murderers of the IRA, and set off further bloodshed and mayhem. Good plan that, not. Eire can join a federal GB without that step being taken.

          • bluedog

            Can’t see the Irish Republic joining a federal UK without that step being taken. Can’t see how return of a united Ireland to the UK rewards the IRA. Quite the reverse.

          • Holger

            The level of delusion on this site never ceases to amaze.

            Not only do some dream of the queen being declared monarch of the US, but others fantasize about the Irish willingly placing themselves under the rule of a nation that treated them like animals for hundreds of years.

            I have to say this is all very satisfactory. It confirms my opinion of those who post here as a bunch of deluded fantasists.

            With the latest statements from Holyrood, your country is on the verge of breaking apart rather than coming together. The queen’s official title in the coming years is far likelier to be “Elizabeth II, by the grace of Sky Pixie Queen of the Untied (sic) Kingdom of England and the Bits of Ireland Nobody Else Wants, Head of Amazing Shrinking Commonwealth” rather than “Elizabeth II, by the grace of Sky Pixie Queen of the Reunited Kingdom of Great Britain and Date-Rape-Drugged Ireland, Empress of the Yoonided States of ‘Murrica and Head of All the Other Countries Too.”

            Why not claim she’ll be the next pope too? It’s about as likely.

          • bluedog

            ‘others fantasize about the Irish willingly placing themselves under the rule of a nation that treated them like animals for hundreds of years.’

            The EU has been brilliant for Ireland but it would be reckless to assume that either the EU or the Euro will survive. The Irish government would have to recognise that risk and be considering strategies to ensure the continuing prosperity and well-being of the Irish people. For example, what if the Euro implodes as international banks and agencies lose confidence in ECB paper? What currency would Ireland use then? Its own? Sterling? Post-Brexit Britain will create its own dynamic in Europe and we cannot predict the outcome. Whatever is decided, it would of course be the democratic choice of the Irish people. It’s not as though Britain is totally foreign to the Irish, a significant percentage of the British have Irish surnames. Both nations share the Common Law, unlike Scotland.

          • Holger

            The prospect of poverty didn’t stop Ireland breaking away from Britain in the early 20th century.

            They value their independence very highly. It’s one thing to agree to a pooling of sovereignty in a multi-national European Union. It’s quite another to give up sovereignty altogether, especially to a former colonial power.

            Millions of the Irish either died of starvation or fled to America as a result of British colonial policies in Ireland. The memory runs deep. They’re reconciled to you now, but only as friendly neighbours who’ve let bygones be bygones. Start telling them how to run their country and I think you’ll see a very different kind of response.

          • bluedog

            As a citizen of a unitary state that ruthlessly controls every aspect of governance from the centre, you clearly do not understand how devolved competencies work. The pressure for Irish independence came following the refusal of the House of Lords to back Gladstone’s proposals for Home Rule. If this had been implemented in the 1880’s, history would be different. As I have already said, whatever happens is a decision for the Irish electorate. But one easily foresee a range of scenarios relating to the EU in which the options for Ireland are two-fold; stick to independence in a pure form, or, find a closer relationship within a federal UK that includes the re-unification of Ireland. It would be an extremely interesting question to put to the Irish government. You should note that as Scottish Labour is now proposing a federal constitution for the UK, a degree of bi-partisan support can be assumed.

          • Holger

            If you’re relying on Scottish Labour for support for your idea then get used to life on the lunatic fringe.

            Oops, I forgot you already are.

          • bluedog

            Probably not. You don’t appear to understand very much about the propagation of ideas.

            In the context of Scotland there are three Unionist factions and one separatist faction. The idea of a federal British constitution was first formally tabled by a Scottish Lib-Dem politician in 2005. So it’s taken 12 years for a second Unionist faction to adopt the idea. The prospect of a second indyref after Brexit will sharpen the policy response of all three Unionist factions, and as in 2014, they will emerge with a united front. It remains to be seen if Mrs May is prepared to endorse the idea of a federal constitution or will restrict herself to noting the support of the other parties for the proposal.

    • Holger

      …you’ve got to abandon all your own preferences, your own bright ideas, and guide souls along the road our Lord has marked out for them. You mustn’t coerce them into some path of your own choosing.

      The above quote is proof positive that in the midst of religious delirium, common sense can still make its presence felt.

      Thérèse Martin was the daughter of a clockmaker from Bordeaux who despite his morbid religious obsession, was noted as a talented and practical man. These sensible paternal genes seem to have given his daughter a measure of lucidity in the midst of the crazed religious madness she inherited from her unstable mother.

      Thérèse and her five sisters all took the veil that was denied their mother on the grounds of her total unsuitability for religious life. After a period of attempting continence as a married woman, she then decided to pump out as many children as she could and dedicate them to Christ. Four of her unfortunate offspring perished in infancy. The remaining six all became nuns. Poor old Thérèse was doomed to celibacy before she was even conceived – through a hole in a thick linen sheet, if the rumours are correct.

      Of the religious mystics produced in late nineteenth and early twentieth century France as part of the reaction to growing secularism and anti-clerical feeling, some were completely off their trolley, like the unfortunate Bernadette Soubirous, and some were more lucid. Thérèse Martin, who came from relatively prosperous origins and had therefore grown up with adequate nutrition and at least some rudiments of instruction, was far more reasonable in her faith that the gibbering, malnourished and totally ignorant Soubirous or the hysterical Marthe Robin. Native common sense was evident in her religious pronouncements, although indoctrination by her obsessed parents coupled with hereditary psychological instability turned her into just as much of a fantasist as any other “saint”. But still, when you sift her words, in the midst of all the gibbering nonsense, you do occasionally find little nuggets of common sense like the one above. Hers was a lucid if unstable character that could have truly benefited from a secular education. A clear example of how religion twists and consumes its victims.

      • God loves you Linus. He has blessed you with any gifts and advantages. Why misuse them?

        • Holger

          You say that god loves me. You say that god exists. But these are just assertions for which you provide no convincing evidence.

          In effect you demand that I believe, because you believe, and what you believe must be right, so I must believe it.

          In other words, I should fall to my knees in a glorious epiphany based solely on your opinion, shouldn’t I?

          You really do have a well-developed idea of your own importance, don’t you? All hail God’s prophet upon earth, Holy Jack, who has but to open his mouth to make the unbelieving masses swoon in adoration of the Lord.

          Sorry old bean, but it doesn’t work like that. First you provide evidence. If your evidence doesn’t pass muster, then you provide more. If you can’t, your assertions will be dismissed. If they’re plausible, they might be set to one side and considered as interesting but unproven. But if they’re clearly fantastical, like Christian stories about virgin births and resurrections, then they can safely be categorized as fiction.

          Of course, the possibility that fiction may be true can never be entirely dismissed. The magical land of Narnia may well be lurking in the back of some wardrobe in some random English country house. But it isn’t likely, is it?

          I view Jesus and Aslan as essentially the same. I have no reason to believe in either of them.

          I mean, if some crazed C.S. Lewis fan tried to convince you that a talking lion really exists based on no evidence at all and that because he believes in it, so must you, you’d laugh him out of the room. Yet you expect me to believe your stories about your invisible, undetectable god and his invisible, undetectable son. The – shall we say “overconfident” attitude this betrays is one of the hallmarks of the religious psyche. You are the fulcrum of creation, aren’t you? Everything turns around you and all paths lead to what you believe is true.

          So here’s a question for you then: if god does exist and his presence doesn’t deprive us of free will (as evidenced by Adam and Eve, who, we’re told, had direct evidence of god’s existence, but who still managed to fall), why then does he hide away and provide us with no tangible evidence of his existence?

          If he loved us as much as you say he does, surely like any loving father he’d be here to instruct us and urge us to choose salvation. Or at the very least, to impose his authority and make it clear to us that our choices have eternal consequences.

          There are only two plausible explanations for his absence from the world. 1) He doesn’t exist, or 2) he does, but he can’t be bothered to show up because he doesn’t care what we do.

          Either way, there’s no reason to waste time worshipping him, is there?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            There is no reason if there is no God.
            And I tend to agree with your opinion of Jack’s hubris.
            I love intelligent atheists and agnostics. They are unlikely to be moved Pascal’s arguments but they give me an opportunity to share them — which many believers appreciate.

            Why we cannot prove God to you. And why I, as a Christian, would not even want to do so::
            If God truly exists why is He not known to all?
            Arrogant atheists would say that believers are stupid or at least duped by myths (even though 90% of enlightenment science was founded by Christians and Jews, and many brilliant philosophers and scientists have been devout Christians). But actually this is a good question.

            If God is totally good, why has He not made everything totally clear and unambiguous, and if He exists, why doesn’t He overwhelm us with evidence of His existence, goodness, and the truth of His Word?

            Right before his death in 1662, highly respected philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote an answer:
            “The cure for our misery and our misbehavior remains the same. It was God’s gracious will to redeem us and to open the way of salvation to those who seek it. Also, God has granted us the right to choose against our own salvation— by our continued disbelief in God’s grace and mercy. Humanity has shown itself so unworthy that, for the most part, it chooses against God— and therefore chooses against His one and only true Savior.
            “It is right for God to allow some, for their hardness of heart, to fail to receive what He grants to others by a mercy they have not earned.

            “God has not appeared in a manner manifestly divine and
            absolutely capable of convincing everyone, but neither has His divinity been so hidden that He could not be recognized by those who sincerely sought Him. He wished to make Himself perfectly recognizable to these. His sheep will always hear his voice, and be attracted thereto.

            “Thus wishing to appear openly to all those who ‘seek Him with all their heart’ and remain hidden from those who shun Him, He has qualified our knowledge of Him by giving signs which can be seen by those who truly want to find and know Him and not by those who do not. There is enough light for those who desire to see, and enough darkness for those of a contrary disposition.”

            And as John R.W. Stott put it: “Just as it is the nature of light to shine, so it is the nature of God to reveal Himself. True, he hides himself from the wise and clever, but only because they are proud and do not want to know Him; He reveals himself to ‘babies’, that is, to those humble enough to receive His self-disclosure. The chief reason why people do not know God is not because He hides from them, but because they hide from him.”

            “It is not a case of proving first and then believing. We cannot believe theological truths for non-theological reasons. Rather, it is only when we encounter the living God in faith that we are in a position to grasp the truth of Christian faith. God then enables us to see with spiritual eyes what we could not previously see. The spirit is able to understand what the mind of the flesh is unable to conceive.” (Dr. Colin Brown)

            As Paul put it: “The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned…But we have the mind of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 2:13-16

          • Holger

            That’s the trouble with Christians. You ask them for proof of god and they point to an empty spot of air and say “there he is for those who have eyes to see”.

            It’s ridiculous because anyone can claim to see what others don’t. There’s no more reason to believe Christians when they talk about god than there is to believe alien abductees when they talk about Lizards, Greys and Nordics.

            The abductee will say he can’t give me proof of aliens because only the elect are lucky enough to be taken and if I haven’t been, I’m clearly not of the elect. And the Christian will, allowing for some differences in vocabulary, say virtually the same thing.

            So who to believe? Nobody, of course. I’ve never seen an alien and I’ve never seen god. But I’ve often seen the crazed and malicious people who believe – or say they believe – in these things.

            Believers always have a agenda, which can range from a Happy Jack’s desire to ride on the coat tails of his all-powerful god, the better to dominate and control others and have them look up to him as some kind of oracle, to a more general desire to be seen as “special” or “holy” or “chosen”. Pretending to see things that just aren’t there lets them manipulate the weak-minded and push a very personal agenda of self-aggrandizement while attacking those they hate and labelling them as “fallen” and unworthy of their invisible god’s attention.

            God, aliens and the emperor’s new clothes. Three examples of how the credulous can so easily be taken in by confidence tricksters.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yep, that is how it works. I have personally received an abundance of evidence and proofs for the existence of God … but only since I first gave my life to Christ. Without that first leap of faith, a person will have much less evidence. Even now, you have billions of people’s testimony, you have the amazing and the intelligently designed natural universe; but you do not have the very personal, in-your-face, no-denying evidence of God. Because you do not want it. God is a gentleman, as they say. Only on rare occasions (like with Moses and Saul of Tarsus) does He force His way into a life without being asked. “He stands and the door and knocks” but you have to deliberately open the door and give Him permission to personally enter your life.
            So if you wish, you get to stay an atheist until your body dies… then you will find out. IF when you are dead, you are dead, then we are all in the same boat (no one wins), but IF you are wrong, then the consequences of your disbelief are horrible and forever, and the consequences of my belief are heavenly and forever. Please join us, Holger.

          • Holger

            If I’m wrong, the consequences certainly will be horrible. No matter what I do. Eternity burning in hell or eternity groveling before a despotic homophobic monster of a god. Either way it adds up to eternal suffering and misery.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Ha! Only Satan comes close to being a “despotic homophobic monster of a god.” And he will be burning with you if you never believe. No one will be groveling in heaven, only rejoicing (‘partying’ if you will) and enjoying His presence and divine personality. By the way, God does have a wonderful sense of humor. There is no pain, no suffering, no conflict, and no death in heaven. We will then understand everything, no rules will be needed, and everyone there will be motivated by faith, hope, and love (see 1 Corinthians 13).

          • Holger

            God is the homophobe. He sends gays to hell because we refuse to deny who we are and obey his unjust rules. Or he would if he existed and was anything like the despot described in your holy book.

            Good thing there’s no evidence he does.

  • Inspector General

    Today’s guest avatar is the flag of the sea going anarchist bum pirates that work out from the port of Bristol.

    “Arggghhh. Shiver me rude bits, captain, but is that ship yonder not carrying the gay plague aboard”

    “It be, first mate, and those scurvy rats makes course to where our young are being taught”

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/03/01/government-announces-mandatory-sex-ed-but-its-unclear-if-it-will-be-lgbt-inclusive/comments/#disqus_thread

    Will the queer pirates capture the children and use SRE to gay them? Find out soon me hearties…

    Yo Ho Ho!

    • Sarky

      Off topic…….again

      • Inspector General

        And you to be fed to the little fishes in pieces, Sarky my cabin boy lad. Now, bend over….this be a gay ship you be on…

    • 1649again

      LOLzzzz.

    • What are you doing?

      • Inspector General

        Of possible interest to all who have our children’s welfare at heart, sir.

        SRE. Perhaps this most important of recent government objectives be the subject of your considered appreciation. There is much at stake. Repeat, much.

        • 1649again

          You’ve lost me IG. What’s SRE?

          • chefofsinners

            Sex and Relationships Education.
            Now available at a school near you. Although don’t turn up asking for some.

          • 1649again

            When you’ve three sons it’s terrifying. Trapped between them finding out appalling things from their friends and on line, hard left deviant peddling teachers propagandising wickedness, and demonstrating one’s own relative ignorance about the reality of out of control perversion. I suspect most people just chicken out and let the State take over.

          • chefofsinners

            I only have two sons. It must be the beer.
            Our main duty is to give children a moral framework within which to order the facts they receive at school.

          • 1649again

            That is the bit I’m happy doing. It’s the rest, all the stuff I don’t know about but fear they may get exposed to.

            Beer is very rich in minerals, lacking sugar and fat, and therefore very good for you.

          • chefofsinners

            “all the stuff I don’t know about but fear they may get exposed to.”
            They will already know far more than you imagine. Teach the truth. That’s the wholesome way to expose error.

          • Inspector General

            Keep an eye on SRE. Not just as a parent but as a future grand parent. As it stands, all manner of nefarious organisations are going to try to influence what’s going to be in it.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I have two daughters…it wasn’t the beer…

          • IanCad

            If you have the wherewithal, the solution is to home school your lads. You will find your local council to be quite helpful in that regard.
            Find a few like minded child owners, get together, spread the load – don’t despair or surrender – do something.

          • 1649again

            Thank you. Fortunately, we are in a position to send our sons to a fine traditional public school with a very strong Christian ethos, two chaplains etc. The cot is huge but the ethos was instrumental in our decision and I know the school does its best. The challenge is the other pupils and on line, and I don’t believe cutting them off from the outside world is in their best interests.

          • michaelkx

            you are so right in what you say

          • Inspector General

            Sex and Relationship Education. If organised gays are allowed in, that’s the end of the future generations of Christians. Christianity will become a despised belief. It’s that serious..

          • 1649again

            With that I agree.

        • You have deleted it. Bless you.

      • chefofsinners

        It’s the numbskull and crossbones.

      • Inspector General

        Alright. Could have done it better. No regrets.

  • chefofsinners

    Prosecutor: What are you giving up for Lent?
    Judge: Christianity.

    • 1649again

      Sorry, thought you meant the House of Bishops for a minute.

      • chefofsinners

        They’re giving up agnosticism and having a go at being pagans instead.

        • Inspector General

          Try Humanism. The worship of our corrupt hides…

    • Politically__Incorrect

      The judge would reply: “justice”

      • chefofsinners

        If he knew what it meant.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    Thanks, brothers, and keep it coming. Let them try to stop us from preaching the gospel truth. If they succeed, then even the stones will cry out.

  • Manfarang

    Under the Highway Act is the right to pass and repass. There is no right to block it by holding a public gathering. There are also breaches of the peace and of course the Public Order Acts.
    Christians have the same freedom of speech as everyone else. The country is full of churches, if people choose not to go to them maybe they think Christianity is not true.
    I have seen tables put up in public places by Street Chaplains. No problems. In fact I had a friendly chat with two of them

    • Royinsouthwest

      Who was doing the blocking? How many people constitute a public gathering? What if the public gathering was not stopping anyone from getting past? How many “public gatherings” do the police disrupt every year? Do the police exhibit bias in stopping public gatherings in favour of some causes but not others? If some people in the public gathering are being aggressive why don’t the police arrest them and not those who are not being aggressive?

      • Dominic Stockford

        When four of us gathered to oppose the RCC holding a service in the Royal Chapel at Hampton Court, contrary to law, we were visited by police. All four of us, standing out of the way off the pavement. They live in terror of the Word of God, clearly, and of those who wield it.

        • ROFLMAO ……………

          Did your flying picket also go to Rome to protest the Anglican Choral Evensong celebrated at the altar of the Chair of St Peter in St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican?

          • len

            Is that next to the statue of Zeus?.

      • Manfarang

        The police can tell people to move along, if anyone doesn’t then they can be prosecuted for obstructing a police officer in the course of his duty under the Police Acts.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I am not a lawyer but I would have thought that if the police have no right to tell anyone to move along if they are not causing an obstruction.

          • Manfarang

            Normally the police would tell someone to move along if they are loitering with intent to cause a public nuisance or likely to commit other offences.

  • Royinsouthwest

    I pointed out a paradox in a comment on this discussion yesterday: The more “human rights” we have, the less freedom we have.

    Here is another paradox:

    The more “tolerant” society becomes the less we are allowed to do, say, or even think.

    • David

      These shallow slogans like “human rights” and “freedom” are paper thin, and cannot stand up to any philosophical examination. For a start any society that truly prioritised freedom, would not allow people form cultures that are amongst the most intolerant, to immigrate here in such large numbers. But in a shallow age, cynical politicians use their childish slogans to gain power and thereby impose their agendas on a gullible population. The results are, as we now see, anything but an increase in total freedom.

      • Mike Stallard

        Bentham agreed.
        The Chinese have always puzzled me. Hard working,disciplined, well educated and extremely intelligent, they invented all sorts of things including paper and cannons. Their exploration of the world paralleled the Vikings, the Portuguese and the British. So why are they still believing rubbish like the I Ching, Feng Shuey and all those ridiculous things about medicine?
        Answer = because for centuries – millennia – they have been repressed and ruled by a small group of tightly controlled ruthless people who decay and then allow havoc.
        Now we, too, are going the same way.

        • Manfarang

          The ruling Chinese Communist Party is very strong in its opposition to superstitious beliefs.

          • 1649again

            Like Marxism, Maoism…?

          • Manfarang

            Like religion. Try doing some street preaching and see what happens.

    • 1649again

      Look at the attempts to report from Sweden by the likes of Katie Hopkins and others. Freedom of speech is being ever more circumscribed in the cause of ‘equality and community relations’. Of course parading through the streets of ghettos calling for the beheading of infidels never seems to result in arrests or prosecutions. Never does to upset the imported natives.

      It reminds me of the old joke – “What’s the difference between a welfare state and a totalitarian state? Time.”

      • Anton

        From Our Father to Nanny State to Big Brother in one lifetime.

        • That’s actually quite good – but how old are you?

          • Anton

            In my 50s.

          • len

            Jacks 12′ ish

  • michaelkx

    some time age a certain preacher stood on the public highway, with police standing around, perching hate and they did nothing, (for the public good?) so why change now? could it be that in the end times there will be God haters, loving a lie and hating the truth.???

  • mollysdad

    After much reflection I have reconsidered my position in relation to Michael Stockwell. Had I been at the scene I would have heard him say, as recorded on the Christian Concern website:

    “If you are trying to come through Catholicism, through Jehovah Witness, through Mormonism, the Bible says you’re a thief and a liar and a thief comes to steal and destroy.”

    The Bible nowhere says these things, except where Jesus speaks of all who came before Him (thieves) and in the discourse where He made two accusations of mendacity: when speaking of Satan, and when speaking of those who accused Him of being demon-possessed.

    I am a Catholic, and had I been there as a witness, I would have entered the witness box to testify for our Lord Jesus Christ and against Mr Stockwell. In calling Catholics (myself included) thieves and liars, Mr Stockwell broke the Commandment against accusing your neighbour falsely. By invoking the Bible to confirm his false testimony, Mr Stockwell blasphemed the Name.

    This evil and accursed man is one who claims to be a brother, but who is in reality a minister of Satan masquerading as a servant of righteousness. With such as these, one should not even sit down and eat.

    • len

      Do you have a problem with this statement.?

      ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'(John 14:6)

      Because if not, you can leave the RCC and still be saved then?.

      • mollysdad

        What Jesus was referring to is “korban” – Hebrew for “drawing near” to God as the Jews did when they presented sacrifices and offerings. The only way to “draw near” to the Father is by consecrating Jesus to Him according to the mitzvah for the consecration of the first-born. (see also the “bringing-near” of the Son of man at Daniel 7).

        Only Jesus may be presented, because only He is the bekhor (first-born), and only to the Father, and only those may present Him to whom He has given power of attorney (shelichut/apostolate) to act as such.

        These are, namely: (a) the sheluchim (apostles) and those they ordain to succeed them, who are referred to in Hebrews 12; and (b) Jesus legal father Joseph, to whom it belonged to consecrate his wife’s first-born Son during His minority.

        By doing this, the Church hallows the Name.

        The Name (the Holy Spirit) consecrates the Name (Jesus) to the Name (the Father).

        But this is beside the point. From the evidence presented in court in Bristol, I am sure that Mr Stockwell falsely accused Catholics of being liars and thieves, and I am sure that Mr Stockwell confirmed his false accusation and thereby committed “qillelat ha-Shem” (abuse of the Name).

        Under biblical law, the penalty is death, but fortunately for him, he’s only getting fined.

        • len

          Jesus`s statement is not ‘a suggestion’ but a direct command.

          ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'(John 14:6)

          Jesus also states quite clearly”Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.” (John 10:1)

          Jesus is quite clearly also’ the Gate through’ which the sheep enter the fold.

          These street preachers were preaching the Gospel.

          The fact that you would testify against them should be a cause for concern to you.

          • mollysdad

            I take exception to what you just said. I believe that the Roman Catholic Church is that founded by Christ. I may be mistaken about that, but I am not lying, and I would have so testified had I been present at the scene.

            I am not lying, and I will not acquiesce when some arrogant heretic tells me that I am.

            I have a positive duty as a Christian to hallow the Name of the Lord, and I will not acquiesce when someone who falsely claims to be a Christian in good standing, tramples on the Third and the Ninth Commandments, and abuses the Name in my presence.

            Council of Trent, Canon 1 on the Eucharist:

            CANON I.-If any one denies, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but says that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I am delighted to be anathema – and God is delighted with me to be so. How can man possibly command God in the person of Jesus Christ to become present in bread and wine, when Jesus Christ is somewhere else at the time? How utterly arrogant.

          • William Lewis

            Anathema:
            (1) something or someone that one vehemently dislikes.
            (2) a formal curse by a pope or a council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine.

            Looks like that’s a no then.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I’ve already been declared to be excommunicate by the RCC Bishop of Plymouth. So, been there, not got a t-shirt yet, but I might have one printed off…..

          • len

            I think Iv’e just been anathemized, so put me down for a t- shirt as well.

          • Dominic Stockford

            “Proud To Be Anathematised”

            Does that sound good?

          • len

            Very good!.

          • Except it’s a lie …..

          • len

            Excommunicated then?.

          • Never a member … so how can you be. You’re what we Catholics call invincibly ignorant.

          • len

            Thanks, that probably the nicest thing you have ever said to me…

          • The canonical penalty no longer exists and it never applied to non-Catholics. Sorry to disappoint.

          • Manfarang

            Poor old Pat got defrocked by the Bishop of Rome.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Who’s Pat?

          • Manfarang

            Irish ex-priest.

          • Did your training include an explanation of the term “anathema”, what it entailed and what it actually signified in Catholicism? A Canon lawyer, you’re not.

          • Anton

            The scriptural meaning is good enough for most Christians.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I’m so glad I’ve blocked him and his nonsense.

          • carl jacobs

            Interesting. The anathemas from the (infallible) Council of Trent didn’t technically apply to the Reformers because they were already condemned by EENS. But one suspects that Rome can’t just abolish infallible anathemas.

            Oh, silly me! Of course it can. Rome can do anything it wants.

          • Greek anathema literally means: placed on high, suspended or set aside. Anathema is a canonical penalty, involving excommunication, not a curse. Besides, this penalty was abolished in the new Code of Canon Law in 1983.

            As a non-Catholic it would not have applied to you.

          • mollysdad

            “Anathema” is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew “herem”. It was originally a reference to the curse of destruction, where something dangerous to the spiritual life of the community was secluded for destruction. After the destruction of the First Temple it was used as a formula of excommunication.

            I would submit that if a person is found to have blasphemed as Michael Stockwell did, then the anathema of the Tridentine Council would have effect for him as a divine curse – but I hold this point only tentatively.

          • That would depend on culpability, of course, and we cannot know his soul. He’s an ex-Catholic who received the sacrament of ordination but after several years in ministry defected.

          • mollysdad

            Michael Stockwell was a Catholic priest? Can you confirm this?

            I don’t pretend to know his soul, but what I do know is that in the external forum he is a criminal and a notorious blasphemer who has no good name capable of being defamed within the Christian community.

          • Dominic Stockford, not Michael Stockwell. .

          • Anton

            Dominic, St Ockford if you please.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Anton, you are too kind!

            However, given that the Bible does say (Titus 3) “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour, so that being justified by his grace”, then I am indeed set apart as God in his word assures me (Ephesians 2) that “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works”.

            Having said that, I would prefer not to be called ‘saint’, but blessed.

          • mollysdad

            Unless the bread and the wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ when consecrated, then what Jesus did at the Last Supper is something other than the mitzvah to consecrate the first-born. That would have violated the Regulative Principle of worship.

          • Dominic Stockford

            What a load of confusion going on in your mind.

          • whiskymike

            I believe that when Jesus said the bread is my body and the wine my blood He did not mean that those elements are really turned into blood and flesh but it was his way of speaking. Therefore Roman Catholics are in error.
            This issue of speaking or reading the Holy Bible aloud in public places is very important.
            The bible says all are lost and that ONLY Jesus is the way.
            A lawyer says all faiths lead to God which ALL Christians know is untrue.
            Christianity is totally unlike all other religions in that the founder of Christianity, Jesus said He was God.
            No other religon founder claimed to be God

          • mollysdad

            Let’s assume for the sake of argument that eternal salvation is impossible without conscious and exclusive faith in Jesus Christ. Invincible ignorance is not an excuse.

            From earliest times, candidates for baptism had to profess faith in the articles of the creed, including faith in the holy catholic Church.

            How could anyone have saving faith without knowing the right answer to the question of what the holy catholic Church is?

            Does it have two sacraments, or seven, and what are they?

            What is the relation of the Body and Blood of Christ to the Eucharistic elements? (consubstantiation, transubstantiation, Christ spiritually present in the elements (Calvin) or in the faithful gathered (Zwingli))?

            Does the Bishop of Rome possess by divine right the jurisdictional primacy of Peter over the whole Church, or not?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Not. But like most of your other questions, the scriptures don’t answer the question because it is not important. Many of these ecclesiastic and polity differences fall into realm of Romans 14. Check it out. There are many “secondary” issues that churches disagree about and God allows them that freedom. “Unity in essentials, liberty in non-essentials, and love in all things” is a great motto for the churches. But people like to argue about non-essentials.

          • mollysdad

            So what in the divine constitution of the Church are the essentials? For fifteen centuries, all Christians held that God had put seven sacraments in the Church and they believed in transubstantiation. If they were wrong, and the right answer is that God established only two sacraments, then not a single soul was saved until Maundy Thursday 1525, when the true Church was founded in the first Protestant communion service, inaugurated at Zurich.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Examine the Nicene Creed and perhaps the 39 Articles of Religion (and also the Jerusalem Declaration) for the essentials of the Anglican faith. The Roman Church went off the rails very early with revisionist beliefs not substantiated by the scriptures. There is nothing in the NT scriptures about “sacraments.” Christians could have made foot washing a sacrament because Jesus (like with the Lord’s Supper) commanded His disciples to do it. The Roman sacramentalists obviously did not want to make this a sacrament. Most Christian denominations hold up Baptism and Holy Communion (Eucharist) as sacramental things Christians should do. The rest that the RCC made up were only their inventions, to support their clericalism (clergy ruling over laity). Clericalism was also a revision which Jesus actually refuted in Mark 10:42-44 and Matthew 23: 1-12. There were many good reasons for the Reformation; it was God ordained.

          • mollysdad

            The distinction between clerics and the laity follows the distinction between first-born males (priests) and Israelites; between the thousand thousands who ministered to God, and ten thousand times ten thousand who stood before him: (Daniel 7:10) between the seraphim and the cherubim. That distinction is maintained in Hebrews 12:23.

            The celebration of the Eucharist is something which is absolutely essential to the worship of God and the hallowing of His Name. The Church would cease to exist if she were ever to discontinue it, or if by human corruption the Eucharist were to become something other than what Christ instituted.

            So the questions are: When in history did the Church cease to worship God in that way that Christ commanded her to (so the Holy Spirit departed for heaven)? Why would the Holy Spirit return to re-establish the Church in the 16th century, at the behest of mere men like Martin Luther and Huldreich Zwingli?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I have never mentioned Zwingli, so your diatribe against him is a straw-man argument. I am a Thomas Cranmer fan. Nor have I said anything against the Eucharist as a primary sacrament. A primary reason for why I am Anglican is because the worship centers around the Eucharist. So who exactly are you arguing with?

            As to your first paragraph: The gospel of Jesus Christ largely removes such OT distinctions (Galatians 3:27-28, cf. Mark 10:42-44). The late great Anglican teacher John R.W Stott put it this way: “It is only against the backdrop of the equality and unity of the people of God that the real scandal of clericalism may be seen. What clericalism also does, by concentrating power and privilege in the hands of the clergy, is at least to obscure and at worst to annul the essential oneness of the people of God. Extreme forms of clericalism dare to reintroduce the notion of privilege into the only human community in which it has been abolished. Where Christ has made one out of two, the clerical mind divides into two again, the one higher and the other lower, the one active and the other passive, the one really important because vital to the life of the church, the other not vital and therefore less important. I do not hesitate to say that to interpret the church in terms of a privileged clerical caste or hierarchical structure is to destroy the New Testament doctrine of the church.”
            And so it is no wonder that the pews are emptying.

            Some additional supportive points from the NT scriptures:
            The Church as the Priesthood of All Believers
            As you come to Him, the Living Stone—rejected by
            humans but chosen by God and precious to Him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. … you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
            (1 Peter 2:4-5, 9)

            Here Peter is addressing all who “come to Him”, not just the other Apostles, not just leaders. Through Christ, all believers
            have access to the Father, all have salvation, all are siblings “in Christ”, and no one is qualified to “rule” over another brother or sister (cf., Mark 10:42-44).

            One Body in Christ
            “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many… God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. . Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it” (from 1 Cor 12).

          • mollysdad

            OK, so you’re a Cranmer fan. Unless I’m mistaken, his answer to the question “What is the Church?” would be similar to Calvin’s: (1) There are two sacraments, baptism and Eucharist; (2) Christ is corporeally present in heaven only and in the sacrament only spiritually; and (3) There is in the Church no primacy of divine right.

            On the assumption of an exclusivist ecclesiology, outside a Church of this description no one is saved, and a church of this description did not exist before 1525.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, I agree with #1.

            do not believe in #2 and do not believe this was Cranmer’s belief. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in me and I live in Christ– and this occurred first when I came to belief and has been an ongoing reality since then. Not just during the Eucharist. Each believer is a “temple of the Holy Spirit.” The Lord communicates with me frequently in all kinds of ways. He never leaves me.

            As for #3, it all depends on how you and I define “Church.” As I define it, it is not an institution in the world that you can point to but is made up of all true believers– of whom only God knows for certain (John 18:36, Luke 17: 20-21)– and these people in all ages past and to come are corporately the “Bride of Christ.”
            Remember, churches do not save anybody, only our Lord
            and Savior Jesus Christ can redeem us (John 3:16-17; 10:9,
            Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:31, Romans 10:9,13). In no place do the scriptures suggest that salvation comes from the
            Church as separate from faith in Jesus and what He accomplished at the Cross.

          • mollysdad

            If you hold that Jesus is spiritually present in the consecrated elements, then tell me: What do you mean by the spiritual presence of a body?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I never said the phrase “spiritual presence of a body.” And as an evangelical and rather Puritan Anglican, I do not hold that the Lord is present in the consecrated elements themselves but rather He is already in the believer by faith, which the elements symbolize and celebrate. It is a superstitious Roman accretion to place Jesus actually in the material accidents of bread and wine. When Jesus, at the Last Supper, said “this is my body and this is my blood, do this is remembrance of Me,” He was obviously there before them in the flesh, so we know it was meant to be symbolic and for a memorial.
            As Paul made clear: Christ is me and I am in Christ (all the time) if I am a true believer. That is, the same Holy Spirit that was in Him is now in us. He seals us and transforms us. The Eucharist (which means “thanksgiving”) celebrates this fact and what Jesus did to make it so. It is an act of worship and memorial (which I love). But it is NOT a magic act that makes something happen (we can never coerce God). Nor is there a new sacrifice … beyond our own small sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving, and worship.

          • mollysdad

            Right, so you do not hold that the Lord is present in the consecrated elements themselves but rather He is already in the believer by faith, which the elements symbolize and celebrate.

            That is a statement of the relation between the body and blood of Christ and the consecrated elements. That goes to the definition of what the Church is. If it is true, and if exclusivisim is the correct doctrine of salvation, then it is absolutely impossible for anyone to be saved unless he consciously believes it to be true.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            One does not have to be that sophisticated to be saved. Reference the thief on the cross next to Jesus. We need only to believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross for us to be forgiven. We must simply trust Him and submit to His Lordship. We need then to repent of our sins and confess them, and trust what Jesus did at the Cross … to save us. The correct interpretation of the Eucharist is helpful for our spiritual understanding and growth but it is not required.

          • mollysdad

            God did not, under those circumstances, require Christian faith of a man who had only a little longer to live than He did.

            “Let my people go, that they might worship me” means that we are saved from our sins in order that we might worship God. If God can’t make us fit to worship Him, then He can’t rationalise the forgiveness of sins.

            The stakes are these. If the bread and the wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ, then the elements themselves are the Name which God Himself spoke to Israel and wrote eight times on tablets of stone. Whoever absents himself from the Eucharist of that description cannot be saved, if the exclusivist view of soteriology is correct.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            That is the schizophrenic view of soteriology, otherwise known as goobledegook.

          • mollysdad

            Come again?

          • >>>Does the Bishop of Rome possess by divine right the jurisdictional primacy of Peter over the whole Church, or not?’

            Not.

            Anything else I can help you with?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            NOT– is the correct answer and let me provide some more details.
            In fact, the Bishop of Rome does NOT have universal jurisdiction over the universal Church, nor is the Roman Church more special than any other. There is no scriptural foundation for such a claim.
            Roman Catholics like to point to the conversation between Jesus and Peter in Matthew 16:13-19. Peter’s faith in Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God” led to his publicly claiming this faith (which was provided only by the Father), which is the foundation for the Church. A reasonable exegesis of this passage indicates that the foundation of
            the Church was not Peter himself, it was the truth that Peter was the first to actually state, that is, the truth regarding the identity of Jesus. This is the essential truth of the Gospel and its proclamation is the primary purpose of the Church. Anyone who believes in this same truth is part of the priesthood of all believers. Peter himself wrote of believers: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ … you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:5-9)

            Peter’s connection to the Roman Church is far more tenuous than Paul’s. Rome was Gentile and Paul was the Apostle to the Gentiles (not Peter); Paul wrote his longest and most theological letter to Rome. Like Peter, Paul also was martyred in Rome.
            Peter never promoted himself as the prime leader of the Church. He could have easily done so; he did not. He even deferred to James, Jesus’ brother for leadership of the Jerusalem church (See Acts 15).
            The real reason for why the Roman Church adopted Peter was symbolic … because of the church’s intense desire for ecclesiastic hegemony, to go along with the primacy of the Roman Empire. Did not they even call it the “Holy Roman Empire”? What hubris. But God eventually proved that this was not His plan, not His will. And this continues; the RCC is no more special or qualified for global leadership than any other church.

          • whiskymike

            Futher to my earlier reply the phrase catholic church does NOT mean the Roman Catholic church.
            The dictionary definition of catholic is universal, in other words all those who believe in and follow Jesus Christ are defined as Christians.
            Having visited St Peters in Rome I was truly shocked by the idolatory shown by people praying to dead popes contained in glass boxes.
            Jesus said St Peter was the rock on which He would build His church, (the fellowship of all believers)
            So no the Bishop of Rome does not have primacy over the whole church

          • mollysdad

            OK, so that rules out the possibility of salvation for Roman Catholics, because they have the wrong answer to the question “What is the Church?”

            Shall we consider Eastern Orthodoxy now?

          • Martin

            Dear mollysdad:),

            As a former Catholic of 39yrs and my wife for 41yrs, I greatly encourage you to look at the following:

            http://www.whateverycatholicshouldknow.com/wecsk.htm

            As you can imagine for that length of time, we too thought we believed what was right and were in the right place.

          • mollysdad

            I think you’ve just vindicated what I’ve said. When you professed the Catholic faith, you weren’t lying. According to Michael Stockwell, God says that you were.
            That is a false accusation. For anyone to use the Divine Name to confirm it is blasphemy.

          • whiskymike

            The prosecution would like Christians to stay inside churches and not upset people. Jesus upset people that is why He was executed

          • mollysdad

            How many times can you consecrate Jesus to the Father before it becomes outwith the mitzvah and thus unlawful?

            Jesus was consecrated a first time at the age of forty days, by Joseph due to His minority. As an adult, He consecrated Himself a second time.

          • William Lewis

            How many bodies does Jesus have?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Better put than I did below!

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Although this question is for mollysdad, I cannot resist giving my answer. Jesus has one resurrected body that can go anywhere. So it can seem infinite. Also, spiritually speaking, all believers are members of His Body and His Spirit is in us. So the answer to the question can become quite complex.

          • len

            You can believe whatever you like?.
            Its what Jesus says that counts with Christians, not what Mohammed , the Pope,Joseph Smith,Charles Russel or anyone else says.

          • Holger

            I will not acquiesce when someone who falsely claims to be a Christian in good standing, tramples on the Third and the Ninth Commandments, and abuses the Name in my presence.

            So what do you do when someone who rejects Christianity completely tramples on all the commandments and ridicules your fairy story god both in your presence, and everywhere else as well?

            I assume your answer will be some kind of variation on a theme of impotent rage. What other options are open to you?

          • “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

            “If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I am noticing that you have not yet left town …
            : )

          • Which means you’re still here too 😉

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I am living with the belief (delusion?) that many people here actually listen to my words, even those who like to argue. Surely we have a mixed bag here of lost sheep, found sheep, dogs, and pigs. So I am prepared for some trampling of my best pearls and some ugly insults … on the likely chance that someone will benefit eternally.

          • Well then, count Jack as a friend in Christ.

          • mollysdad

            If he’s a Muslim I typically call him a camel p*** drinker.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Pity. That is what I feel. As Paul said, our enemies “are not flesh and blood.” All who do not believe in Christ are, without their knowing it, being led around by the nose by the great Deceiver. They are “slaves to sin” as Jesus said, and victims of deception and lies. I feel sorry for them and thus try to point them to the Truth. A few have listened and grown in faith … because they were actually ‘lost sheep’ and not goats or wolves in sheep’s clothing. The rest have been like you, unable to really hear because they did not want to hear… due to their pride and desire to be the god of their own lives.

          • Cressida de Nova

            It is the one founded by Christ. You are not mistaken.

          • mollysdad

            I know I’m not mistaken. A concession for the sake of argument.

          • len

            Not sure Christ ever said I am founding the RCC , the Church that will kill my followers???.

          • Er, you just cited the council of Trent as authority. Last I heard it was a bunch of privileged rulers trying to resist Bible religion and necessary reform.

            I prefer the authority of the Apostle Paul. See his letter to the Galatians.

            Romanism, which by God’s grace I escaped, is a different gospel which insists on reverencing saints, takes its stand on visions, forbids ministers to marry and claims to repeat the sacrifice of Our Lord, in direct contradiction of the Apostolic teaching in Hebrews.

            I have just read a book about the bloody reign of Mary Tudor, who took those words about ‘anathema’ against those who preferred Scripture as their rule of faith so seriously. Would they do the same again if they regained the upper hand?

            As an ex Catholic, I have been trying to be on my best behaviour, but perhaps when I hear RCs pronouncing anathemas against ‘arrogant heretics’ I may be reviewing things in this Reformation anniversary year.

            Kind regards, may the Spirit lead us all into the truth.

    • carl jacobs

      The relationship between Protestant and Catholic is always problematic, and its understandable that you would seek to establish RCism as the standard by which all Christianity is measured. But this event has nothing to do with Protestant/Cathelix polemics. It’s about the ability of anyone to make religious statements in public when those statements contradict the dominant secular worldview. The secular world wants to hermetically seal religious freedom into a church building where it is out of sight and out of mind. RCism will not escape that dragnet.

      This man’s fight is your fight.

      • mollysdad

        My first duty as a Christian is to hallow the Lord’s Name. I will NOT acquiesce in its desecration by some fake Christian.

        • carl jacobs

          That’s fine. You refuse to acquiesce. That guy over there doesn’t care spit about our theological arguments. He just wants to shut us both up. Notice the active sense of the verb.

          There are times when it is wise to put aside arguments and fight together.

          • Holger

            You’re missing the point entirely.

            In the name of unity several contributors to this thread have just proclaimed Elizabeth II queen of your glorious republic. She’s soon to be declared queen of Ireland too. No doubt she’ll be sitting in St. Peter’s Chair by Labor Day.

            In the name of unity you have no choice but to acquiesce to these developments. So on your knees before your sovereign lady, British subject. And hand over that gun. You don’t need no protection ‘ginst the queen ‘o England. She’s yo queen now, biatch!

          • You won’t find many Catholic street preachers adopting belligerent approaches in shopping centres as a way of reaching the lost.

          • CliveM

            To be fair I have never come across a Catholic Street Preacher

          • Dominic Stockford

            Never. At all.

            Like the Jews they don’t proselytise in that way.

          • Catholics are ubiquitous.

          • len

            Sounds fishy?

          • We’re fishermen too.

          • carl jacobs

            This isn’t about street preachers. It’s about religious expression in the public square.

          • One particular form of religious expression in the public square and one that is ineffective and undermines the expression other forms.

          • carl jacobs

            One particularly vulnerable form is being used to set a precedent. Its always wise to start with those who don’t generate sympathy.

          • Then it’s all the more unwise.

          • carl jacobs

            When they burn him at the stake, try to resist the temptation to throw extra sticks on the fire.

          • Don’t be ridiculous. Jack sincerely hopes he will be cleared on appeal. The bible should not be censored. As Jack has said, he supports his right to speak freely and to cause offence. He just doesn’t agree with this approach.

      • Bruce Atkinson

        You incisive point, defining the article:
        “It’s about the ability of anyone to make religious statements in public when those statements contradict the dominant secular worldview. The secular world wants to hermetically seal religious freedom into a church building where it is out of sight and out of mind.”
        The good thing is that they cannot or will not take away the ability of people to make their religious statements. GBR is not Hitler’s fascist Germany. They will not be killed. However, there have always been assorted consequences for preaching the gospel (or other religious beliefs); just remember what Paul endured. The street preachers knew that there might be some negative consequences, but they did their thing anyway. They have a little courage. Some would say foolishness. But if they were used by God to point even one person to the Lord, then I say alleluia!

  • Mike Stallard

    At the start of “Slumdog Millionaire” there is a scene where Muslims (I think) rush into the slum and make him an orphan.
    Nothing, of course, is done.
    Oh – and the Police Service are overstretched to breaking point aren’t they. They need a lot more money to prevent rapes and murders. Otherwise…

  • Anton

    Let us hope that St Theresa of Westminster means what she says. These words of hers will be revisited, one way or another.

  • John Airey

    Let’s not forget Victoria Wasteney either – disciplined for sharing her faith in the NHS which has an official anti-proselytising policy. That means even the Chaplain can be disciplined. Ridiculous situation.

    • Dominic Stockford

      As we know, one Prison Chaplain assistant was forced to resign for quoting 1 Corinthians 6 in a service in the prison chapel.

  • Dominic Stockford

    MollysDad, below, is clearly a confused person and a troll of some sort – here is quote of his from another website:

    “mollysdad 2 days ago
    They didn’t cross any line. They challenged Islam. The police wouldn’t dare touch a Muslim quoting the Quran to justify the beheading of infidels.”

    • len

      Possibly a Judeo/catholic with Muslim tendencies?

  • morbidfascination

    The Queen is as bad. A chaplain of hers is asked to leave for – irony-of-ironies – defending the Faith following the Islamic incident in the Glasgow Christmas service. If I had stood up in a Mosque and denied the nature of Mohammed I would have been prosecuted.
    Assuming, of course, I made it out alive.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Sadly, I think HM’s hands are tied. She has to go along with what ‘her government’ wants because that government ‘represents the will of the people’. She may know as well as we do that it does nothing of the kind: the ‘government’ is really a mess of liars, actors, and traitor-quislings; but until WE remove them, she can’t do much.

      As for the mozzie invaders – I have a serious question about who actually controls the Crown Jewels these days…

      • Paul Greenwood

        Not sure that is so. I think her son had a role. He after all is a “friend” of Chartres.

  • Paul Greenwood

    1986 Public Order Act was pushed through by Douglas Hurd who stood idly by as a crowd outside Bradford Town Hall burned “Satanic Verses” and called for Salman Rushdie to be murdered. Keith Vaz led a march through Leicester calling for Salman Rushdie to be murdered.

    Wonder if Hurd knows why the Satanic Verses in The Koran were so embarrassing to Muslims ?

  • Phil Harman

    Broadmead is a privately owned shopping centre, not a public square. A quick Google brought up YouTube evidence that Broadmead’s management have denied permission to street preachers for a number of years. One could be forgiven for getting the impression that these street preachers were spoiling for a fight (e.g. why would you strap a GoPro camera to your chest to preach?)

    Shouldn’t it be the message of the cross that causes people to stumble not the cultural insensitivity of the preacher?

    • Chris Wagstaff

      According to my investigations into Broadmead its not clear whther its privately or publicly owned. Are you referring to Cabot Circus which says it is privately owned. What is interesting from Googling Broadmead, is that this is the street where John Wesley built his church. Hang on a minute wasn’t Wesley a Street Preacher?

    • Chris Wagstaff

      The GoPrp cam was obviously strapped there because he’d been discriminated against before by British law enforcement

      • Martin

        Chris

        The police officer also appears to have a body worn camera.

  • Yet it would appear that there was no police action during this little episode, in spite of a couple of officers being seen at the beginning:

    https://www.facebook.com/GeertWilderssupporters/posts/1387209888010595?comment_id=1387686561296261&notif_t=like&notif_id=1489014224967920

    Double standards, or what?!