Not a Parody

 

As far as I can tell, this is not a delayed April Fools’ Day prank, a parody, or a joke but a straight news story. (If I’m wrong, correct me–please.)

TAUNTON, UK, April 2, 2015 – A judge has convicted and fined a street evangelist for quoting one verse of the Bible that condemns homosexuality on the streets of Taunton, Somerset — instead of quoting another verse.

It continues:

Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi of Bristol Crown Court fined former paratrooper-turned-Christian-evangelist Mike Overd £200 ($297 U.S.), and ordered him to pay £1,200 ($1,780) in costs which included £250 ($371) compensation to the homosexual activist who lodged the complaint.

Judge Qureshi also told Overd that he should not have quoted a passage from the 20th chapter of the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which calls for the death penalty for Israelites who engage in sodomy. Qureshi said that Overd should instead have used Leviticus 18:22, which merely describes homosexual practice as an “abomination.”

“I am amazed that the judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can’t be preached,” the evangelist said.

That street corner evangelist isn’t the only one who’s feeling amazed.

There are 51 comments.

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  1. TeeJaw Member
    TeeJaw
    @TeeJaw

    This would surely have been a parody 50 years ago, but in the upside down world of today it’s just a common example of the sick society Great Britain has become.

    • #1
  2. Majestyk Contributor
    Majestyk
    @Majestyk

    There’s no First Amendment in the UK if I’m not mistaken.

    Obviously, this is abominable, but it seems to be legal.

    • #2
  3. Tom Meyer Contributor
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    It certainly appears to be genuine. From the Telegraph piece on the story:

    Mike Overd was fined £200 for quoting part of a passage from Leviticus 20 which condemns same-sex relationships as sinful and calls for gay men to be put to death.

    But District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi told Overd he could instead have chosen a separate passage in Leviticus 18 which merely describes homosexuality as an “abomination” but does not specify death as a punishment.

    He acquitted the former paratrooper, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a “paedophile”.

    Overd, represented in court by the barrister Paul Diamond and supported by the Christian Legal Centre, was convicted of breaching Section Five of the Public Order Act which deals with “threatening” words or behaviour.

    He insists he did not read the part of the verse calling for gay people to be put to death and said he had effectively been convicted of quoting the “wrong” verse.

    The judge said the fact that the passage from Leviticus 20 called for gay men to be put to death meant his remarks could be seen as a threat.

    Now, I certainly imagine how one theoretically could quote Leviticus 20 in a way that was threatening, perhaps even legally so if accompanied by other threatening behavior. That doesn’t seem to be even remotely the case here, which is really unsettling.

    Relatedly, this seems to be at least the second time Overd’s been charged over this sort of thing.

    • #3
  4. user_124695 Member
    user_124695
    @DavidWilliamson

    Given that someone has been arrested there for quoting Winston Churchill, this is not too surprising.

    • #4
  5. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @carcat74

    Anyone other than me notice the name of the judge?

    • #5
  6. Fake John Galt Coolidge
    Fake John Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    carcat74:Anyone other than me notice the name of the judge?

    I caught that.

    • #6
  7. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Good judgment wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

    – Proverbs 13:15

    • #7
  8. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    It’s probably good to introduce yourself and develop a bit of rapport before you tell someone he “will burn in Hell.” No great evangelist, this one.

    But it’s no worse than the things Muslims often say publicly to Jews and write on “protest” signs in England. So, whatever this is, it isn’t enforcement of basic civility.

    • #8
  9. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Peter Robinson: …one verse of the Bible that condemns homosexuality on the streets of Taunton, Somerset…

    I wasn’t aware that the biblical authors were even aware of Taunton, let alone familiar enough with the town to single it out as a hive of street-level homosexuality.

    ;-)

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Aaron Miller:It’s probably good to introduce yourself and develop a bit of rapport before you tell someone he “will burn in Hell.” No great evangelist, this one.

    I’ve never understood why people who do not believe in Hell would care if somebody thinks they will go there (or, conversely, why people who do believe in Hell would question the biblical qualifications for entry).

    What would you care if some street-preacher says yer gonna go to Hell if you don’t believe in Hell?

    (I realize that wasn’t the point of this particular court ruling, so there’s no need to point it out. ;-)

    • #10
  11. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    carcat74:Anyone other than me notice the name of the judge?

    If that was a factor, he’s gonna be in trouble for this part of the ruling:

    He acquitted the former paratrooper, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a “paedophile”.

    • #11
  12. Tuck Member
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Misthiocracy:

    Peter Robinson: …one verse of the Bible that condemns homosexuality on the streets of Taunton, Somerset…

    I wasn’t aware that the biblical authors were even aware of Taunton, let alone familiar enough with the town to single it out as a hive of street-level homosexuality.

    ;-)

    Hey, they’re called prophets for a reason…

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OldBathos

    If this judgment is legally correct, then much of the Koran is one large hate crime under British Law.  Somehow I suspect this judge would reach a different conclusion if the preacher were Muslim.

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Fake John Galt:

    carcat74:Anyone other than me notice the name of the judge?

    I caught that.

    Me too . . .

    Still, there was this part of the story:

    “He acquitted the former paratrooper, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘paedophile’.”

    A real muslim judge would have sentenced him to death.

    • #14
  15. user_989419 Member
    user_989419
    @ProbableCause

    What do you expect from a town named after the polar kangaroo in Empire Strikes Back?

    • #15
  16. Spin Member
    Spin
    @Spin

    Majestyk:There’s no First Amendment in the UK if I’m not mistaken.

    Obviously, this is abominable, but it seems to be legal.

    Yeah, because if it’s legal, then its ok.

    • #16
  17. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @Manny

    This does not surprise me.  I have long suspected that by and large the United Kingdom had no sympathy for Christianity any longer.  I suspect that a Muslim preaching some Koranic verse calling for a beheading would get more sympathy than a Christian or Jew reading from the Bible.

    • #17
  18. Tuck Member
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Stad:

    …A real muslim judge would have sentenced him to death.

    To be fair to the judge, whom it appears is doing his job in enforcing British law—however idiotic: a real Sharia judge would have sentenced him to death.

    • #18
  19. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Tuck:

    Stad:

    …A real muslim judge would have sentenced him to death.

    To be fair to the judge, whom it appears is doing his job in enforcing British law—however idiotic: a real Sharia judge would have sentenced him to death.

    Good point!

    • #19
  20. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    The courts banning parts of the Bible is awful, but sadly not surprising. Having the court offer alternative verses is a bit odd.

    “Try this one instead, because let’s be honest, you church boys never follow through on that ‘stoning’ stuff anyway.”

    • #20
  21. Spin Member
    Spin
    @Spin

    Probable Cause:What do you expect from a town named after the polar kangaroo in Empire Strikes Back?

    And you thought they smelled bad on the outside…

    • #21
  22. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Well I think this settles the whole need for independence question from 239 years ago.

    • #22
  23. Tuck Member
    Tuck
    @Tuck

    Tommy De Seno:Well I think this settles the whole need for independence question from 239 years ago.

    On the other hand, a gay person can temporarily enslave a baker in America just by asking for a cake.  There are different kinds of Liberty!

    • #23
  24. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    Touché Tuck.

    • #24
  25. user_86050 Member
    user_86050
    @KCMulville

    You’re wrong, Peter.

    This is a parody indeed.

    • #25
  26. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    Aaron Miller:But it’s no worse than the things Muslims often say publicly to Jews and write on “protest” signs in England. So, whatever this is, it isn’t enforcement of basic civility.

    Section Five of the Public Order Act

    The offence is created by section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Section 5(1) provides:

    “(1) A person is guilty of an offence if he:

    (a) uses threatening [or abusive] words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or

    (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening [or abusive],within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

    Not technically a blasphemy law, however that appears to be how it is being employed in this particular case.

    Hmm… “disorderly behaviour”, “alarm or distress”? That is all vague enough that I imagine it means whatever the magistrate wishes it to mean.

    • #26
  27. SteveSc Member
    SteveSc
    @SteveSc

    Remember these gems from England?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/oxfordshire/4606022.stm

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/8475965/Pub-singers-racism-arrest-over-Kung-Fu-Fighting-performance.html

    Next on the list to be forced down our throats is the Transgendered and Polygamy/Polyandry.

    • #27
  28. Roberto Member
    Roberto
    @Roberto

    My oh my.

    There were four to five thousand prosecutions for harassment, alarm or distress brought each year in England and Wales during the 2001–2003 period, with approximately three thousand cases resulting in conviction.

    I wonder how all these arrests break down. There’s a significant story here.

    • #28
  29. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @DanielWood

    Tommy De Seno:Well I think this settles the whole need for independence question from 239 years ago.

    And thank God for a written Constitution and Bill of Rights which put limits on the ability of such high handed magistrates to arbitrarily curtail our liberties.

    • #29
  30. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @ArizonaPatriot

    I worry that we may be just one SCOTUS justice away from the same result in the US, despite the First Amendment.  Actually, maybe not even one — maybe we’re already there, as Justice Kennedy may be on the other side.  See the dreadful 2010 decision in CLS v. Martinez.

    • #30

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