A Christian street preacher has accused a judge of trying to “censor” the Bible after he was convicted of a public order offence for quoting an Old Testament passage condemning homosexuality.
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”.
At least one person manages to get it right:
“Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake,” he said. “As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.
Quite, that’s what free speech means.
It should indeed be legal for me to stand outside Next and declaim that those wearing clothes of mixed fibres should be put to death.