It’s happening folks, whether you want to believe it or not. Christians across the world are facing great persecution, and it’s happening here in the West too. No, the persecution is not the same being faced by our brothers and sisters in the Muslim world or in India or China, but we are still being persecuted for our faith.
Sadly, our dear friends in England have been drifting away from the faith even more quickly than our own nation has. Persecution has gone hand in hand with the erosion of Britain’s freedom of speech, and it’s been visible, thanks to the many arrests of Christians (and conservatives) for saying things that others find offensive.
The most recent example took place in Taunton in the United Kingdom. Street preacher, Mike Overd, has been found guilty of making homophobic remarks and must pay restitution (by way of fines levied against him) to the people he offended, including one man to whom Overd quoted from the book of Leviticus.
Overd has been accused of speaking against homosexuals and Muslims on multiple occasions, and local law enforcement has been hounding him for years. Things got so bad that the police even went on the local news station to encourage people to record Mr. Overd if he was saying offensive things and to then send them the recordings so they could arrest him.
At his trial, Mr. Overd presented video evidence of what actually transpires out on the street as he played one video of a woman confronting him about homosexuality and another of a police officer telling him he had freedom of speech, but he could not offend other people.
(Can I just cut in here and say that the British laws against offensive speech are bulls***. Speech is not free if it is not allowed to offend. In fact, freedom of speech is specifically about the right to offensive speech! Saying that you have freedom of speech, but not freedom to offend with your speech is like saying you are free to breathe but only underwater. It makes no sense.)
Sadly, Mr. Overd’s arguments failed in court.
Judge Shamim Qureshi, a Muslim who also serves as the presiding judge at the Sharia law-based Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, declared Overd guilty of violating the Public Order Act for his remarks about homosexuality.
“The judge at Bristol Crown Court told him that he should not have used the particular verse in the Bible—Leviticus 20:13—because it uses the word ‘abomination,’” reports the UK-based publication Christian Today. “The judge suggested that there were other verses he could have chosen if he wanted to talk about what the Bible says about homosexuality.”
“All people exercise their right of speech and religion and this country’s laws protect their rights to do so. On the other hand, Mr Overd asks me to interpret the law to endorse his desire to shout, bully, and berate members of the public until they convert to his branch of Christianity,” Qureshi said. “Ironically, those who complained about him at court were Christians.”
“I cannot interpret the law in the way Mr. Overd and his legal team ask,” he continued. “Such a decision would not be the upholding of equal human rights and would be seized upon by fundamentalists and extremists to be the first step to public disorder.”
Libby Towell, a spokeswoman for Mr. Overd’s legal counsel from the Christian Legal Centre, found the ruling to be an utter travesty of the law as it impinges on both freedom of speech and freedom of religion. “It’s [come down to] now going through the Bible, saying that some parts shouldn’t be spoken about and might cause emotional harm. There’s been a concerted campaign to stop him speaking the word of God on the streets of Taunton. Today was the result that the police had been looking for.”
This happened in the UK, but we’re not far off from the same thing here, folks. Liberals (both Democrat and Republican) across the nation have been pushing for tougher speech laws for years and are starting to make inroads using activist courts. Instead of directly attacking our freedom of speech (which they are also doing, using the cover of media shield laws and other First Amendment bills that seem like a good thing at first blush), they have been attacking our freedoms of association and religion. Today, bakers, florists, photographers and others who may be involved in the wedding industry don’t have the freedom to choose who they work for or when they work. They can be fined and face other punishments, simply for turning down a paycheck!
So don’t think for one minute that this kind of thing can’t happen here.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com