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Christian woman may sue after police investigate ‘gay hate crime’ letter

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  1. She will never have a more bitter opponent than me; I have contempt for her opinions, but let me make this clear:

    Yes, she should sue, she has my total support. This is utterly ridiculous.

    I am sick of these nitwits who are offended on behalf of the whole community. The council has denied everyone the right, including this woman, to change their opinions. Who are they to decide what is free speech?

    Norwich council should consider twinning itself with Tehran.

  2. Hate crime legislation is much more bother than it is worth. Bigots like this woman are simply martyred by it and the struggle for equality made to look Stalinist. In the area of public expression, incitement to or threat of violence should be criminalised and nothing else. The letter should have been filed under Fruitcake and she should have been told that people she doesn’t like have a right to a march. The Thought Police don’t do us any favours.

  3. David North 26 Oct 2009, 11:32am

    Whilst I agree the council’s and police approach was heavy handed.

    Why do these old bigots, after spouting their hate always paint themselves as the bl00dy victim.

  4. Sodomites bringing down empires? I thought the fall of Rome came during the non pagan christian era…..(!)

  5. Bishop Ioan 26 Oct 2009, 11:38am

    Probably would have been best to ignore this woman and just put the letter in a nutter file. These sorts are never going to change and prosecuting them just uses up money beter spent elsewhere.

  6. Let her sue
    Let her make a fool of her self
    Let her be martyred

    If reality does not kick in for her . . . it will certinaly be a reminder to those who like to deny there is still irrational hate lurking out there towards us.

  7. Simon Murphy 26 Oct 2009, 11:50am

    “Howe told the Sunday Telegraph she was not homophobic but was merely expressing her Christian beliefs.”

    Religious people like this woman really are the dregs of humanity. It take a special kind of stupid moron to use her belief in a fictitious ‘god’ as an excuse for hatred. Her ‘god’ sounds like a hateful monster.

  8. Hmmm, if she wants to go the legal route can we all sue her for defamation of character?
    Downfall of every empire?
    Well I guess you could say Alexander the Great was bisexual according to some sources and overthrew the Egyptian, Persian and Syrian Empires but I don’t think his sexuality had much to do with it (unless you count spending a disproportionate amount of time in the gym)! And since when was empire building a virtue in itself?
    This woman is a throwback to the days of the Victorian empire, and I’m happy to play my part in destroying that outdated imperialist claptrap.

  9. While I firmly believe and would uphold freedom of speech I remember a couple of years ago being at Birmingham Gay Pride when I was hasseled by a group of Christians handing out leaflets and shouting verbal abuse as we walked by. Trust me it is not nice. Each Good Friday Christians march to mark the cruxifiction of Christ…how would they feel if gay groups hurled abuse at them and handed out leaflets saying how the Church had plundered and murdered people of the centuries in the name of their faith. They would immediately say they were victims, so whats the difference? Is a Christian victim worse than a Gay one?

  10. Mihangel apYrs 26 Oct 2009, 12:00pm

    AdrianT:

    had she been discussing a black pride parade and used the word “niggers”, and claimed that people of colour hasd undermined ecery empire (etc) would she still have a right to free speech, and not be refereed for consideration for a “hate crime”?

  11. I read this somewhere else over the weekend in which she was portrayed as some poor, harmless, old pensioner. The truth is, she is a wicked old harridan, someone so bitter and twisted she somehow felt it her duty denounce a section of local council tax paying community.

    I for one am glad the police felt her collar. She won’t be writing letters like that anyone. Hateful old cow!

  12. OK Michangel, well you and get the bible banned first. Then come back to me with that boring question. Let her say that too, by the way. It’s in the book of mormon.

    The answer is to ridicule these people Stephen. Tell them to go to hell, mind their own business. Rip a bible up in their faces. Not easy to do if you are religious, becuase it’s just your word against them. Encourage them to leave their faith. In fact, what is stopping you handing out extracts from the God Delusion, or ‘God Is Not Great’ outside a Church or at Easter. Go for it!

  13. Vincent Poffley 26 Oct 2009, 12:30pm

    “had she been discussing a black pride parade and used the word “niggers”, and claimed that people of colour hasd undermined ecery empire (etc) would she still have a right to free speech, and not be refereed for consideration for a “hate crime”?”

    No, but she might well have been offered a spot on Question Time!

  14. I reda this in the Sunday papers, complete with a picture of the poor Christian ‘victim’. That ‘harmless old woman’ looks far from stupid to me. If I was a cynic, I’d suggest that she did it on purpose so she could claim she was being victimised for her faith. I wonder who’ll be funding her legal fight….?

    I’d like to see someone come up with a load of racist views and then claim that they’re only following the Bible when someone holds them to account. No, they won’t do THAT, will they, but LGBT people are still fair game, it seems.

    I find it strange that no-one in the Christian church ever comes forward to denouce these bigots and say they’re wrong.

  15. What annoys me about this is, why did she watch the Pride march and then complain? Who forced her to watch what she didn’t want to?

  16. Mihangel apYrs 26 Oct 2009, 12:49pm

    Adrion: the bible is expensive lavatory paper as far as I’m concerned and should be relegated to the horror section in fiction.

    However yoiu haven’t said whether yoiu would support the right of this woman to be a documented racist.

  17. Yet again a Christian is letting the side down by forgetting that we have a God of LOVE, not hate.

    As a practising Christian I’m supposed to tell all of you that you’re wrong to reject religion, but how can I when people like that give you good reason to hate it.

    Respond to this sort of bile with dignity. Don’t go down to her level. Please DON’T throw things at people in Christian church parades. The sad thing is that Christians have a hard time, too. Good Friday parades ARE heckled by idiots. Standing up and being a true Christian – not a hypocrite like that one – is as hard as being gay in an unforgiving world.

  18. free speech is the most important weapon against these silly views, doing this only emboldens the anti gay agenda. You could contact the council woman to tell her how stupid she has been here

    http://www.outfrontuk.com/2009/10/woman-who-fails-to-protect-free-speech.html

  19. According to the Daily Mail, who can be assumed to be on the woman’s side, she is married to a Baptist minister and was handing out leaflets against the parade. So she is hardly just a member of the public who happened to be passing by. Also she is being represented by the Christian Institute.

    I’m tempted to agree that the best response of the council would have been to write a “thank you for your comments” letter and leave it as that. This would avoid giving the CI another “martyr”. However, they probably have a queue of them lined up.

    On a related matter – I’ve always wondered why the religious right have enough to say about Sodomites but they never say a word against the Gomorrans.

  20. Phil Gibbs 26 Oct 2009, 1:33pm

    Dan Mc wrote:
    “What annoys me about this is, why did she watch the Pride march and then complain? Who forced her to watch what she didn’t want to?”
    Pauline Howe wasn’t watching a gay Pride March she was there handing out her evangelical pamphlets with a group of other anti-gay activists.

  21. Michangel, lavatory paper it may be, but would you ban it? if not why not?

    to repeat, if she wants to say black people can go to hell, let her. Like I said, it’s in the book of mormon.

  22. It seems to me that the council made a mistake when they wrote “The content of your letter has been assessed as potentially being hate related because of the views you expressed”. I think she can hold whatever views, what is questionable is the way you choose to express them. It’s right to monitor the incitement of hate (or indeed stop those who act upon it violently) but if you want to hate in the privacy of your own home you should be free to do that. The council should have simply pointed out that she’s a dumb cow. Sorry. That her opinion wasn’t shared by them.

  23. Surely her crime is one of stupidity rather than hatred. For if she is a true believer of an all powerful, supernatural being who sired a human-supranatural hybrid via virgin birth we must pity her and ensure that her little brain isn’t overwhelmed with too ambitious a life.

    However, chances are that like 99% of so-called british christians she isn’t a true believer at all. She is probably just a vile, spiteful old woman who wouldn’t know scripture if it slapped her in the face.

  24. Mihangel apYrs 26 Oct 2009, 2:36pm

    Adrian
    the hate speech bit was “sodomites”, which I correlated to “niggers”.

    Neither are acceptable terms in polite company today (and “sodomites” isn’t exactly accurate).

    If she’d whittered about the “disgusting homosexuals going to hell” then that’s just bigotry, to use the term “sodomites” is hatred.

  25. john sharp 26 Oct 2009, 3:27pm

    she was not homophobic but was merely expressing
    her dumb non proven Christian beliefs.
    cristians preist are often proven pedofiles and
    religions are lies

  26. Check out what the “Christian Institute” are saying about this story on their website.

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/video-police-quiz-christian-pensioner-over-gay-beliefs/

  27. Har Davids 26 Oct 2009, 3:48pm

    Storm in a tea-cup? This could have been a scene from Monty Python: ‘hate’ speech from sweet old lady, followed by her being killed by a PC SWAT team.

  28. Even though her comments are hateful, they’re simply that, comments. There’s nothing indicating that she threatened violence. Her comments are equivalent to what some have written here. Yet no one’s claiming a hate crime from any of the comments posted here. Yes, she’s ignorant. Yes, she’s backward. Punishing someone for for exercising freedom of speech isn’t exactly moving forward.

  29. Pumpkin Pie 26 Oct 2009, 4:23pm

    She added that homosexuality [...] was a major cause of sexually transmitted infections.

    No, dearie, that’s the Church you’re thinking of.

  30. Mihangel apYrs 26 Oct 2009, 4:47pm

    SamH et al:

    there is no such thing as total freedom of speech: we are all obliged to consider the results of what we say (like shouting “fire” in a crowded shoppping arcade).

    Her hatefulness is, of itself, merely nasty; however, what she says can be used by thugs to excuse and validate physical violence. Henry II found this out after Thomas Becket was slaughtered!

    Her freedom ends where it impinges mine; if she puts me in fear of violence because others take what she syas as permission, then she has trespassed on my right to freedom from fear

  31. The language she used in the letter went far above & beyond just a simple letter of complaint. Including in the letter terms such as calling gays “sodomites”, trying to blame us for the spread of STIs etc, is pretty nasty language to use.

    So, given the venomous language she used then yes, it should have been investigated. Let her sue, given the circumstances I’d be amazed if she won her case. The investigation into her letter is very easy to justify.

  32. “I and other Christians present are not attempting to prevent those who engage in this offensive behaviour from doing so in the privacy of their own homes.” Pauline Howe

    “It is the public display of such indecency on the streets of Norwich which is so offensive to God and to many Norwich residents.”

    How did God make his/her displeasure known to Mrs Howe? I see no plagues of locusts reported. Norwich was not wiped off the face of the earth. And the first born sons of the people of Norwich are still alive as far as I can see. The sun did not refuse to rise for the parade nor did it rain blood! So how did this God reveal his/her anger at us we must ask? If I was an all powerful God I doubt I would use a 67 year old woman to tackle this problem. I would be looking for somebody like Rupert Murdock or Alistair Campbell.

    So lets face it the fact the old hag was dishing out leaflets to pride goers in a clear case of incitement. I would urge anybody in the Norwich area to report this woman to the Norfolk constabulary for incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

    Under the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 it is against the law to incite hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation. So the actions of Pauline Howe and her Christian friends of handing out leaflets she knew would incite the people on the parade to react to her is a criminal offence.

    It would be worth reminding the Norfolk constabulary of this legislation and the actions of Mrs Howe and her friends on that day.

    We have human rights too and they are not trumped by hers.

  33. I am in complete agreement with Adrian and Ioan.

    Rose you are a Christian in the true sense of the world, why to these bigots and vile people try to compare themselves to you?

    Why does religion cause so much dispute, I am starting to think that a group of people decided one that that they would each write a book designed to divide mankind with as much bloodshed and torture as possible. Forget the Saw films, why not just turn some of the religion teachings into movies, after all they are fantasy too?

  34. Hey Abi, just read your comment and I love it! I am just up the M1, do you fancy meeting for a drink!

  35. The poor, old thing is mentally ill. Religious faith is a mental illness!

  36. Sorry Barry, I have a policy of not meeting people off the internet, thanks for the offer though :)

  37. Beliefs, not FACTS.
    can’t wait for the daily wail’s take on this.

  38. Brian Burton 26 Oct 2009, 6:32pm

    Do you know, I’ve readit, readit, readit. This Letter from Pauline Howe aged 67 and concluded it is all a storm in an old ladies tea-cup. In another couple of years the old dear might be in her box or senile or sitting in her rocking chair watching CBBS.

  39. Barry, thank you for those comments. I feel like I am bashing my head against a brick wall sometimes. But frankly I blame people like this woman for the problems. It is bigots like her who have caused the hatred and alienated gay people from the church.

  40. I don’t blame you Abi, you might end up chopped up in to little pieces in a mad persons freezer! Barry x

  41. Rose, post 17, I think you can perhaps separate the philosophy of Jesus, a really wonderful philosophy, which Christians claim to be the basis for the practical expression of their faith, from the institutional and community expressions of Christianity and it’s in those dogmatic group expressions that the whole thing comes apart. I’ve known many individuals like this woman, simply brainwashed and merely regurgitating the teaching she has been fed for years but again that’s down to the institutions and community she has been part of, we can’t say that this is an individual view reached independently. Would you not see it as being more honest to oneself for an individual Christian disagreeing on expressed or applied doctrine to simply “believe without belonging” and to refuse to support this kind of church or perhaps to join a church such as the MCC? The mainstream churches in this country are unlikely to change since they largely embody the prejudices of our society. So is it personally honest to support them by belonging? I was a member of my church council and was even studying for a theology degree but my mind told me I was being dishonest with myself and I passed through “believing without belonging” to now, I think, being very close to losing all belief and the reason for that was the inability to square the philosophy with its claimed expression by the churches. I hope I don’t offend you, I don’t mean to.

  42. OK, so no action was taken. Given the assertion that her letter incites hatred under the framework of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 (comment by Abi above) then all it would need would be some enterprising individual to pursue a private prosecution. Would this be possible? Whipround anyone?

  43. Jane, you make a good argument. No, i’m not offended. I don’t know what the MCC is. you’ll have to explain that. But at the moment I am a Catholic and belong to a church community which includes at one extreme a nice but very naive old lady of 78 who expressed surprise when i explained to her that gay men DO have sex. I still haven’t explained how, I don’t feel qualified to give sex education to pensioners, and at the other end, a gay couple who play full and complete part in the church community and are accepted by everyone as part of that community, and another gay couple who are being confirmed together next Easter. Granted, the bishop doesn’t know about either, but we seem to have got the balance sort of right. I live in hope that more churches might follow that sort of example.

  44. theotherone 26 Oct 2009, 8:36pm

    she’s a religious nut job, let her spew forth her vile filth.

    What place does Law have in moderating how people think? We can not control thought.

  45. theotherone 26 Oct 2009, 8:41pm

    Jane: Neo-Paganism has the idea of ‘Hedge Priests/ Priestesses’ ie. those who practice but refuse to belong to any branch of Neo-Paganism.

    Perhaps we need the same for other Faiths?

  46. IRose, I meant the Metropolitan Community Church. I’ve been there a couple of times, they are LGBT-welcoming but my mind rebels at the idea of having to attend a “ghetto” church (I know someone will pick me up on that, no malice is intended, I had to find a word that expressed apartness). I don’t know individual Catholic churches but it sounds like there’s a kind of tacit acceptance there of gay people in your church which is good. I was Anglican in a church which embodied that kind of English “respectability”, oh dear! The Episcopal Church in USA, most of it anyway, is very different but I somehow can’t see the CofE following their path.

  47. Theotherone, post 45, I don’t know anything about Neo-Paganism but it sounds similar. Believing without belonging can be very lonely, if you have some depth of belief, although on a more superficial level millions do listen to or watch religious broadcasts. Writers on beliefs or religions or ethics could even be seen as substituting for priests. If you broaden it out, then the church (the building) isn’t indispensable.

  48. Water down homophobia… Water down homophobia… Ask yourself: Why are racists less tolerated than homophobes? Probably because many queens suffer from internalised homophobia. And also because homophobia is still seen as a normal fact of life, and an institutionalised one.

  49. theotherone 26 Oct 2009, 11:25pm

    in neo-pagan terms the belief itself is unimportant as as the ritual itself and the mind state resulting from meditation/ ritual is as important.

    As such listening to a religious broadcast at home is as valid as attending church.

  50. theotherone 26 Oct 2009, 11:26pm

    racists are less tolerated than Homophobes because we’re more despised.

  51. Lord Dear thinks we need a ‘free speech clause’ in the homophobic hatred law. Ask him if we also need the same clause in the racist hatred/incitement law:
    .
    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/top-cop-free-speech-clause-in-gay-hate-law-is-essential/

  52. douglas in canada 27 Oct 2009, 12:34am

    RE: 26. I just read that link from the Christian Institute. I am curious to know what their pamphlets said. And I am curious to know what public displays of indecency she witnessed. I doubt that they were any worse than what straight people do on the street all the time. And if her pamphlet distribution was considered by some to be offensive, why didn’t she quickly and quietly apologize, then leave. But NO, she had to stay and be an irritant! To give her line a twist – “[Gays] are not attempting to prevent those who engage in this offensive behaviour [pamphlet distribution] from doing so in the privacy of their own homes.” But she and her fellow hatemongers will never see things from anyone else’s perspective, because no one else really counts. They will tell you that ‘they care,’ but it’s all about them earning browny points for when they get to heaven, because they are all afraid that someone else will get a better seat, with better drinks and more channels.

    Also, I am surprised that her church ever allowed her to speak in public [check the new testament - 1 Timothy 2 - "I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent."]

  53. What a dreadful woman. Clearly homophobic views and hiding behind the veil of religion… And gays bringing down empires… I think the political parties are capable of that all by themselves. She should be sectioned.

  54. Dave North 27 Oct 2009, 8:07am

    All I can say is:

    Sanctimonious, self-agrandizing, smug, holier than thou, homophobic waste of skin.

    There, got that off my chest……

  55. Poor Pauline, she really should just stay home and ‘file’ her absurd pamphlets somewhere suitable! I can think of a number of orifices but Christians are so dumb that they wouldnt have thought of that!
    Other than that, what a STUPID action to take Christian ‘hate’ to a gay event. I sense that Christians are in a state of shock that they are so disliked and abhored!

  56. sodom fell due to qualities she embodies
    she ignores that fact

  57. We have to keep up our objection to homophobia, reporting homophobia, reacting to homophobia and unmasking homophobia. Ridicule is not enough.

    Would you “simply ridicule” racists who threaten to beat bme people to death. like the thugs who almost killed a 22 y.o. in Liverpool, on Sunday?

    Would Nazi BNP supporters be condoned for writing a letter of complaint to the Council about Black Pride, saying that the emergence of black and ethnic minority people led to a deterioration in morals? Well, time was that these very comments were made, as justification for banning black music, dance, arts and drama… the pretext was that it “degraded the spectators”.

    How would Mrs Thang like it if we were to complain that heterosexuality is degrading itself without *any* help from us and that pornography and paedophilia are pretty widespread amongst heterosexuals, and therefore Councils we should ban all expressions of heterosexuality?

  58. As an evangelical Christian I do not approve of gay behaviour but I strongly condemn violence against gays and I would not incite hatred against them. However, the Police are out of order here. People do have the right of free speech and the law forbidding incitement against gays has a high threshold. The Police need to show that there has been an intent to incite hatred, which is vastly different to simply stating a religious belief.

    I have no animosity against gays and in conversation always speak in a courteous manner; however, the New Testament – in Romans chapter 1 – clearly teaches that gay behaviour is sinful.

  59. Will the Scouser 27 Oct 2009, 11:14am

    She should simply have been left alone with her thoughts.

  60. Bob, as an ‘evangelical Christian’ who presumably isn’t gay, what are you doing here in the first place? Leave these people alone. They’re all mature, intelligent adults. They don’t need to be preached at.

    As for inciting hatred – handing out leaflets, calling people sodomites. What more do you want? Should we wait until she’s standing on the street corner encouraging the young thugs to get a boot in? She did more than express a religious belief.

  61. Bob – none of the bible teaches that
    lying;s a sin according to your commandments

  62. Bob – what is the Biblical basis of your appeal to free speech? This is a modern post-enlightenment value pretty much absent in your holy book. Have you sold all your goods and sold the proceeds to the poor? Would you counsel the acceptance of slavery and Imperial government? Do you exhort all women to maintain silence in Church and always obey their husbands? Just a selection of ‘New Testament values’. Do you accept that charity and not belief is the basis of salvation (Matthew 25 – pretty much a repudiation of Evangelical notions that faith is all)? I hope you submit to all of them in the name of integrity and consistency.

  63. David North 27 Oct 2009, 12:15pm

    BOB –

    “As an evangelical Christian I do not approve of gay behaviour”

    I neither need nor want you or your hate filled religions approval.

    As your pious religions eventually, and they will, become marginalised, the day will come where the likes of you and your ilk will be seeking “approval”.

  64. I looked up Romans 1. And frankly, St. Paul would be prosecuted for inciting homophobia if he sent that letter off to the Romans now. What is written there is not acceptable in our modern world, any more than the bits about sleeping with servant women when your wife is barren is or the rules about keeping slaves.

    I am still a Christian, but I do not take the Bible as the ultimate sanction on life.

  65. Response to Bob – thread 58

    “As an evangelical Christian I do not approve of gay behaviour but I strongly condemn violence against gays and I would not incite hatred against them.”
    ***When you say you do not approve of gay behaviour . . . what do you mean by Gay Behaviour?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    “However, the Police are out of order here. People do have the right of free speech and the law forbidding incitement against gays has a high threshold. The Police need to show that there has been an intent to incite hatred, which is vastly different to simply stating a religious belief.”

    ***It may be a religious belief that Gays are Sodomites and that sodomites lead to the destruction of all civilizations . . . but as a statement it is incitement to hatred.
    Your religion and beliefs are a life style choices . . . if you choose to say such things, you need to understand that you are choosing to incite hatred and that you will be punished.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    “I have no animosity against gays and in conversation always speak in a courteous manner; however, the New Testament – in Romans chapter 1 – clearly teaches that gay behaviour is sinful.”

    ***We understand that you are courteous to our faces but your true beliefs are that we are Sodomites, destroyers of civilizations and sinners. When you say that you have no animosity against gays the only person you are trying to fool is your self. . . . your animosity is crystal clear so to speak; and this why the police have decide to investigate.

  66. douglas in canada 27 Oct 2009, 3:02pm

    @BOB – I’m tired of ignorant Christians. Fine, Romans 1 speaks of giving up natural relations for unnatural ones. I am gay; I was born gay; for me, and many other gays and lesbians, NATURAL means that we seek a physical/emotional relationship with someone of the same sex. When homophobic, religious and social groups FORCE us to marry people of the opposite sex in order to “fit in” and hide our true sexuality, THEY are guilty of forcing us into UNNATURAL relations. That is the sin and that is the crime against these thousands of individuals.
    But… IGNORANT Christians have never gotten past the fact that anyone might be born different from themselves.
    Remember, Romans 1 is all about NOT BEING TRUE TO YOURSELF.
    I am curious to know how Christians or other anti-gay religious groups would respond if we arrived at their public events with pamphlets decrying what we consider to be their misguided beliefs. Would “Bob” allow us our free speech?

  67. Brian Burton 27 Oct 2009, 3:05pm

    Love is fed by the imagination, by which we become wiser than we know, better than we feel, nicer than we are: by which we can see Life as a whole…only what is good can feed…Love. But anything can feed hate. This woman has’nt learned anything outside her own minute world!

  68. douglas in canada 27 Oct 2009, 3:05pm

    @BOB one more time – My understanding is that a Christian is one who follows the teaching of Jesus. Jesus said absolutely nothing about homosexuality.
    If you want to follow the teachings that mention in Romans, then you have to give up your Christianity and become a Paulist, because it’s PAUL’S teachings that you are following, not Christ’s.
    By not making this distinction, you, too, are living a lie and calling yourself something that you are not.

  69. @ Bob

    Paul also said everybody should not get married and stay virgins I hope you have kept to this.

    Where is your proof any of the blble is true? Where are the original writing of Paul we have so much documentation of the Roman empire from this time but not one bit of evidence that any of the gospels are real.

  70. I love how when faced with being accused of a hate crime or being any sorta hateful the fanatics always seem to pull that same old line… or in this case.. “she was not homophobic but was merely expressing her Christian beliefs.”

    In this day and age Religion should be the last excuse somone should be allowed to pull out of their deck of cards as a sort of “get out of jail free” card when it comes to hate crimes.

  71. Paul also supported the opression of women, didn’t he, Bob? Presumably that’s something you agree with?

    And why leave it at Paul? Are you a Bible literalist? If you are, you must agree that women should marry their rapists; non-virgin brides should be stoned to death on their father’s doorstep; the Sun revolves around the Earth because the Earth is fixed in space; children who speak discourteously to their parents should be killed…. etc, etc.

  72. Phil Gibbs 27 Oct 2009, 5:07pm

    There’s a youtube video here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rIz5lrlfX14&feature=player_embedded

    In it the spokesperson for the Christian Institute seems to imply that homosexuals reported Pauline Howe to the police which is factually wrong isn’t it?
    Surely it was the council who alerted the police to Mrs Howe’s homophobic letter as a possible hate incident and the police did their job to investigate, may the police not interview Christians these days without inviting alitigation from the idiotic Christian Institute.

  73. And when all was said and done, she WASN’T prosecuted. The police had a quiet, discreet word with her in her own home and advised her that her behaviour could be construed as a hate crime. They didn’t haul her off to the station for questioning or anything. They handled the matter perfectly appropriately.

  74. And Bob, as an evangelical anti-theist, I will always ask you, on what authority you claim to know that a mind is at work in the universe for starters, when in fact there is no evidence.
    and than how you claim to know what god’s opinion is on whom we should sleep with. you have all your work ahead of you…
    It’s always a pleasure to remind you folks that the Road To Damascus is a 2 way street, change of mind is possible and you can leave such childish ways behind you at any time.

  75. I notice Bob has never returned to back up his comments or fight his corner. Evangalist Christian hitman making a pest of himself and then running!

  76. Rose – I noticed this as well. . . not only are these Evangelical Chrisitians invariable Bigots and homophobes . . . they appear to be terrible cowards as well.

    Stick the boot in then run . . . Typical thug like behaviour!!!

  77. we really ought to learn not to fall for it and ignore these hit and run idiots.

  78. @ Comment 30 by Mihangel apYrs

    I find it worrying that someone says “there is no such thing as total freedom of speech” and “Her freedom ends where it impinges mine”

    Who decides when someone’s comments have impinged someone else’s freedom? For this to work it means that some sectors of society have less rights than others – which is what apartheid was all about.

    I think we should have complete freedom of speech – otherwise we end up with thought police and that only drives opinion under ground where it can’t be challenged, and if unchecked/unnoticed is when it can become more dangerous. Actual violence should be prosecuted but not expressing opinions. If ever there was a conservative revolution, if thought police were in then what we feel is protecting us could become the opposite.

  79. Well, yes, Jonathon, but that means that people are free to call others ‘nigger’, ‘packie’, ‘fag’, ‘fat bitch’ or any nasty thing they can think of. sticks and stones are not the only things that hurt. Free speech should be tempered with consideration for other people’s feelings.

  80. 21stCenturySpirituality 29 Oct 2009, 5:07am

    Bob, I am a Unitarian and I will be training as a lay pastor next year. As part of my preparation for that I am undertaking careful study of the Bible & Christian Theology. I would gently urge you to consider material about the passage you mention from the book What The Bible Says About Homosexuality by Daniel A. Helminiak, Ph. D. The chapter on that passage is too detailed to go into at length here but I have posted videos on this site from a talk given by the author.

    As to sin and what Christianity has to say about that, I do question whether it is actually the primary driving force in human nature. There is evil in this world for sure and humans are capable of some pretty nasty things but I also see great goodness and a striving for better things in people from all walks of life. Other words I have seen to explain the meaning the word sin include rebellion and disobedience. But what is wrong with that when you consider the idea of rebelling against nazism, racism or other sorts of prejudice? Didnt Jesus rebel against the exclusivism and seperatism of the religious elite of his day who sought to exclude certain people from coming closer to God? And what about disobeying a totalitarian, or oppressive government regime? Didnt Jesus also do that? And what can the insights of psychology tell us about the drives in human nature? Are we really to believe that our primary motivation is to do bad things?

    I would also advise you consider the works of John Shelby Spong, in particular, Rescuing The Bible From Fundamentalism, & Why Christianity Must Change Or Die.

    AdrianT, (re74)I think we have had this conversation before and as you are aware I am by no means a certified bible bashing christian. I have and continue to explore and consider the scientific perspective but I also consider it along the insights of psychology, philosophy, theology and also religion & spirituality. My immediate response to you then is define ‘mind’ and define ‘universe’. These are concepts that continue to raise big questions for scientists, philosophers, theologions ,etc, alike. While I appreciate that the context of what you were saying was in response to our fundamentalist friend I would make the point that science can only, at present, deal with the material, (though obviously our definition of what that includes has expanded considerably thanks to the field of quantum physics), and when we talk about ‘mind’ we are talking about something which is not easily quantifiable in material terms. There are also aspects of our ‘universe’, what its made of, how it came to be, how it behaves (not neccessarily the best word to use there, what about the phenomena it exhibits?), that defy explanation in purely material terms.

    Our attempts to come up with a T.O.E (Theory Of Everything) have produced some pretty startling ideas with implications for the spiritual as well as the scientific. And now of course we have the hydron collider, ( I shall be watching the results from this with great interest in the years to come). Weve come a long way, but there is still much that we dont know ( but im not a ‘God in the gaps’ thinker) and many questions still to answer about the mind and the universe.

    Of course our battle axe in the article for this thread will probably remain blissfully and tragicly oblivious of it all.

  81. 21st Century, you make a good argument, but I think Bob isn’t listening.

  82. 21st Century… (you’re a unitarian? went to hear evan davis give a lecture at their church in newington green last year. the church has an interesting history to say the least)

    Anyhow, I have no reason to beleve that we can find answers to life’s most difficult questions through scientific investigation.
    We can prove, we can predict. We can say there are things we do not know, or cannot know. But to then say, because we cannot know – we have a gap in the knowledge, whether it’s understanding what created the big bang, a ‘gap’ in a fossil record, you cannot fill that gap with certainty. Folks like Bob say there are no more questions and we have all the answers. Anyone who makes that claim has so much work to do. (It amazes me that the lobbyists supporting Intelligent Design – ‘I don’t know the answer therefore god did it’ biology – are the Discovery Institute. Such a premise is the antithesis of ‘discovery’!)

    All we can do is look at all the possible alternative explanations and say what is most likely.

  83. …er… I meant to say I have no reason to believe we can find answers other than through scientific investigation.

    I could never multitask….I guessed you knew I meant that really :-)

  84. All very interesting, guys, but the old bat who caused this trouble and Bob who agrees with her, don’t care about any of it. They have their bible and that’s the end of all discussion.

  85. Rose is right at one level . . . these people do not care about science, logic or reason . . . they have their “Bible” and a neat self-referential delusional system.

    However, no one can live indefinitley in a bubble; well not in the 21st century . . . I say, keep chipping away at thier ludicous hot air bubble . . . but perhaps they have drifted of in the ballon already.

    One other thing, did you hear the mention this women got on Channel 4 news . . . as reported by the Christian institute.

    http://www.christian.org.uk/news/c4-news-calls-pauline-howes-letter-a-crime/

  86. “Channel 4 News last night called a Christian grandmother who objected to a gay pride parade a criminal on the same spectrum as the killers of a gay man in Trafalgar Square.”

    Wow. Well done, Channel 4. They got it right. Being a Christian and being a grandmother does not make her immune to the law.

  87. Praise the Lord . . . as the Evangelical Christians would say

    Lets all speak in tongues

    khvoi’hgn jhoiv hj\j\sbtferbjh cuxgiydn

  88. But what law did she break, Rose? If, for her, that was the end of the discussion – that’s her problem, she’s welcome to her beliefs.

  89. I don’t know, Adrian. I’m not a lawyer. I am not sure about the fine points of what constitutes a hate crime. I am merely going on the fact that the police thought there was something to talk to her about. They are busy people. They wouldnt have wasted their time if there wasn’t something in it?

    Ok, it isn’t as bad as beating somebody to death. That was why she got a verbal warning, not a night in the cells. But these things can’t be seen in isolation. Jan Moir and her venom, this woman and her ilk, spouting their bible-based hatred, Griffn and his nonsense, and then the spate – if I can use that word without anything being read into it – of homophobic attacks that have so horrified us lately – put them all together. Anti-gay rhetoric leads to anti-gay violence. She is indirectly responsible for these attacks along with everyone else who spouts on about ‘sodomites’ and the rest.

    That’s my take on it. But honestly, don’t ask me to quote legal precedent any more than I can quote bible verses like Bob and his chums.

  90. As I understood the police intervention, this appears to have been based on incitement to hatred – The evidence being a letter written to Norwich Council, and harassment of LGBT people at pride march.

  91. The issue of beliefs is interesting . . .

    Like any belief, a religous beilef is a “Lifestyle choice”

    You can believe what ever you like, in your head and the comfort of your own home . . . the problem begins when you think you have a right (Divine or other authority) to harrass and incite hatered towards others based on your beliefs.

    Freedom of speech I agree is double edged . . . but surely contingent . . . and its this leverage which is the real issue, or rather how free is our “Freedom of speech”.

  92. Mihangel apYrs 29 Oct 2009, 3:52pm

    Jonathan

    shout “FIRE” in a crowded area and see whether the “free speech” defence will get you off a public nuisance charge. Or stand up and shout for the the killing of (say) all Jews, and see if all speech is free.

  93. . . . the line has to be drawn some where!

  94. The line has been drawn. That’s why this woman was spoken to by the police for her actions. And that would have been the end of the matter if she hadn’t made a fuss about it. She went to the Christian press and complained that she had been spoken to by the police. She made herself into a Christian martyr claiming to represent light and good against all those nasty sinning sodomites. none of us would even have heard about her if she hadn’t done that. I

  95. She needs to be reminded of Exodus35;2.. “whoso ever doeth work on the sabbath shall be put to death.” So why isn’t she out in front of Walmart every sunday protesting against all those ‘Sabbath Sinners’?
    Either uphold ALL the bible, or NONE of it. You cannot pick and choose.
    Oops! I forgot…most Sabbath criminals produce children. Nevermind.

  96. probably because we don’t have walmart in the UK.

  97. Rose: Asda is Walmart

  98. Is it? Didn’t know that. I shop at Morrisons. Funnily enough I NEVER shop on Sundays, not because of religious belief, but more the fact that I LIKE having a day of rest when I don’t have to go anywhere. But anyway, we’ve obviously played this topic into the ground since we’re now talking about supermarkets!

  99. Eagle the militant American Indian-Jew 1 Nov 2009, 2:04am

    Howe is obviously a closeted lesbian because no so-called-straight-person is going to say what she has said as “straights” are not threatened by lesbians of gays. And as to what has brought down empires is religion, as the major cause of crime and was is based on religion. Gays and lesbians don’t bother anyone. I suppose she thinks that gay animals are responsible to animal species that become extinct or gay animals bring down empires and are the cause of disease? Why aren’t nuts like this pocked away in the looney bin? Only real insecure brain-washed people even believe in gods, demons and fairies. God is after all Santa Claus for grown-ups, but not necessarily grown up in their minds.I have this woman friend who believes in demons, demon procession and people being influenced by “Satan” and she is 64 years old!I tell you the world is full of nuts. The cops should have locked her up as being a danger to society. I wished I was there and we could pull her from her bed and hang her to the lamp post in the dead of night as a-sholes like this are the cause of violent crimes against gays.

  100. To Rose, whose post admitting to catholicism I have just seen. I have no reason to suppose you’re not a nice person “in real life” but…

    Don’t you think you’re a bit of a hypocrite? The church you attend and whose actions and beliefs you endorse is the primary vehicle (apart from Islam) for fighting gay rights in this country. Look at all the battles we have had to fight for our rights (do you want a set of links to the words and actions of Catholic bishops over gay adoption, gay marriage etc. over the last few years or have you got your fingers in your ears?). A church whose leader said last Christmas that defeating gay rights was more important than fighting climate change. every time you go to Mass and say the creed and put money on the collection plate you are supporting that bigotry.

    If you must find a church to worship Jesus Christ, why can’t you find one that is not dedicated to the destruction of our rights? Or are you secretly accepting that you are a second class person by being (I assume not a celibate) gay person.

  101. I don’t think this is the time or place for an attack on MY personal beliefs and I don’t need to justify myself to anyone, neither so-called Christians who criticise me for being gay or gay people who critise me for being Christian.

    My Creed….

    I Am What I Am – and what I am needs no excuses.

  102. Rose, I was actually criticising your endorsing specifically Catholic, not Christian beliefs. I hope that one day you see how homophobic the Catholic church is and how you are acting against the fundamental interests of gay people by participating in its rituals.

    Or to put it another way, your hypocrisy deserves the ire of both “sides”.

  103. Oh, well, its a good job that honest friends on either side aren’t as narrow as you. I don’t even know who you are and you’re making judgements based on a couple of points made on an internet news comment page. I don’t have to justify myself to you or anyone. if you want hypocrisy, go and see Iris Robinson.

  104. What exactly is dishonest about what I have said? If you put points on an internet BB you should be preferred to justify them rationally. It is noticeable that you are simply saying “I am what I am” and not justifying your beliefs (laughable as many find them) with the slightest semblance of rationality. A straightforward question for you: when the Pope arrives for his visit to this country, what will you be doing, endorsing his evil bigotry with your presence or joining the demonstrations??

  105. The topic of this bulletin board is ‘Christian woman may sue after police investigate ‘gay hate crime’ letter’. If you have something to say about that subject, do so. But I am not at home to personal attacks from a complete stranger who has decided to single me out for abuse. I have nothing else to say on this matter in this place.

  106. Harry, the world is not black and white . . . there are grey areas. Some people do leave the church, but some also decide to stay and fight from inside.

    I really think this demands our respect, not condemnation.

  107. Actually I am afraid some things are as near to black and white as make no difference. And one of them is “gay Catholicism”. It is most revealing (to me at any rate) that the immediate response from Rose to an initial non-hostile posting was a “how dare you judge me” / “none of your business” type response rather than addressing the perfectly reasonable issue that was raised (and has been raised frequently before). And the fact that she won;t answer my question on the Pope shows she is unwilling to engage in rational debate.

    but then of course the catholic church doesn’t indulge in rational debate.

  108. Sister friendly 2 Nov 2009, 1:09pm

    but then of course the catholic church doesn’t indulge in rational debate.

    Address your questions to the catholic church, not to a private individual who you have decided to have a go at for no apparent reason. You are the hostile one, coming in here and attacking somebody with no justification at all.

  109. That is not the point. The individual (whom I do not know and as I said may very well be a very nice person) has chosen publicly, by active participation in its “community” (her word), to endorse the teachings of this church, which is hugely hostile to gay people generally and plays an active role in diminishing the civil rights of gay people. It seems to me that there is a legitimate interest in asking her whether there is a touch of hypocrisy in her actions. It was she who declined to engage.

  110. Sister friendly 2 Nov 2009, 1:23pm

    It is exactly the point. If a person declines to engage with a hostile attacker, they have the right. Jesus called it ‘turning the other cheek’, funnily enough. What gives you the right to interrogate somebody about their personal choices?

  111. harry – it’s unfair to randomly ask someone to justify their beliefs. Also, the woman in question in this story is NOT a Catholic – which just goes to show that bigotry can exist in all religions. I’d say it’s more the people than the religion. (And, no, I’m neither a Catholic or a particular fan of the Pope).

  112. Sister friendly 2 Nov 2009, 1:29pm

    He’s not interested in this story. he just wants to attack somebody who openly and honestly explained their position already.

  113. She has a perfect right not to engage – but most of us are prepared intellectually to engage with those who express views contrary to our own (if you think my initial post was “hostile” I can only recommend growing a thicker skin). I certainly would be.

    As to Christ’s remarks about turning the other cheek, I shall limit myself to saying that I disagree with them both morally and philosophically.

  114. @Iris: I wholly agree with you that the Catholic church not the only enemy of the gay community in this country. it is however one of the more effective ones. It is Rose’s actions (her implicit endorsement of the anti-gay agenda by participating in the catholic community) not her personal beliefs (whether she believes that bits of bread become the body and blood of Christ are no particular concern of mine) that I maintain are legitimate subjects of debate. But she has a right, which she has chosen to exercise, of not participating in that debate.

  115. Sister friendly 2 Nov 2009, 1:50pm

    Enough is enough. Obviously you are somebody who likes to have the last word. So carry on. But nobody else is interested in debating with you since all you wish to do is insult an individual who has done nothing to you and who has the respect of many here on this community, even those who do not agree with her views.

  116. Harry Wrote

    “Actually I am afraid some things are as near to black and white as make no difference.”

    We understand that you view this in black and white terms, thats your choice.

    We think there are “Grey areas”

  117. What has interested me about this response (from not all that many people) is the bile and insults thrown at me for making a relatively restrained attack on what I still see as gay catholic hypocrisy (to the extent that I wonder if there is some other issue here of which as an occasional visitor to this site I am unaware).

    I repeat but will not repeat again – the charge of hypocrisy to anyone who participates in the catholic cult (or indeed any other cult with the same principles) is a perfectly legitimate one to make and Rose and others would be well advised to consider a rational response rather than taking personal offence.

    now I agree that this has gone on long enough. I might de-personalise it by taking it to a forum in my pink news, or whatever it’s called.

  118. douglas in canada 2 Nov 2009, 6:46pm

    Sorry to interrupt the warmth of these arguments, but here is the trouble I see, and perhaps it will get us back to the original discussion, too. Labels, like “Catholic,” have different meanings for different people. There are people who are Catholic because they were born into a Catholic family and just follow the rituals, but not necessarily the religious or political [yes, political] beliefs that go with that. Another wonderful example: How many non-Christians celebrate Christmas? This is a Christian festival, not a secular one, at its heart. So, perhaps some people find spiritual nurture in the day-to-day practices of a particular religion, but don’t associate with the political aspects of that faithgroup’s administration. I know, at some point, we have to decide how much we can tolerate, and how far we will go, but at some point, there IS a gray area that is difficult to describe or define. The real problem is the use of a single word, such as “Catholic” to describe the many and varied experiences of a widely ranging collection of individuals who, in reality, should each have a more specific word to describe their faith connection.

    The woman in the story, to get back to it, has taken a political stand based on her understanding of her faith. For those of us outside her tradition, we are utterly confused by the disconnect between their claim of “loving their neighbor” and “hating fags.”

    There is more to say, but I need time to let those thoughts develop. For the time being, I just wanted to put out this beginning idea, and look forward someone else clarifying it further.

  119. There is no issue here. I just don’t intend to be made a scapegoat for a world religion by somebody who decided to come onto this thread and be abusive to me. I object to being called a hypocrite,repeatedly, but i am not going to waste my time and energy explaining my motives to somebody who had no business asking these impertinent questions in the first place.

  120. Sister friendly 2 Nov 2009, 9:23pm

    I hope, Harry that you don’t intend to start a forum in order to attack a member of this community. That won’t win you very many friends. You are going about this entirely the wrong way.

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