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Comment: It was wrong of the police to arrest preacher Tony Miano because of his anti-gay views

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  1. davevauxhall 10 Jul 2013, 2:43pm

    I’m really enjoying Adrian Tipetts considered pieces keep up the good work.

    1. Midnighter 10 Jul 2013, 5:51pm

      I agree with you on that, even while I disagree with his views in this piece. He tends to produce some of the bettter-considered and more thought-provoking articles.

    2. Purushadasa 11 Jul 2013, 11:47pm

      I like Tony Miano a lot, but this homophobia and bigotry is going the way of the dodo. Actually, he deserved to be arrested because he broke the law, and homophobic bigots need to take this into consideration when speaking in public. Hatred of your fellow man is a sin, being gay is NOT a sin.

      1. You “like Tony Miano a lot”? Why?

  2. Well said, Adrian, on so many levels.

    Free speech is one of the basic tenets of a civilised society, but that has to include the bad alongside the good.

    Bigotry should be challenged head on by informed debate, not criminalised and and put into the hands of police who should be out there catching the real criminals.

    Criminalisation of any form of speech is a stepping stone to tyranny and totalitarianism and must be resisted at all costs.

    1. It’s not free speech its incitement to hatred. You bunch of asshole probably live in a nice comfortable area.

      1. They are the same thing, James.

        Once you put such laws into place, who’s to say how an incoming tyrannical regime may interpret them?

        It is a very slippery slope.

        Look what we’ve recently discovered about what whiter than white Obama is sanctioning:- snooping on the world’s phone calls, emails and web traffic, yet all done within the boundaries of law as it is set down, or rather laws that have been manipulated to suit a predetermined agenda.

        The implementation of laws to criminalise any kind of speech – hate or otherwise – will in time be distorted and twisted to suit an incoming government that decides to turn tyrant on its people (oops, silly me, they’re already in Downing Street!)

        It is for similar reasons that Leveson’s report is falling apart at the seams as it is ever more evident by the day that it was a hatchet job to muzzle press freedoms.

        Criminalisation of speech may blot out hate speech, but it will ultimately seek to suppress and silence truth itself.

        1. What I care about is making it home today without some thug swerving their car towards me like yesterday.

          These people think they are right god is on their side and I should be dead. So forgive me if I don’t want them to be allowed to say that. I don’t care about what if’s I just know where I live is unsafe for people like me.

          1. James, a thug swerving his car at you is a different matter:- I hope you got their number plate and have reported this thug to the authorities.

          2. Yes that will make a difference

          3. True.

      2. What is wrong with hatred? I hate religion. Should I be arrested too?

        1. If you keep it to your self and do not discriminate againt people who are religious then no. But if you make religious feel unsafe or live in fear then yes.

          Twat

          1. Calm down dear. No need for name calling.

    2. “Criminalisation of any form of speech is a stepping stone to tyranny and totalitarianism” is simply not true. We know precisely what happened in Germany when hate speech was allowed to flourish and the Nazis came to power. We know exactly what happens in a country like the US where hate speech flourishes and as a consequence gay people in the boondocks are bullied to the point of suicide. There is no space for hate speech in a civilized society. (One might argue that this loony preacher was not engaging in hate speech, but that is a different question.)

      1. Helen in Ireland 10 Jul 2013, 11:21pm

        Not only in the boondocks – New York is experiencing a dreadful spate of hate crimes recently – six serious assaults in one month and one young man shot in the face and killed by a guy who stalked him, shouting homophobic insults at him.

        MARK CARSON – SAY HIS NAME.

    3. And thanks by the way!

  3. This isn’t free speech – this is preaching. To be honest in tired of being asked to “tolerate” religion when they are the main oppressors of us, and the history of religion reads like a “What not to do in everythig, ever”

    I should be able to walk down the street and not be made to feel intimidated or insulted; and just because this man personally believes in want everyone knows is an ideological poison doesn’t mean he should have a right to preach his distorted views. I’m sick of being asked to tolerate their sheet lunacy. Religion is out moded insanity, it has no place in the modern world.

    If this man was preaching about homosexuality WITHOUT the mask of religion he would be arrested. Religion is no excuse for hate.

    1. Mr Pink, I think I accidentally reported this as offensive when I actually wanted to send a thumbs up. If so I apologise.

    2. Preaching, in fact, is free speech. No-one is asking you to tolerate, accept, respect, agree with anything. You are welcome to ignore, expose, condemn, ridicule, satirise, shout back, in return, and have every protection under the law to do so.

      I am sick of lunacy also, but I will not stick a tape over someone’s mouth to stop it. Who do you trust to decide what is ‘lunacy’? A homophobe could also say, he has the right not to have his feelings hurt – by seeing 2 men holding hands. Are you going to give the homophobe the right not to be insulted too? Where is your consistency?

      1. If I were to take to the streets preaching my eternal love for my personal God; the Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, and my hatred towards those who eat shellfish then I would be arrested.

        If I continued to preach my love for the Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster and my hatred for those who eat shellfish because the Almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster, then they would throw me in a loony bin and lock away the key.

        Replace “the Flying Spaghetti Monster” with another fictional diety, say, God, Allah, and then it’s perfectly normal preaching. A homophobe who is insulted by 2 men holdings hands or kissing will be insulted because he has never really been exposed to it due to systematic repression and oppression in education, media, work, law and because most people are still terrified to kiss or hold hands on the street (this has been acknowledged in psychological studies) and so his hurt feelings are his problem, and not anyone else’s. They too, shouldn’t be tolerated either…

        1. It is a better idea to get rid of hate speech laws period. Hating is necessary sometimes. So long as there is no direct incitement to commit harm against anyone of course. Insulted people should just answer back and tell them what they think of them. What I also want to see is for the law to give full protection to those who answer back. Liberty comes at a cost and sometimes you have to take brave steps to claim your rights.

    3. Aren’t you preaching your atheistic religion? We get it. You were coerced into religion and when you grew older and decided that you didn’t need to go to Church any longer, you decided to rebel against it and are still feeling the weight of the forcefully imposed shackles upon you.

      That doesn’t give you the right to demean others.

    4. Aren’t you preaching your atheistic religion? We get it. You were coerced into religion and when you grew older and decided that you didn’t need to go to Church any longer, you decided to rebel against it and are still feeling the weight of the forcefully imposed shackles upon you..

      That doesn’t give you the right to demean others.

      1. I suggest you stick to the debate in question rather than make childish assumptions about the motives and nature of the person making the argument. Once you abolish the right to free speech, you make a rod for your own back when you abolish the one effective weapon at your disposal to extinguish bigotry – arguing down bad ideas with better ideas. People who play the ‘hurt feelings’ card – sadly the majority of commenters on here – demean themselves.

        In any case, atheism isn’t a religion. There are no doctrines, dogmas of atheism. It is based on doubt.

        If you cannot think of an argument against a preacher who claims to know the mind of god, then you deserve a police state.

  4. Michael Barber 10 Jul 2013, 2:55pm

    Tom Paine would have blasted this man’s B.S. out of the water with greater force than some 2000 year old dogma. Tom Paine was a hero for progress and reason, not irrational religious dogma.

    1. I agree. That is my point. Appealing to reason, not emotion or feelings, is the way to enhance rights.

  5. Oh stfu

    If you live in an area that is becoming increasingly anti gay like me you’ll feel the effect of these idiots spewing their hatred. They can’t say that about blaks or jews so why is it ok to say it about me?

    1. In fact, the BNP are even given a political broadcast slot. If someone wanted to preach white supremacism, let them. They would come to their senses. They would be headline news, exposed on TV, and on YouTube, they would be shunned by everyone they know. They would probably lose their job and family, and then home. Everyone wins, without wasting police time. If he were to whip up hate and encourage harm against Jewish people or black people, that is a different matter.

      The point is, that crackpot preacher did not incite hatred against anybody. Give me one quote from his preaching where he did, and I’ll change my views.

  6. How can the police have been wrong to do their job? A complaint was made, a man was arrested in compliance with the law, taken to a police station, interviewed and released. That’s how it’s supposed to work.

  7. So, the next time I walk down the street and some one comes up to me and calls me an abomination, that I am going to hell, that I am a dirty FAGGOT, a queer, a curse on society. I am to turn round and to congratulate this person on they way they have used there right to free speech. What a crass article! Would then Pink News publish a racist account and how he used his free speech. Of course not. Shame on you for even publishing this crap.

    1. There are laws against harassment, intimidation, assault, incitement to violence.
      I don’t recall saying the alternative to not arresting someone is to congratulate them. Really…

  8. Beelzeebub 10 Jul 2013, 3:23pm

    Nonsense.

    I’m pretty sure if I were to hang about town high streets quoting the Curse of Ham and pointing at black people, I would be swiftly whisked off to plod land and rightly so.

    His is this preachers actions any different.

  9. Midnighter 10 Jul 2013, 3:28pm

    Proselytising on any subject with a public address system is a public nuisance as far as I’m concerned; there are places where this is acceptable, and I’d suggest that a busy street and outside homes and businesses people do not need more noise pollution, irrespective of the content of the message.

    This piece also neglects to acknowledge that the speaker is not the only person with rights; his audience does too.

    Incidentally this issue is not about picking up new sticks to attack such speakers, but rather with the sticks that they are already using to beat others with. I say they can keep their sticks, as long as they leave them in Church.

    Free speech is important, but it is equally important to remember that free speech is not free of consequences; we have defamation and hate speech laws for good reason.

    GK Chesterton also wrote:
    Journalism is a false picture of the world, thrown upon a lighted screen in a darkened room, so that the real
    world is not seen.

    1. I definitely agree with the public-nuisance bit: I don’t believe in hell so it’s a matter of complete indifference to me if someone tells me I’m scheduled for a trip there because of anything from not believing in Jehovah to masturbating to being gay. I do most seriously object to being harangued though, especially if there’s a loudspeaker involved. All street preachers should be swept up by the rubbish lorries as far as I’m concerned.

    2. Do we have hate speech laws for good reason? Why should hate be criminalised? Sometimes, it is a necessity. I don’t see the connection with defamation, since ‘sin’ is subjective.
      Once you start censoring because of some unspecified consequence of speech, you may as well give up. When I co-wrote an open letter to a London mosque 2 years ago to show remorse for hosting hate preachers who called for the death penalty for LGBT people and non-believers, the spokesperson mused whether such agitation might ‘play into the hands of the EDL’. To which I state: not my problem. Your evasion caused this. Your talk of ‘consequences’ is dangerous and leads to vilification of whistle blowers.

      1. Do you not think the listeners have any rights at all in all this, Adrian?

        Defamation may be defined as spreading false information harming the reputation of others; if you have never heard these religious types doing just that, you’ve led a more fortuitous life than I.

        Well then, let us not censor based on unspecified consequences. Let us enumerate those that may be considered undesirable. Perhaps killing gays based on the exhortations of religious texts might be a good place to start, what do you think? How about the one where the faith school teacher loses their job as a result of the church newsletter falsely linking their sexuality with paedophilia? What about the impact of such speech on LGBT children?

        How do we get to “vilification of whistle blowers” ? Why is this a reason to give up trying to find the solution?

        Like you, I don’t want to stifle free speech with protection from mere hot air, but nor does that mean that the answer is zero protection.

        1. As I mention in my article – we have laws against incitement to violence, intimidation. We have libel laws. Of course there are limits to free speech.

          Listeners have the right to answer back, to walk away. They don’t have the right not to be offended. Should we prosecute restaurant and art gallery reviewers by your definition?

          I

          1. There’s a big difference between a critique of someone’s work and an attack on an individual or group on the basis of their nature. It is the difference between expressing distaste for what someone does as opposed to what they are. It is the difference between subjective opinion and factually baseless claims.

            So no, there is no need to include your scenario which is why it isn’t automatically an issue under existing defamation law, as I’m sure you are aware.

            If I were you, I’d be far more concerned about the very open-ended legislation in the Public Order Act, section 5 of which makes it a potential offence to use “abusive or insulting words”. The way this may be used in practice falls well into your valid concerns about the subjective notion of insult, since it gives the police a sweeping excuse to arrest for whatever they consider might be insulting, and can thus very easily create a de facto suppression of free speech.

          2. We have established, I hope, that I did not support ‘zero protection’ as you stated I claimed in your comments above. I don’t have to tell you, if you have ever read my previous pieces on the religious groups in Europe, that I am more than aware of the vision and aspirations of these groups. I didn’t call for the abolition of Section 5 – I rejoiced that ‘insulting’ be taken out, and indeed it will be.

            If you want another good example of when whistle blowers were charged (the court eventually threw it out thankfully), then Channel 4 Dispatches for their ‘undercover mosque’ report. The potential for a minority community to be insulted came before the real threat posed by fascist preachers.

            Teachers would be covered by libel laws. When did this happen by the way?

            And yes, it’s terrible for LGBT children to hear prejudice and nonsense. Rather than wrapping them in cotton wool, I would rather arm them and empower them with the ability to argue down these people.

          3. Social acceptance and eradicating prejudice is your goal, I imagine. How else, apart from exposing prejudice, and arguing it down, do you expect to extinguish it, other than through testing, exposing it?

            You are compelled to return to this thread to use reason to change my mind on the best way of dealing with insulting language, rather than reporting my comment or article. If you were consistent, you’d phone Scott up and ask him to remove the piece.

          4. Thanks for clarifying your point about whistle blowers – but as you note, this was an unsuccessful prosecution which confirms that restrictions on free speech do not necessarily have to strangle it.

            Apparently I haven’t made it clear that I too support the removal of the word “insulting” from that act. My point is that this is not the false dichotomy of “bad law or no law” as some seem to see this as being; what I want to see is better legislation to address the specific issues and concerns that have been raised throughout this thread. The fact that an appallingly vague attempt was made to address these – which was thereby open to misuse and abuse – does not preclude the validity of concerns being raised.

            Your mis-characterisation of my position is silly; not least because you seem to want to believe I am inconsistent, where the more obvious answer is that I am not in fact “insulted” by your arguments. Another false dichotomy.

          5. Thanks for the comments, and you raise excellent points. I apologise for being rather facetious on the last point.

            While cases such as C4 Dispatches got thrown out – we can sigh with relief in hindsight, once the prohibitive penalties and legal costs have been dismissed. I am amazed it got there in the first place.

  10. He’s a public nuisance. Surely, there are plenty empty churches in Wimbledon where he could spew his nonsense. No one would come — that’s the problem.

  11. JackAlison 10 Jul 2013, 3:30pm

    I think an article like this makes sense on the page it was written on. In fact it makes too much sense. I believe what authorites are now realising and I would point this out to you that it does not take much to connect the words with violent action. You scratch the surface, not too deep and you will find an angry ill informed uneducated class of people who will use this “free speech ” as the glue which binds them to the necessity to commit violence. Thats a huge problem for law enforcement and quite rightly it is under a public disturbance act. If this was being said about blacks using the “n”word or jewish slander it would cause untold outrage up and down the high street. I for 1 do not beleive that tax paying law abiding LGBTI citizens need to hear or put up with this sort of public villification any longer. It is just NO LONGER ACCEPTABLE and unfortunately the cultural change that makes it unacceptable is a work in progress . meanwhile laws help to nudge this along a lil more.

  12. This article is absolute nonsense. The author misses the fundamental point that this man may have been arrested, but he was never charged with any offence or criminalised whatsoever. As far as the police were aware, there was a man shouting homophobic abuse. They arrested him and questioned him and then realised no offence had been committed and so released him without charge. I don’t see the issue. If your concern is with the specific questioning, then complain about the police officer, not about the underlying law.

    Also, remember that the people of Wimbledon are not all adults capable of arguing and challenging the man. There will be children around, not to mention young LGBT struggling with their sexuality who could be deeply upset about what they hear. Hate speech against LGBT people remains widespread and the police are right to take it seriously.

    “Criminalisation of any form of speech is a stepping stone to tyranny”. You really think it should be allowed to stir up hatred?

    1. First, this preacher aimed his sermon at everyone and thus nobody. The video shows passers-by ignoring him.

      If you aren’t capable of arguing back, what you do is read up, and learn to argue back.

      Are the people of Wimbledon so stupid that they cannot argued own a crank who believes that the earth is 6000 years old and preaches about a fictitious place called hell? I don’t think so.

  13. I couldn’t agree with this article more. Some of the responses on here depress me though.

    Should every person that attends a Pride parade be arrested because they “offend” some religious nutter? And make no mistake, the mere existence of gay people offends a lot of people…

    What’s good enough for the goose…

    1. While I understand what you are saying, there is a big difference between a pride march that is promoting love, inclusiveness and does not attack anyone and a religious person spreading lies and hate to the public for the specific purpose to get people to hate and discriminate against us.

      At the very least, anything that is put out as fact in the public eye should be provable and factual. Surely spreading lies as facts about people should not come under free speech.

      1. Who gets to define what speech is ‘love’ and ‘inclusiveness’ and what is ‘hatred’? And a lot of these religious loons have “evidence” to support their view too. It’s usually bunkum pseudo science BS funded by the Christian Institute but nevertheless who gets to define what is proper evidence?

        Just look at Russia. Anything to do with being gay now cannot be talked about without arrest because the majority think it is “damaging” to children etc.

        People here want their cake and want to be able to eat it, which I can understand. But it’s not how things work.

        If you don’t like Pride parades, cross the road and go elsewhere. If you don’t like religious preachers, cross the road and go elsewhere. Everyone has the right to be offended but nobody has the right not to be offended.

        1. The courts get to decide what speech is lawful and what speech is not. Are you saying that all speech is morally neutral and should be permitted? If I shout “Fire” in a theatre and people run out and are injured in the mayhem, I would be held responsible for using speech so as to endanger people’s safety. Similarly, if someone tries to stir up hatred against a particular group (gay people, Jewish, black or whatever) then that speech is also unlawful as it risks endangering people’s safety.

          Section 5 doesn’t prohibit offensive language, but only language which is threatening and abusive. Or do you think we should be free to threaten and abuse people in the streets? Someone has to decide whether language is threatening, abusive, or otherwise, and that someone is a judge, and I’m very happy about that.

          1. Well obviously I don’t agree with people being able to say anything. But what did this preacher say that was ‘threatening’ and ‘abusive’? Nothing as far as I’m aware. Which is exactly the point I was trying to make.

            And obviously the police agree that he said nothing threatening or abusive otherwise they would have charged him.

    2. So if I chose to believe in the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, who’s 2000 year old delusional and corrupt teachings tell me that having brown hair is wrong; my belief gives me the right to grab a megaphone and take to the streets condemning all those with brown hair because The Flying Spaghetti Monster said so? Would I be allowed to operate under free speech because my delusional faith says I have a free pass to tell other’s how to live their lives?

      1. Yes, of course you would. Why would Christianity be allowed and not the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? They are both equally valid religions as far as I’m concerned.

        1. So you’re saying that all the people with brown hair who take offense to by delusional and hurtful comments not only shouldn’t get offended, but should respect my right to pass hate onto them in the STREET for no valid reason?

          1. If you disagree with people having brown hair then that’s your prerogative. You can talk about it as you wish.

  14. Robert in S. Kensington 10 Jul 2013, 3:42pm

    An interesting article, but I also think people should be entitled to be free from religion and from the loons who stand on street corners doing the very opposite of what their bible tells them. Jesus Christ didn’t take too kindly to religious loons shouting their beliefs from the rooftops

    1. Robert in S. Kensington 10 Jul 2013, 3:44pm

      Further…. Mr. Miano and his ilk should take another look at what Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6:5:

      “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

      I’m all for people expressing their beliefs even if we don’t agree as long as religious people concede that others who do not subscribe to them are free to express their disgust and disrespect for those in the same manner.

      Religious people shouldn’t have a monopoly on what they can say if we’re not accorded the same right to voice our contempt for what they are saying, even if it is offensive and in a public place. We should be able to denigrate religion in public shouldn’t we?

  15. FFS, can we move on from this please? He wasn’t even prosecuted (unfortunately).

  16. We should answer back. Simply stand next to them & shout ‘This man/woman is talking s**t, you do not have to believe anything he/she says. Have a lovely day’.

    1. Exactly. Stage a counter protest/preaching. Don’t arrest and shut them down, beat them at their own game. Gay rights is winning because what we have to say is correct and logical and just, and (most) people see that. We won’t win by simply arresting people who disagree with us. It does more harm than good and at that point we’ve stooped to the level of Russia and bigots in general.

  17. I agree with the free speech thing but wanabe preachers spreading lies on the streets is taking it to far, These people should not feel comfortable to stand on a box anywhere they like and promote lies just because that is what they believe.

    I don’t want to silence or arrest them I just don’t see why I should have to have it thrown in my face all the time, not all of us want to challenge them, we just want to live our lives safely and without harassment.

    Give them a place where they can preach their views all they like and then those that want to listen can go and I can enjoy my life without hearing lies about me. Hang on, it already exists, its called a church, go there and leave us alone.

    1. “we just want to live our lives safely and without harassment.”

      Well, tough. How exactly was he harassing anyone? He seems no worse than all the people trying to talk to you, give you leaflets, sign you up to donate to a charity, sign you up for Sky etc.

      Sorry but if that guy should be arrested then the Bible should made illegal because that’s what he was paraphrasing basically.

      1. There is a difference between the existence of literature and preaching. Lots of people have copies, or have read, Mein Kampf, but no-one thinks it should be lawful for people to stir up hatred against Jewish people. Surely you can understand the difference between written literature which we have to choose, voluntarily, to read, and public speech which we are forced to listen to.

  18. Frank Boulton 10 Jul 2013, 4:20pm

    As always, I have to agree with every word that you have written, Adrian.

    Difficult as Freedom of Speech can at times be to endure, we have to remember that it is the very instrument, which has permitted the advancement of LGBTI rights in the Western world over the past 50 or so years to the point where 14 (I’m not counting the US yet)nations now have nationwide recognition of same sex marriage. I also happen to think that speeches like that of Tony Miano are winning us more friends than enemies.

    1. strawman.

      It was the stonewall rioters who led the fight. The trannies, blacks and drag queens. People like capote used money as their insulator and would be happy for things to stay as they were

    2. Er, people in the first pride parade’s were systematically beaten and arrested. They wore bags over the heads to prevent the garuntee of losing their jobs, family, and possibly their home.

      FREE SPEECH had nothing to do with it; we simply refused to be treated as victims.

      Equal rights are never handed to minorities; they TAKE them. If it wasn’t for those brave LGBT people at Stonewall and afterwards then nothing would have changed. Nothing.

      1. And a man was shot dead mere blocks away from Stonewall recently for being gay. So yeah, hardly living in the equal paradise all those people lived and died for, are we?

    3. Midnighter 10 Jul 2013, 6:17pm

      That really is a stunningly ill informed and naive summation, Frank. Aside from the excellent points made by James and Mr Pink, did you not see the article on this very site a few weeks ago where the Wisconsin pride had to be cancelled due to fears of a community backlash?

      http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/06/22/us-pride-cancelled-in-wisconsin-city-due-to-safety-concerns/

      Where was free speech there?!

      1. Terrible example, and actual,y proving my point about how minority rights get smothered when we appeal to hurt feelings and outlaw ‘offence’. You should be asking why the State authorities didn’t give LGBT people extra protection.

        1. Drive-by claims of “you’re wrong, I’m right” don’t make for a persuasive argument without some rationalisation, Adrian.

          From the scant details in the PN article and the linked story within the PN one, it reads to me like an individual in authority whipping up anti gay sentiment in an attempt to stifle freedom of expression:

          “City Council member Dave Nutting told residents at a council meeting June 11 to stay away from the parade or, if they did go, to turn their backs on “deviant-behaving individuals.””

          Following which the organiser reports “a backlash of ugliness from the Wausau community”.

          How exactly does this prove your point? From these reports, no one in this case was appealing to hurt feelings, but rather to concerns regarding safety. Perhaps you are suggesting that this has been misreported, and the pride event was cancelled in a hissy fit over the comments from the nasty counsellor?

          1. What concrete threats of harm were made against LGBT people? The council leader urged people to ‘turn their backs’ on the parade. It’s vile, sure, bit that is not incitement to harm. The police had a duty to ensure protection of the pride parade marchers.

            It proves my point because, when the bigots are in the majority, they will appeal to hurt feelings, or being offended, to silence and stamp out expression. That seems to be how most folks here believe they will win social acceptance, as if people will change their minds by magician only we threatened them with the court.

          2. Midnighter 11 Jul 2013, 1:58am

            Does “a wave of ugliness” and multiple reports of concern for personal safety not suggest that such harm was genuinely feared?

            How are we to draw the distinction between being “overly sensitive” and rationally concerned for our safety? I’d suggest that a look at the statistics of violent crime against LGBTs in recent months in the US may have given very reasonable cause for concern. Do we need a smoking gun?

            I’m still confused Adrian. The bigots here didn’t ban the pride event, they merely expressed their offence at it. They were permitted their free speech. In fact they had so much freedom of speech they scared off the minority. I rather think this makes my point, rather than yours; logically (and hypothetically) one could argue the need for policing free speech so as to prevent it getting so out of hand as to make an entire minority group feel threatened.

            Is this a case where the minority needs a thicker skin, or might they in fact be better served by stab proof vests?

  19. I’m pleased he was arrested….I for one am beyond bored with the freedom of speech argument that only seems to apply to bigots like this prick.

    1. Indeed, apparently believing in the Flying Spaghetti Monster gives you a free pass to pass hate and shame onto others… in the name of “free speech”

      FREE SPEECH is necessary when 2 sides of the argument need to be heard. It’s necessary to work out the advantages and disadvantages of the topic in question.

      The argument against homosexuality, especially from a religious world view, is simply wrong and mis-informed.

      I think we’d all agree that there is NO valid argument for why we shouldn’t do what we are naturally inclined to do, get married, have kids, and live a happy life

      Therefore free speech stops being free speech once the argument is invalid, it just becomes pointless hateful damaging delusional garbage,

    2. Isle-jumper 10 Jul 2013, 6:07pm

      I love the photos of people who raise placards next to these preachers making them appear foolish. What I would love even more would be to see someone raising funds for LGBT youth at risk besides one of these idiots. People would be able to do something positive to fight his abuse and irritate him at the same time. Remember that In the big picture, the Westborough Baptist Church’s public protests have probably done far more to promote LGBT rights than anything else because they helped to unite the groups which opposed them.

  20. I think another fundamental point is his preachings aren’t even correct. There are plenty of gay Christians, and plenty who believe homosexuality is NOT a sin.

    Jesus said “Let he be without sin cast the first stone”, “Judge not less ye be judged”, “love thy neighbour as onself” and a whole manner of nice teachings that they systematically ignore because they’d rather preach HATE instead of LOVE

    1. So what? Stupidity is not a crime.

  21. Adrian you are absolutely right! Free speech is for everyone, not just the “good guys”!

    1. I don’t agree. read my post above regarding the necessity of free speech.

      1. colonelkira 11 Jul 2013, 12:30pm

        You don’t have to agree. You’re wrong.

  22. As stated, there are laws against harassment, incitement to violence. Show me in the video where he singled out anyone for hatred. He preached damnation to everybody, and thus nobody.

    Nowhere did I say you shouldn’t answer back, condemn, ridicule. If you use ‘hurt feelings’ you only give your opponents the excuse to do the same, as we have seen in this debate over LGBT rights, and when part 2 is up, you might see why.

    To Michael Barber: Tom Paine supported freedom of expression in order to enhance rights – reread the introduction to the Age of Reason.

  23. I think this is a very contentious issue, as seen by many of the comments on this board. There’s a few comflicting ideas that came to my mind though.

    1. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion so long as that opinion doesn’t infringe on the freedoms of others.

    2. Freedom to speak doesn’t necessarily mean the right to broadcast.

    3. In this case, I just wonder whether his actions/words actually do more harm to his cause than good. People like this often hang themself with their own words in the end.

  24. Craig Nelson 10 Jul 2013, 7:15pm

    The article was a bit lengthy but you either have freedom of speech or you don’t. Come on folks a British city isn’t a british city without a cranky street preacher giving forth. The police should only arrest someone if there is a genuine belief they have broken the law. Arresting then releasing is an interference in free speech where they clearly don’t have legal grounds. This will only lead to people developing a martyrdom complex. Much better to live with objectionable speech in my view.

  25. Am I the only one to think that this was a deliberate publicity stunt?

    How very convenient that the whole thing was captured on a 40-minute video, and how very convenient that a complaint was made, by a planted stooge perhaps?

    And how convenient that it all happened during the critical passage of the SSM bill through the House of Lords.

    By throwing him in a cell and taking his DNA, the heavy handed plods have just given the WBC, the Christian Institute, the Mail/Telegraph etc all the ammunition they could ever want.

    I’m just surprised that it’s apparently legal for anyone to use public address equipment on the high street to blast messages at passers-by who probably don’t want to hear them. It’s one thing to have someone ranting at the top of their voice from a soapbox, but bellowing away through a megaphone or PA system is going just a bit too far.

  26. It is idiotic in the extreme to arrest a preacher for preaching from the Bible.

    This is wrong even with in your face preachers that want to annoy.

    It gives ammunition to anti-gay groups all over the world.

  27. Why should I have to listen to homophobic abuse on the streets when I’m going about my business, minding my own business, not upsetting others?

    I wouldn’t have to listen to it at work, I can choose to engage with it online, but if I’m walking along the street why should I be confronted with it? It’s one man, but what if it’s a group of people saying it on every other street corner?

    What if atheists, like myself, organise people to stand on every other street corner denouncing the evils of religion, how it has caused wars, tortured people for their beliefs, like Galileo, or burned them at the stake like William Tyndale, for daring to write a Bible in English, marginalising women, calling Black people sub-human and practising slavery. Religion should be kept in their churches, unless they can kept a civil tongue – which some of them can’t. We cannot allow the intolerant a public platform because they cause a great number of problems in society. Look at the BNP or EDL.

    1. btw, good article, I just think our aims, as a society, now, is to stamp out homophobia, because it is incredibly harmful to young people, and the rest of us. We cannot tell churches what to say in their private meeting places, unless they incite hatred (which I think they have been doing), but we can exclude them from the public street where I have to walk — otherwise I become a prisoner in my own home, and that just isn’t acceptable. And if the comments were racist?

      I think I do have a right not be insulted – when you’re at work you don’t allow people to insult you over your sexuality, skin colour, gender, etc. And it would certainly cause some alarm and distress to walk down the street and then be confronted by this moron.

      Why are we concerned that he’s supposedly religious? If people make derogatory homophobic remarks to me on the tube or train or bus, would we allow that? Do we allow religious people to do it, but nobody else? We can’t have that, it’s double-standards.

      1. “What if atheists, like myself, organise people to stand on every other street corner denouncing the evils of religion” – now that’s a BRILLIANT idea!!!

    2. Barry William Teske 14 Jul 2013, 2:29am

      Sorry big fingers small press space on this iPad.
      I really didn’ t mean to report your comment.
      Hey Pink News exnay on my report ok!

    3. “What if atheists, like myself, organise people to stand on every other street corner denouncing the evils of religion, how it has caused wars, tortured people for their beliefs, like Galileo, or burned them at the stake like William Tyndale, for daring to write a Bible in English, marginalising women, calling Black people sub-human and practising slavery”

      That is absolutely fine. Why don’t you do that? At the end of the day, maybe we should all just never talk again? Because, whatever you say, someone somewhere will be offended.

  28. Benjamin Thomas 12 Jul 2013, 8:07pm

    Great Article Adrian – Sometimes the things I hear from supposed liberals and supposed progressives and supposed friends of freedom when it comes to criminalizing the expression of opinions they don’t like frighten me as much as the bigoted nonsense of homophobes. It is UTTERLY NECESSARY that we do not sacrifice freedom of speech on such issues. Obviously active incitement to violence and harassment should be an issue – but time and time again I hear supposed progressives eager to take away the right to free speech of anyone who wants to say something they don’t want to hear. You give me faith for equal rights movements across the world.

  29. Barry William Teske 14 Jul 2013, 2:25am

    Adrian maybe you need to look in a mirror with lights on.
    You too have executed a double standard in this piece of freelance.
    Does your previous piece of freelance not ask to respect people before beliefs or are you making this up as you go along?
    More than my feelings as you so callously freelance have been hurt.
    Most of, if not all of my life has been spent alone, in fear, sad and empty. Real agonizing pain of not being able to be me. To reach my potential. Because some holier than thou pundit read it in a book and took it upon their self to point it at me like a gun.
    Come to think of it Adrian, try a mirror lit by the full sun of the day.

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