A public prosecutor in a case involving two Christian street preachers has alleged that quoting from the King James Version Bible in public should be considered “abusive” and even “criminal.”
The Christian Institute reports that the two men, Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell, were arrested last summer while they were preaching in Bristol city center and charged with a Public Order Offense.
The men claim they were simply preaching the gospel and answering questions from the crowd. Their lawyer has argued that the two men were exercising their legal and democratic right to freedom of speech and were not in violation of any ordinance.
However, the public prosecutor accusing the men stated, “Whilst it is right that if things are said in the Bible, they can be said to be an expression of religious belief – to use words translated in 1611 in a very different context, in the context of modern British society, must be considered to be abusive and is a criminal matter.”
“To say to someone that Jesus is the only God is not a matter of truth. To the extent that they are saying that the only way to God is through Jesus, that cannot be a truth,” he added.
Colin Hart, director of The Christian Institute, has spoken out about the case: “We must not forget that strong protections for free speech still remain in our country,” he said.
Both Overd and Stockwell have been convicted and charged with fines, which they will reportedly appeal.
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Publication date: March 8, 2017