Free speech saves Christian preacher who said all gays must die and Mohammed was a paedo
Is the Bible banned? Are some bits of it, to use the dread word of the age, ‘inappropriate’? Mike Overd has been told that reading bits of the Good Book aloud is offensive.
A Christian street preacher has accused a judge of trying to “censor” the Bible after he was convicted of a public order offence for quoting an Old Testament passage condemning homosexuality.
Mike Overd was fined £200 for quoting part of a passage from Leviticus 20 which condemns same-sex relationships as sinful and calls for gay men to be put to death.
We each of us have our prejudices. Old Mr Anorak would instead quote the bit from Leviticus 19:28 about piercings and tattoos: “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD.”
Anyhow, instead of ignoring or mocking Mr Overd and pitying the pigeons in the precinct forced to listen to him bang on, he was arrested.
He found himself up before District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi. The Beak wondered why Overd chose the passage he did and din’t opt for, say, Leviticus 18 which calls homosexuality as an “abomination” but fails to demand all gays are murdered.
He acquitted the former paratrooper, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, Somerset, of a separate charge for suggesting that the Prophet Mohammed was a “paedophile”.
At which point we should cheer Mr Quershi who despite the censorious, illiberal stupidity of the police and CPS saw what was stake, stating:
“Whilst we all want to encourage public civility, there is a higher principle at stake. As long as there is no incitement to violence, then people should be allowed to speak freely without fearing legal repercussions.
Free speech has one more champion.