71-Year-Old Pastor Arrested After Being Accused Of Making Homophobic Comments While Preaching
A North London pastor was arrested after preaching ‘homophobic statements’ from the Bible.
On Friday, April 23, John Sherwood was ‘preaching the gospel’ outside Uxbridge Station. However, police arrived after the 71-year-old was accused of homophobic language, soon arresting him under the Public Order Act, which cites ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour’.
In footage uploaded to Twitter, officers can be seen pulling him off the stepladder after he refuses to come down and using force to restrain him. He was later released without charge.
As reported by the MailOnline, Sherwood said, ‘I wasn’t making any homophobic comments, I was just defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. I was only saying what the Bible says – I wasn’t wanting to hurt anyone or cause offence. I was doing what my job description says, which is to preach the gospel in open air as well as in a church building.’
He explained, ‘When the police approached me, I explained that I was exercising my religious liberty and my conscience. I was forcibly pulled down from the steps and suffered some injury to my wrist and to my elbow. I do believe I was treated shamefully. It should never have happened.’
Andrea Williams, of the Christian Concern group, criticised police for lacking understanding around freedom of speech. ‘There is an idea that if people are offended you should arrest someone, but in this country we also have freedom of speech,’ she said.
Williams added, ‘The laws to protect the freedom to preach in public are very strong. Sadly, what we are seeing all too often is police officers who are quick to arrest at the first suggestion that a member of the public is offended, because of the prevailing cancel culture.’
On The Conservative Woman‘s website, an eye-witness account from fellow pastor Peter Simpson, who preached with Sherwood prior to his arrest, reads, ‘Another officer spoke to me about the need to avoid any homophobic statements.’
It adds, ‘I explained that to uphold God’s moral law and to speak about the dangers of sin in respect of LGBT issues implies absolutely no hatred or unpleasantness towards any individual or group of people. Indeed, it is an act of love to one’s neighbour. Nevertheless, the Bible’s description of homosexuality as sinful is plain and clear-cut.’
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said, ‘The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards have since assessed the footage and found no indication of misconduct. The arrest will not be subject to a full review.’
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