Two cases out of the United Kingdom are causing great concern for the freedom of speech.
Earlier this year a Christian street preacher in England, Mike Overd, was convicted for quoting Leviticus 20:13 as a condemnation against homosexuality after a homosexual complained to police. The judge reasoned that since Leviticus 20 doesn’t just condemn homosexuality, but prescribes the death penalty for it, the preacher was inciting violence against homosexuals (even though Overd claims he did not quote the portion of the text calling for the death penalty). He even added that he would have avoided a fine had he quoted from Leviticus 18:22 instead since there is no mention of the death penalty for homosexuality in that passage.
This is troubling on a number of levels. First, the British government is fining a man for merely quoting the Bible publicly. Second, the British government is telling this preacher which parts of the Bible he can quote and which parts he can’t. Luckily, Overd was acquitted of the crime. The fact that he was ever charged and convicted initially, however, is troubling for the future of free speech in England.
And then, there is the case of Irish pastor, James McConnell who was charged with violating a law that prohibited offensive speech to be communicated via the airwaves. What was his crime? Calling Islam a satanic religion and other negative statements regarding the religion back in March 2014 during a sermon that was streamed online. He is now facing trial.
It’s time to take a stand for the freedom of speech in the West.