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News – Street preacher arrested

June 2010

Street preacher arrested

 

A Christian street preacher who responded to questions about biblical definitions of sin was arrested and put into jail.           

     According to Christian Concern for Our Nation (CCfON), Dale McAlpine had been preaching in Workington, Cumbria, when approached by a female heckler.

     He was with a church colleague, speaking from a stepladder and handing out leaflets about the Ten Commandments, when a woman engaged him in a debate about the Christian faith.

     In Mr McAlpine’s account, he spoke about the list of sins delineated in 1 Corinthians, including blasphemy, idolatry and same-sex intercourse.

     As the woman walked away, she was approached by a police community support officer (PCSO). The officer told Mr McAlpine that a complaint had been made and that he could be arrested for using homophobic or racist language.

     The PSCO, who reportedly said he was the ‘Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender liaison officer’ for Cumbria police, alleged that Mr McAlpine made the remark in a voice loud enough to be overheard by others and has charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act.

     Mr McAlpine was taken into custody and held in a cell for seven hours. He has pleaded not guilty and was released on bail provided he agreed to cease preaching.

     Several leading newspapers, such as the Mail on Sunday, have criticised the heavy-handed response of the Cumbrian police, as well as the emergence of a society that has banned freedom of speech.

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