Street preacher charged for spouting against gays

A Christian street preacher was arrested for allegedly saying that homosexuality is a "sin" that goes against God. Dale McAlpine, 42, was arrested in Workington, Cumbria, on April 20th. He had been standing on a stepladder delivering a sermon.

Mr McAlpine says he did not mention homosexuality as a sin while delivering his sermon but mentioned it quietly to a woman who approached him to challenge his views. Police say he made the remark loud enough to have been overheard by members of the public and charged him with using abusive or insulting language, contrary to the Public Order Act. He was also held in a cell for seven hours.

Mr McAlpine says he listed homosexuality along with blasphemy, fornication, adultery and drunkenness when the woman engaged him in conversation. As she walked away, a Police Community Support Office (PCSO) who had been watching Mr McAlpine approached him to warn he would be arrested if he said anything racist or homophobic.

Mr McAlpine admits telling the PCSO, who identified himself as an LGBT liaison officer, that homosexuality is a sin. He was then arrested. He said he told the officer: “I am not homophobic but sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the creator." He is pleading not guilty to breaching the Public Order Act and has been released on bail.

Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, said: “This was a ridiculously over-the-top reaction to someone exercising their right to freedom of speech. Mr McAlpine has as much right to criticise homosexuals as I should have to call him a crank. This kind of hypersensitivity to offence is wrong whether it comes from Christians or gay people. So long as no incitement to violence is involved and so long as non-violent response is permitted there should be no restriction on free debate. We think that Mr McAlpine should be cleared of these ridiculous charges.”