UK Prosecutors Admit Wrong in Calling Bible ‘Offensive’

UK Prosecutors Admit Wrong in Calling Bible ‘Offensive’

Prosecutors in the United Kingdom have admitted it was “inappropriate” for them to argue in a case against a Christian street preacher that some parts of the Bible are “simply no longer appropriate in modern society” and “would be deemed offensive if stated in public.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CLS), the principal public agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales, made the statement in relation to a case against John Dunn, a 55-year-old cancer survivor from Swindon who was arrested in November 2020 for alleged “homophobia” after preaching on Swindon High Street.

On Nov. 1, 2020, Dunn, who preaches regularly despite having lost his voice box, was preaching in Swindon town centre when two women walked past him holding hands. He told them, “I hope you are sisters,” and when they responded that they were in a same-sex marriage, Dunn quoted 1 Corinthians 6 and added: “It says in the Bible that homosexuals will not inherit the Kingdom of God.”

The women reported Dunn to the police, and allegedly claimed that he shouted to them that they “will burn in hell.” Dunn has denied that claim. 

Dunn, a former member of the British Army’s Special Forces, voluntarily attended a police station interview. At the station, he was told that if he tried to leave, he would be arrested, according to a Christian Concern press release. He was then charged under Section 5 of the Public Order Act.

The Crown Prosecution Service alleged he was guilty of hate speech because he had “offended” and “upset” a member of the public. According to Dunn’s legal representative the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), however, to be charged with a hate speech crime, Dunn would have had to use “threatening or abusive words or behavior, or disorderly behavior.”

The case against Dunn was thrown out last month after the two female complainants reportedly “refused to engage with the case” after making the initial allegations, CLC said earlier.

Last week, Baroness Hoey, a non-affiliate parliamentarian, asked the House of Lords “what assessment they have made of the written statement by the Crown Prosecution. 

Lord Stewart, who is a member of the Conservative Party as well as the advocate general for Scotland, replied that the Wessex Area CPS has “undertaken a post-case review and acknowledges that the statement was inappropriate.” 

“[T]he statement was not intended to and does not represent a change to published CPS Policy. It is not indicative of a general approach by the CPS to cases involving the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to freedom of expression,” Lord Stewart stated. “In the future … in cases where there is scope for argument to arise as to rights such as that of freedom of expression, such arguments will be submitted to the Senior District Crown Prosecutor for signing off, prior to service.”

Responding to the news, Dunn said: “I am pleased that the government has recognized that the arguments made against me by the CPS were wrong. I faced the prospect of criminal conviction for over two years on these grounds. I hope what has happened will protect other Christians who find themselves unfairly on the wrong side of the law for speaking Biblical truth.”

Dunn often refers to Genesis 1 while preaching to state that human beings are made in God’s image, male and female, and that marriage between one man and one woman is God’s purpose and pattern for the good of society.

He preaches despite having lost his voice box following throat cancer.

“Before I became a Christian, I hated people, I served with the Special Forces and I made it my mission to learn how to best kill people, that was my job,” Dunn said in an earlier statement.

“But when I met Jesus Christ, He changed my heart, took away my hatred and filled it with love. Jesus was the answer for me, and I believe the world needs to know and experience this hope. That is why I do what I do, to help everyone to find the light of Jesus out of the darkness we all live in.”

Photo: Christian Concern

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