UK police force man not to display Bible DVDs in his cafe

From UK Daily Mail. (H/T Adina via Mary)

Excerpt:

The Salt and Light cafe in Blackpool has for years repeatedly played the entire 26-hour-long Watchword Bible, a 15-DVD set produced in America in which a narrator reads the whole of the New Testament, on a small flatscreen TV on the back wall.

The sound is turned down but the words flash on to the screen against a series of images.

[…]Mr Murray said the two uniformed officers from Lancashire Constabulary arrived at lunchtime on Monday, the cafe’s busiest time of day. WPC June Dorrian, the community beat manager, told him there had been a complaint and he was breaching the Public Order Act 1986.

Mr Murray said: ‘I told them that all that appeared on the screen were the words of the New Testament. There is no sound, just the words on the screen and simple images in the background of sheep grazing or candles burning. I thought there might be some mix-up but they said they were here to explain the law to me and how I had broken it.

‘I said, “Are you really telling me that I am facing arrest for playing the Bible?” and the WPC fixed me with a stare and said, “If you broadcast material that causes offence under the Public Order Act then we will have to take matters further. You cannot break the law.” ’

Mr Murray, who worked in a homeless shelter for five years before taking over the cafe three months ago, said he realised the only way to appease the police was to pull the plug on the Bible.

‘I was worried about being handcuffed and led out of the shop in front of my customers. It wouldn’t have looked good so I thought it was better to comply. It felt like a betrayal. They left the shop and told me they would continue to monitor if we were displaying inflammatory material. At no stage had they spoken to me like I was a law-abiding citizen trying to earn a living. I felt like a criminal.’

[…]Lancashire Police said they had received a complaint on Saturday afternoon from a female customer who was ‘deeply offended’ by the words she had seen on the screen.

A spokesman said they were ‘duty bound’ to respond to the complaint and had concluded the cafe could be in breach of Section 29E of the Public Order Act, which warns that people who play images or sounds that stir up hatred against homosexuals could be guilty of an offence.

However, it also says criticism of sexual conduct ‘shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred’.

I think that if I went in to most Christian churches today and asked them whether Christianity was more about telling people the truth or about making people feel good, that they would think it was the latter.In fact, I can believe that the woman who complained was probably a straight Christians who had simply reinterpreted Christianity to mean “the voice of God speaking in my head” or “my emotions and intuitions”. I have seen many Christian women deny offensive Bible verses, deny Hell, and deny other passages, and yet still claim to be Christians. We aren’t doing a good enough job of separating out the moral claims of the Bible and setting them against our emotions, intuitions and feelings. And I think the reason why this happens is because the church presents the Bible in a feminized way – Christianity as personal preference, Christianity as life enhancement. Instead of presenting the words of the Bible, and then the evidence from outside the Bible. E.g. – the words against same-sex marriage, then the evidence against same-sex marriage. The words against abortion, then the evidence against abortion. The words for capital punishment and then the evidence for capital punishment.

How about showing this instead:

Or this?

Those should be real winners in the UK, because the bad guys are both British.

Sometimes, I think that Christians have their heads so stuck in Christian culture that they are unaware of how to present Christianity to non-Christians. Throwing Bible verses in someone’s face is not the right way to go. Instead of showing Bible verses, the cafe owner should switch to showing debates about God’s existence, the resurrection, the reliability of the Bible, abortion, and same-sex marriage. That would be more practical, and would be less inflammatory that Romans 1, since it concentrates on claims of fact and evidence.

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