Preserve Free Speech
A copy of my letter to my representative on the City Council:
I read in the Manchester Evening News that the city council is planning to curb the rights of street preachers around Piccadilly Gardens.
The article states:
“City centre Inspector Phil Spurgeon said GMP would work with the council to see what more can be done, adding: “We will always look at complaints, particularly if they are about race, religion or gender, but our experience has been that most of the activity has been within the boundaries of freedom of expression.””
Street preachers have always been hated as they preach a message that people have never liked to hear. The very first Christian martyr was killed because the message he was preaching offended the crowd so much that they stoned him to death.
It was not uncommon for John Wesley to be met with a hail of stones and other assorted missiles when he preached on the streets of this country’s town and cities.
Few of the street preachers in Manchester City Centre actually attract a crowd. Many of the complaints levelled against them come from passers by who rarely stop to listen but complain because they believe that they heard the preacher say something but didn’t actually hear what was said in the context of what the preacher was actually saying.
Other times a preacher will be reading various passages from the Bible which people are offended by.
I remember Sir Ian McKellan boasting about defacing Bibles because of verses contained in them that he personally found offensive.
Then there are people who make false accusations against street preachers simply because they hate Christianity and Christians full stop.
I have never heard a street preacher in this country ever use foul language as was alleged to have been said by one street preacher in the MEN article. I have, on the other hand, seen preachers abused, taunted, sworn at, threatened, even assaulted and sexually abused. Most preachers simply accept this kind of reaction as part of the “job description” and will turn the other cheek.
Do people like to be told that certain aspects of their lifestyles are considered sinful? Of course they don’t! However no Street Preacher would ever shy away from declaring that those particular forms of human behaviour the Bible declares to be a sin are such. For example a preacher may read from Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians chapter 6 where it states:
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
(1 Corinthians 6 vs 9-10 King James Bible)
However he, or she, may read from one of the later translations of the Bible which will render these verses in modern English:
Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (New International Version)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (New King James Version)
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. (Revised Standard Version)
It is certain that people take exception with what is written. Some people feel offended, after all many people enjoy getting drunk and engaging in sexual relations with multiple partners. Yet noone can deny that drunken behaviour is extremely antisocial behaviour, and the instances of STD’s are an ever growing problem.
People in the LGBT community do take exception to the Bible’s teachings concerning sexual practices. Some view the very scriptures quoted above as “Hate Speech” even “Homophobic” and reading these verses in public as intimidating. Is the Council going to ban the Bible because it contains such language? Certainly some people would like to have the Bible banned! I don’t know if you are one of them?
One thing I do believe is unbelievable is that the council would allow a “Cannabis Festival” to go ahead in Platt Fields Park this Sunday:
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