Prayer for Religious Freedom
Loving Father, thank you for the gift of life and for the freedom to love and worship You. Through the power of the Holy Spirit inspire us to be your witnesses. Grant us the courage to boldly and joyfully stand in protection of our freedom. In your mercy, guard our religious freedom so we may continue to live out our faith and transform the world in which we live. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Street preacher accuses Met Police of over-reacting after '14' officers move him on
A street preacher has complained of police heavy-handedness after 14 police officers turned up at once to speak to him about his preaching.
Pastor Peter Simpson, the minister of Penn Free Methodist Church in Buckinghamshire was preaching in Uxbridge in West London in August when the officers approached him.
In a statement to Premier, the Met Police has confirmed that officers received complaints that a man was using homophobic language and had given words of advice to him.
Pastor Simpson denies using homophobic language and tells Premier that he was preaching along with two other church helpers.
"We set up just outside Uxbridge Underground and I started preaching a straightforward Gospel message - 'All who have sinned and come short of the glory of God, need salvation'. I moved on to the state of the nation, how much the nation's turned against God. But this was just a very brief reference. I spoke about how immoral and how wicked abortion is.
"And in just a single sentence, I said: 'We've also redefined marriage, contrary to God's law, it can only be between one man and one woman.' That is all I said, I didn't mention homosexuals or anything like that. Just said' marriage between one man and one woman.'
"Within 15 minutes of preaching, two police officers turned up and said 'we've had multiple complaints.' How you can receive multiple complaints in 15 minutes? I'm not sure. No one passing-by complained. The people who apparently rang in and complained certainly didn't speak to me and I never saw the people who complained."
Pastor Simpson says the police asked him to leave the area.
"I was obviously quite flabbergasted. I mean, we go there regularly. We've been doing it for about three years. Within a few minutes of the two police officers coming up, another 12 police officers arrived on the scene.
"Because of the 14 police officers dealing with one preacher - one presumably dangerous preacher, a crowd began to form and they started to disperse us as if there was a public order crisis - there was no such thing.
When asked by Premier, Pastor Simpson categorically denied using offensive language.
"Hand on heart, I did not remotely say anything homophobic. I actually think the word homophobic is an artificial construct anyway to shut down debate. I mean, you know, to say homosexuality is a sin, as the Bible teaches, does not mean you hate anybody, or that you wish harm to anybody, it's simply a statement of biblical morality. But no, I didn't say anything, I just referred to the nature of marriage."
In a statement to Premier, a Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "Officers had received complaints that a man preaching at the location was using homophobic language.
"Officers attended, spoke to the man and gave words of advice.
"No arrests were made."