London court acquits preacher of hate speech charges over sermon on biblical marriage

(Photo: Reuters / Christian Hartmann)Opponents of the same-sex marriage demonstrate against the government's draft law to legalise marriage and adoption for same-sex couples in Paris, November 18, 2012. France's Socialist government approved a draft law to allow same-sex marriage, saying the reform, under fire from religious leaders and conservative politicians, meant progress for the whole society. The law would grant gay couples the right to adopt children but not to use assisted procreation methods such as artificial insemination. Placards read, "The Family is Sacred" (L) and "No to Homosexual marriages".

A court in Uxbridge, in the British capital, has acquitted Pastor John Sherwood who was arrested in London last April "hate speech" charges for his preaching a public message on biblical marriage and described by one of his backers as a "victory for free speech."

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The website Conservative Woman, reported that Pastor John Sherwood of the Penn Free Methodist Church of Penn, England, was acquitted of the charges by the Uxbridge Magistrates' Court on April 7.

"The trial of open-air preacher Pastor John Sherwood took place at Uxbridge magistrates' court last week, and he was acquitted of the public order charges brought against him," reported Conservative Woman.

"This represents some welcome relief in the assault upon Christian liberties in contemporary Britain."

On April 23 last year, Pastor Sherwood was arrested in the centre of Uxbridge in West London as he engaged in public preaching with this writer. He was held overnight, and for a total of 21 hours.

"The TCW article was crucial in drawing attention to the outrageous injustice of the arrest." saiid The Conseravitve Women, which says it is "a counter-cultural offensive against the forces of Leftism, feminism and modernism."

TCW says it is "against the left-liberal cultural zeitgeist, to counter its anti-family, authoritarian identity politics and 'equality and diversity' ideology which had swept through the country's institutions." .

Sherwood had been speaking on The Bible's Book of Genesis chapter 1, verses 27 and 28, which read: 'So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply.'


The minister explained that the family unit as ordained by God consists of a father and a mother, and not two fathers or two mothers, who are obviously unable to reproduce.

His words were delivered as part of a general presentation of the Christian message, said Conservative Women. The message declares that all people, whoever they are, have sinned and need to come to Jesus Christ for salvation.

Some people passing by the pastor's sermon complained to the police about alleged homophobic hate speech, and the 72-year-old pastor was arrested under section 5 of the Public Order Act for using "threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress."

Nearly a year later, on April 7, the trial took place.

Christins showed their support in the gallery "a man of God who is willing to stand up for the truths of Scripture in the public realm, despite the prevailing anti-Christian spirit of the age."

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