Police Investigate Leaflet Advertising Church’s Easter Services

Country: United Kingdom
Category: Government Restrictions
Attack against: Morals
Area of case: Governmental
Tags: Freedom of Religion | Freedom of Expression

June 22, 2007: Church worker Julian Hurst, was handing out invitations for his church's Easter service. Police seized the literature after complaint by homosexual man that church should not be allowed to advertise.

On 22 June 2007 church worker Julian Hurst was handing out leaflets to the public in Manchester, inviting people to Easter services. The leaflet featured a picture of a daffodil and said, “New Life, Fresh Hope”. A homosexual man complained to the police that he was offended, so officers took copies away for examination.

The next day Mr. Hurst was visited in his home by a PC from the Race and Hate Crime Unit. Two mounted policemen stopped him and seized the literature. They were joined very shortly afterwards by three police officers in full body armour who sprang out of a police van and surprised him. They said that they had received a complaint that the literature was offensive and homophobic so he had to stop distributing it.

Having read the leaflets they then got back in touch with the complainant explaining that the literature did not say anything about homosexuality. Whereupon he changed his complaint to saying he thought it was offensive for an evangelical church to be allowed to advertise itself in an area with a sizeable gay community.

The officer confirmed that the leaflet was inoffensive and that Mr. Hurst was within his rights to distribute it on public streets. But the case illustrates that police feel duty bound to investigate any complaint made by a homosexual – no matter how spurious. Removing the opportunity for officers to use their common sense wastes police time, creates an incentive for complainants and generates a censorial atmosphere for legitimate Christian activity.

Source: "Marginalising Christians, Instances of Christians being sidelined in modern Britain" p.37 Copyright © The Christian Institute 2009 ISBN 978-1-901086-46-1

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