British Street Preachers under Pressure after New Legislation Passed

Country: United Kingdom

Date of incident: November 30, 1999

More and more Evangelists in the UK, who preach on public streets are being prosecuted or are facing allegations due to the opinions they expressed. Due to the insecurity to know what can be or not be said, street preachers, but also comedians, secularists and LGTBT activists "came together (in 2013) against the criminalisation of “insulting” words or behaviour under the same Public Order Act. Referencing decisions by the European Court of Human Rights, they argued that freedom of speech did not only apply to information or ideas favourably received but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population. And they were successful. The removal of “insulting” from section 5 of the Public Order Act was heralded as a great victory which would prevent street preachers, comedians and peaceful protesters from facing unlawful arrest and legal uncertainty". 

More and more Evangelists who preach on the streets are beeing prosecuted or facing allegations due to their teachings (based on the Biblical teaches) that obvioulsy are not to everyone's taste. In the different cases reported during 2021 none of the street preachers was inciting violence, glorificating terrorism or communicating in a threatening and abusive way. As the author of this article reflects "to be threatening or abusive goes against the ethos of the gospel itself, so Christians (...) shouldn’t have a problem". 



 Symbolic Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels