Jamie Murray is the owner of the Salt & Light Cafe in Blackpool, England. The name of the cafe comes from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, chapters 5 – 7. Chapter 5, verses 13 – 16 read:
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
As part of the decor in his cafe, Murray displayed a DVD of Bible verses being read. The text of the verses appeared on the screen but the sound was turned down.
For this, Murray received a visit from the local constabulary.
[Murray] says the officers told him that displaying offensive or insulting words is a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act, and told him to stop displaying the Bible.
Mr Murray said: “I couldn’t believe the police were saying I can’t display the Bible. The officers were not very polite, in fact they were quite aggressive. It felt like an interrogation.
“I said ‘surely it isn’t a crime to show the Bible?’ But they said they had checked with their sergeant and insulting words are a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act. I was shocked.
“I’m not here to insult or offend anyone, but the Bible is the Bible. We’re always being told that we’re a tolerant and diverse nation. Yet the very thing that gave us those values – Christianity – is being sidelined.
Murray told the police he would initially stop displaying the video until he had spoken with an attorney. He sought out the help of the Christian Institute.
The Christian Institute, which is supporting Mr Murray, said its lawyers had told him he is free to display the Bible in any way he chooses, and they are preparing a complaint against the police. The Institute’s spokesman Mike Judge said: ‘I have no problem with the police looking into a complaint, but once they realised it was just the words of the Bible being shown on the screen then they should have walked away.
‘They did not even look at the offending DVD. They simply told Mr Murray that he had to stop showing the Bible and warned him that they would continue to monitor what he was doing. This is intimidatory and completely unacceptable.
The police were responding to a complaint made by a woman who apparently found certain passages in the New Testament “offensive.”
Lancashire Police said they had received a complaint on Saturday afternoon from a female customer who was ‘deeply offended’ by the words she had seen on the screen.
A spokesman said they were ‘duty bound’ to respond to the complaint and had concluded the cafe could be in breach of Section 29E of the Public Order Act, which warns that people who play images or sounds that stir up hatred against homosexuals could be guilty of an offence.
However, it also says criticism of sexual conduct ‘shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred’.
To further add to the stupidity of this,….
In 2005 the same force, Lancashire Constabulary, paid out £10,000 compensation to Joe and Helen Roberts, an elderly Christian couple who had been investigated by the police for telling their council that they didn’t agree with homosexuality.
Mike Judge added: “I’d have thought Lancashire Constabulary would have learned their lesson after paying out £10,000 to a pair of Christian pensioners who they had interrogated over their views on gay rights.
This is the type of “tolerance” we see now. It is tolerance only for views with which a person agrees. Every dissenting opinion is racist, homophobic, or “offensive.”
The scary thing is that laws such as the one Murray is dealing with are being introduced into America. We have to vigorously defend the First Amendment and fight to maintain our rights of religion and speech – even if that speech “offends” someone.