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English Cafe Told to Stop Displaying Bible Verses.

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.



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5 Responses to “English Cafe Told to Stop Displaying Bible Verses.”

  1. Plutodog says:

    So this British Constabulary tried it before and got shot down in court and now they’ve tried it again and likely will get it again?

    And somebody wants to do the same thing in America and might succeed? I dunno, Aafterwit. We have a different Constitution/BOR/laws than they do.

    Clearly, the “offending” text wasn’t about salt and light but regardless it was being played in a private business by a private owner. We get to do that here absolutely.

    It’s when we want to do it in the public square using the public dime where it can get a little iffy.

  2. AAfterwit says:

    Plutodog,

    The owner of the cafe was not told what verses were “offensive,” but he believes that Romans 1: 24-26 may be one of the passages:

    24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    That being said, we do acknowledge we have different laws that should allow what the man was doing on private property but within the public arena.

    OF course that doesn’t explain the man who was cited by a NJ town for a cross on his own, private, (non-HOA) lawn:

    Officials Order Home Owner to Take Down Yard Cross

    Or a kid who was suspended from school for saying homosexuality is wrong:

    High School Punishes Student for Saying Homosexuality is Wrong

    A teacher suspended:

    Fla. Teacher Suspended for Posting Anti-Gay Marriage Views on Facebook

    We are seeing attacks on freedom of speech and religion within this country daily.

    We also have laws that are being proposed against “hate speech” which cannot be defined, but yet state and local governments try to do so.

    Simply because someone is “offended” does not mean they have the right to shut the speaker down.

  3. Plutodog says:

    OK, Aafterwit, I agree that the attacks come across the land and we become aware of it much more easily than in past days of no internet. That’s long been the case across the land from what I know of history. But in the first two cases above, as is happily generally the case, when the attacks are fought in public opinion and court, they get beaten back.

    As to the third case, regarding a teacher, that’s a little trickier area in that public school teachers are held to a different standard and part of that is often in their employment agreements. But I wonder if you’d be so concerned if it were a pagan or a Wiccan who was suspended or fired for being what they are and their free speech or expression became known to the students?

    Because that happens too, as you can see at any of the links of the below Google search.

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Pagan+teacher+fired&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

    Either case bothers me but I’m pretty much okay with expressions of faith that are on curricula topic and don’t extend into proselytizing.

    As far as the expressions of personal belief against gays and gay marriage, what bothers me is what this kind of expression of faith in the culture of religious and just plain juvenile bullying can do to kids who happen to be gay. Suicide is a huge problem in this segment of our fellow citizens, and I admit that bothers me a lot more than a teacher who felt the need to express his physical illness on a webpage that he had to know was viewed not just by friends, but by students and parents of his school.

    Sometimes discretion is a character trait that is given too little credit.

    At any rate, bottom line is not that attacks occur because they can and do. It’s whether it’s legal under the Constitution and whether there is redress reasonably available. Often it is. But our history from early on is also rife with cases where it apparently wasn’t. Yet the Nation has survived and thrived. Let’s not get too panicky here.

  4. AAfterwit says:

    Plutodog,

    The attacks often get beaten back at a cost to the person – both monetarily and personally. I am not okay with the idea that because “it turned out okay, it was not that big of a deal to begin with.”

    As for the teacher that was fired over comments she made on Facebook, I don’t believe that a person gives up all of their rights when they walk into a public building or when they are employed by the government. In essence, the teacher was told you cannot hold your beliefs outside of the school or your workplace.

    That is indefensible.

    As for the links on pagans and witches being fired, I went through the first two pages and was amazed at how often the headline did was not supported by the text. Even so, you haven’t seen any posts on here that will condemn anyone for holding a belief and getting fired for it. We may disagree with the belief, but still will hold that a person’s rights do not end at the door of a government building.

    As for being panicky, the idea that the internet brings these events to light quicker works both ways as legal guidance for schools is available faster and easier as well. The Department of Education has a section on what is permissible in schools and yet we see violations of those guidelines all the time. Kids are being told they cannot pray at lunch. Kids are told they can’t read a book of faith on their own time.

    Why is it that the people have to show the so called “experts” their actions are wrong?

    It may not be time to panic, but if a teacher or administration cannot understand the basic rights afforded to all people, how can we expect them to be adequately prepared to teach any course or curriculum?

  5. Plutodog says:

    Naw, I’m not saying it’s no big deal, I’m saying it happened, it’s happening and it will happen even here in the Land of the Free. It’s the human condition. The good thing about being here in the USA is that in many cases we have recourse. Not always (again the human condition). Life ain’t always fair, unfortunately, anywhere on earth. The scariest thing to me is the possibility of innocent people being executed by the state. Which I’m sure happens.

    Worst part, guilty or not, we’re all going to die at some point. No fair at all! That’s life.

    I didn’t even bother reading all the links I provided. I just know there are plenty out there and a quick google will bring them rolling in. I’ve read many such stories about all sorts of people.

    And yeah, the legal rights info is available if one doesn’t knee-jerk like authority figures tend to do. There is also legal counsel available to them. But then they wouldn’t be knee-jerking authority figures if they didn’t do this kind of stuff, being sure they are right and that there are set in stone good reasons for their “putting their foot down”. “It had to be done or we’d have had a disaster.”

    We can and should push back of course — rationally, and proportionately, realizing we’ll have to do it again from time to time.

    Bottom line, it’s nothing new that we gotta continue defending our freedoms in the courts and out. And sometimes there’s even a season for bloodshed in that cause. But it’s not nearly as often as some might think. It’s easy to lose perspective and that’s not generally going to be helpful. If we over-do the sky is falling outrage, we start losing touch with reality and sow so much cynicism in society that we make things worse and lose balance as a people, forget the value in compromise, seeing the other feller’s perspective, understand that we’re not always right, and that we need to work some things out for the common good even whilst it seems like craven caving in to WRONG! Freedom, not license. Freedom tempered by discretion. Balance. The sky doesn’t fall very often.

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