The UK Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped hate crime charges against a Christian street preacher just as its prosecutors were about to argue that parts of the Bible are “no longer appropriate in modern society”.
In a document supplied to John Dunn’s lawyers they said prosecuting him was necessary because of “references in the Bible which would be deemed offensive if stated in public.”
They accused the British army veteran and throat cancer survivor of ‘hate speech’.
Two women complained after Mr. Dunn commented that he hoped they were sisters when they walked passed him while holding hands.
When they told him they were in a relationship, he quoted from the Scriptures that they would not inherit the Kingdom of God.
He denied accusations of yelling at the women because he can only speak through an artificial voice box.
The prosecutors were forced to drop all charges when the complainants refused to give evidence or even engage with the case.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre which represented Mr. Dunn, said the approach of the CPS to the case and the Bible in general was “deeply concerning”.
She proclaimed: “It is extraordinary that the prosecution, speaking on behalf of the state, could say that the Bible contains abusive words which, when spoken in public, constitute a criminal offence.”
“The view from the CPS was that the Bible is offensive and contains illegal speech which should not be shared in public”.
“‘Offence’ is an entirely subjective concept and is easily manipulated to shut down viewpoints that people simply don’t like.”
“Any suggestion that there is a right not to be offended must be strongly resisted. In today’s democracy, we need the freedom to debate, challenge and disagree.”
Ms. Williams added that: “The Bible and its teachings are the foundation of our society and have provided many of the freedoms and protections that we still enjoy today.
The Christian Post reports Christian theologian Martin Parsons who serves as an expert witness in the UK court system testifying on the persecution of Christians, provided expert evidence in response to the prosecution’s argument. He said the Bible has been read on the streets of England since the early 16th century.
“Public reading of the Bible was actually the first aspects of freedom of religion to be developed in England after the Reformation,” Mr. Parsons said, citing how the King James Bible played a specific role in coronation services.
A spokesperson for the CPS said: “It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments of the evidence to put our case before the court.“
Mr. Dunn said he was “relieved and grateful” that the case against him has been dropped.
He said that his intention was only to declare God’s truth out of love and compassion for people passing by and listening.
He now plans to return to street preaching in the city of Swindon.