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Rev Jules Gomes and Ken MacIntosh: Quoting the Bible can land you in court


Catch them if you can is a now a popular blood sport in Pakistan. The hunters on the prowl are fanatical fundamentalist Muslims. The prey they are tracking, trapping and devouring are the few feeble Christians who constitute a minority of Pakistan’s population. The bait is blasphemy.

Last month, police arrested Shahbaz Babu, who has been evangelising for the past 15 years, for blasphemy. His huntsmen accused Pastor Babu of writing his name on the pages of a Koran. They have no eyewitnesses to prove it. Babu is illiterate and cannot write. But that doesn’t matter. The rules of the hunt are the rules of Islamic Shariah law.

Shahbaz Babu, like Aasia Bibi and over 100 Pakistani Christians a year, are tracked, trapped and hunted down by the bait of blasphemy. Aasia Bibi has been sentenced to death. Her father was killed for criticising her conviction. The social justice warriors of the West are doing nothing. Oops, sorry! They are doing something.

They have imported the blood sport from Pakistan and are adapting it to their own hunting grounds. Catch them if you can is a now a popular blood sport in Scotland and other parts of Britain. The hunters on the prowl are fanatical bigoted homosexuals. The prey they are tracking, trapping and devouring are the few feeble Christians who constitute a minority of Britain’s population. The bait is hate speech.

This month, police in Ayrshire arrested Gordon Larmour, who has been street preaching for the past seven years. His huntsmen accused Pastor Larmour of telling the story of Adam and Eve to a 19-year-old who asked him about God’s views on homosexuality. Larmour referred to the Book of Genesis and stated that God created Adam and Eve to produce children.

Suddenly he found himself frogmarched to a police van, accused of threatening behaviour “aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation” and thrown into jail for the night. Mr Larmour did not even initiate a conversation about homosexuality. He was handing out gospel tracts when the hunter trapped him by dangling the bait and asking, ‘What does your God say about homosexuals?’ Larmour quoted from what used to be Scotland’s best known and most loved literary text—the Bible. But that doesn’t matter. The rules of the hunt are the rules of LGBT neo-fascism.

That Larmour ended up in the cells overnight for expressing beliefs (through the recitation of Biblical passages) that had been solicited by his accusers, informs us that, more than being an attack on free-speech, this was an attack on Christianity and, indeed, on ‘free thought.’ The hunters wanted to drag Larmour’s Christian spiritual world from out of him and stamp on it. That the law has now been co-opted into this hunt is frightening.

Had Mr Larmour proactively screamed ‘burn in hell!’ at the men, as they passed by, then this would have been harassment, an offence under the 2010 Equality Act. Crucially, however, Section 26 of that Act states that, “A person (A) harasses another (B) if … A engages in unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic.” In the case of Mr Larmour, ‘A’ did not engage in “unwanted conduct.” ‘A’ was responding to a request by ‘B’.

To get around this lack of pro-activity on the part of Mr Larmour, the Procurator Fiscal, seemingly keen to join the hunt, had to deploy the pathetic Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) (Scotland) Act 2009. Section 2 of this Act states that an: “offence is aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation [if]the offender evinces towards the victim (if any) of the offence malice and ill-will relating to…the sexual orientation of the victim [our bold].” So, the victim doesn’t necessarily have to be a victim. Go figure.

The Act also stipulates that, “It is immaterial whether or not the offender’s malice and ill-will is also based (to any extent) on any other factor.” So, no mitigating circumstances can exist (nicely circumventing the fact that Mr Larmour had been encouraged by the ‘victim’ to make his statement). And no corroboration is required, the Act stating that, “Evidence from a single source is sufficient.”

So much for ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ or even the ancient Israelite legislation from the book of Deuteronomy stipulating that ‘a single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established.’ The Deuteronomic legislation clearly saw the possibility of a ‘malicious witness’ as it goes on to describe in the context of this law.

No wonder the authorities thought that they had a chance of nailing Larmour with such legislation in place. The fact that this law passed through all of its readings in the Scottish Parliament without a single amendment being tabled surely speaks of the tyranny of the ‘progressive agenda’ and its affinity with Islamic Shariah law.

That Scottish police acted as such willing participants in the whole sorry affair is perhaps explained by their own advice on ‘hate incidents’: “A hate incident is… something which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by hate or prejudice.” So we don’t need ‘intent’ for hate to occur, just perception. Hate can occur without any actual hate.

Thankfully Larmour was to be found not guilty, although the fact that this was primarily due to witnesses contradicting each other is hardly a cause for celebration. Here, in Scotland, the expression of ‘problematic’ Christian doctrine has now flirted with illegality.

Potentially, it could fall foul of a law that does not require victims, pro-activity or corroboration, and which does not recognise mitigating circumstance. But Scotland is not unique. In Bristol, preacher Mike Overd was fined for quoting from the book of Leviticus, which calls homosexuality an “abomination.” In London, American evangelist Tony Miano was charged with “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult” after he quoted from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2—a passage from St Paul’s letter talking about sexual immorality.

Catch them if you can is gaining popularity as a blood sport in Britain. The hunt is most definitely on.

(Image: honorbound)

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Rev Jules Gomes and Ken MacIntosh
Rev Jules Gomes and Ken MacIntosh
The Rev'd Dr Jules Gomes is pastor of St Augustine's Church, Douglas, on the Isle of Man and Ken MacIntosh is an NHS psychiatric nurse.

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