Monday, November 11, 2013

Theresa May seeks to outlaw Christian street preachers


This Government is fast becoming the most authoritarian threat to our liberties of the modern era. Not content with reintroducing state regulation of the press, the Home Secretary Theresa May is intent on outlawing anything that people may find 'annoying'.

The judicious John Bingham writes in the Telegraph:
Christian preachers, buskers and peaceful protesters could effectively be driven off the streets under draconian new powers designed to clamp on anyone deemed “annoying”, according to a former Director of Public Prosecutions.

Lord Macdonald QC said Theresa May, the Home Secretary’s plans for a new civil injunctions to replace Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) amount to “gross state interference” with people’s private lives and basic freedoms.

In a formal legal opinion being circulated to peers, he savages the proposals as opening the way for the outright “suppression” of anything deemed “potentially annoying” with only “vague” justification.

The proposed safeguards to prevent abuse of the new system are “shockingly” weak, he writes.

Under proposals currently before Parliament, Asbos are to be scrapped and replaced with wide-ranging new orders known as Ipnas (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance).
How is this statutory proposal to be balanced with the freedom of speech and the freedom of expression? What of the freedom to preach the Gospel?

Christians are called to proclaim the Good News. Whether it be from a pulpit, on television or walking up and down Oxford Street with a sandwich board, such proclamation ought to be tolerated in the public sphere in a free society.

While some might preach the wonders of heaven, the Way of Salvation and the boundless love of Jesus, others choose to focus on sin and damnation. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but those who focus on the latter are certainly annoying.

In 1999 Lord Justice Sedley championed the rights of people to express such views, and quoted Socrates and two famous Quakers in doing so. There is no breach of the peace if what is uttered is merely offensive. He said: “Free speech includes not only the offensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and the provocative, providing it does not tend to provoke violence.”

Theresa May is trying to outlaw His Grace. 

The world has seen too many examples of state control and censorship of unofficial utterances. Some may well find this blog offensive, irritating, contentious, eccentric, heretical, unwelcome and provocative, but it is His Grace’s judgment that society is all the better for such expressions being permitted: freedom reigns while people are at liberty to spout their views.

His Grace draws the line at prejudice, irrational discrimination or incitement to violence. Or he used to, before Labour introduced the concept of ‘hate speech’. But now, it seems, any utterance which a minority group might find offensive is to be outlawed by the spawn of ASBO. The contentious, eccentric, heretical, unwelcome and provocative must give way to a state-enforced normative orthodoxy of denatured social harmony.

No, Home Secretary.

Think again, before you irritate His Grace overmuch and things get messy.

76 Comments:

Blogger David B said...

I've read about this proposed legislation elsewhere.

It is one of the issues where the NSS and Christian groups have united to lobby against this attack on freedom of speech.

I have remarked before that, for all the areas of disagreement, I have been surprised by the degree to which a conservative Christian like His Grace, and a liberal atheist like me can sometimes be in complete agreement.

No, Home Secretary.

David

11 November 2013 10:10  
Blogger Flossie said...

Actually, I find Teresa May's taste in coats very annoying indeed.

11 November 2013 10:14  
Blogger Martin said...

I find politicians & political canvassers very annoying indeed. And while we are about it, some people find the rare appearance of the police on the streets interferes with their free speech. Can we ban them from the streets please.

11 November 2013 10:27  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Now where did Ernst put his blog brick..
*Goes off in search of CCHQ online*.

11 November 2013 10:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

An important post, Your Grace. As the 800th anniversary of the signing of Magna Carta @ Runnymede draws ever closer it is probably time to draw up a list of catastrophic decisions made since 1945 by the democratically elected governments of the British State. One can begin the time-line at either end but sadly the results are pretty much the same.

Certainly the Cameron-Clegg government has exceeded expectations in terms of taking the United Kingdom into previously unthinkable and non-mandated fields of folly. In a perverse way there is a certain reassurance in Theresa May's ban on freedom of speech and Cameron's censorship of the free press. As a consequence of these repressive acts, an even greater percentage of the electorate will be looking for an alternative to the Cameron-Clegg junta. Not, of course, that Miliband is a viable alternative.

Two rays of hope pierce the gloom. Firstly the trial of M/s Brooks promises to be more than merely titillating. Secondly, if Cameron is subsequently discredited, there may yet be a revolt in the CP (the Conservative Party, not Common Purpose) and those members of the parliamentary party as yet uncontaminated by CP (Common Purpose) may defect to UKIP.

11 November 2013 10:40  
Blogger Roy said...

I will defend the right of DanJO and his friends to hold Gay Pride marches.

I hope we don't end up with a compromise proposal whereby only certain types of people are allowed to give offence and others are banned - a policy that already seems to be practised by the BBC.

11 November 2013 10:45  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

'I may disagree with you but I will defend until death your right to make a complete ass of yourself'

Oscar Wilde

11 November 2013 10:51  
Blogger David Anderson said...

The way of totalitarians is to make everything illegal under law, and then enforce the law selectively.

A few months ago, some policemen visited our open air preaching. Apparently a member of the public had phoned them, because they'd heard mention of hell. The member of the public, on that particular occasion, was lying to cause trouble. The policeman explained that mention of hell in any context might be considered intimidation, and (so they said) thus illegal.

Picture the scene: two police cars with burly police decked out in riot gear, coming into the town centre... to advise you that it might be illegal to say anything that could be construed as intimidating. Right....

11 November 2013 11:10  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Ok, so now that the National Secular Society is actively campaigning to have Christian churches banned from future Rememberance Day services, can we sue them for annoying us?

11 November 2013 11:26  
Blogger David B said...

Corrigan, I had restrained myself yesterday from commenting on the role of one particular sect of one particular religion hijacking over many decades the sacrifice of people from many religions and none.

As a matter of fact, I have just looked and do not see a campaign to bar churches from Remembrance Day on the NSS web site.

Perhaps it is an old report, but I don't see it in the recent posts in the NSS's Blogs and Opinions section either.

I do see links to reports in the Guardian and Independent of a call from one campaigner, who is a Director of the NSS for the CoE to lose its role in Remembrance Day, though I don't see links to any primary source there, though I suppose that there was one.

I quote from the Guardian report.

"Norman Bonney, emeritus professor of sociology at Edinburgh Napier University and a director of the National Secular Society, argues that the Cenotaph was deliberately conceived as a non-religious memorial and should be treated as such.

The Remembrance Sunday ceremony at the Whitehall monument is usually led by the bishop of London, who offers prayers for all those who have died in the service of their country.

In his paper, The Cenotaph: a contested and consensual symbol of remembrance, Bonney argues that the monument's designer, Edwin Lutyens, did not want it to have religious significance as he recognised that many of those killed fighting for the British empire in the first world war were not Christian but Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh.

He points out that David Lloyd George's cabinet rejected the Church of England's requests for the Cenotaph to include a cross and to bear Christian inscriptions. It is marked only with the words "The Glorious Dead" and dates commemorating both world wars, 1914-1918, and 1939-1945."

I won't quote more, to keep withing 'fair comment' guidelines on copyright, but people can easily find the whole thing in the papers concerned.

I find what Bonney is quoted as saying quite reasonable, in contrast to the quoted knee-jerk reactions from churches anxious to keep their unwarranted privilege.

Please try to keep your comments in some sort of accord with reality, else show a primary source confirming that the NSS is indeed campaigning for Christian churches to be banned from the service.

Whatever 'Christian churches' means in this context. Not the buildings, I suppose. Christians?

I don't think anyone would suggest that Christians, any more than Jews, Sikhs, Muslims or anyone else who recognises the suffering of the people who lost their lives in the wars.

Just that the remembrance itself should be for people of all faiths or none, rather than that the hijscking of the proceedings by the CoE continuing.

David

11 November 2013 12:01  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Sean Gabb, of the Libertarian Alliance, has thoughts on the state persecution of Christianity. This is from his paragraph immediately following the Aquinas quote:

‘The Bolsheviks knew exactly what they were doing when they hanged all those priests and dynamited those churches. Our own ruling class also knows what it is doing. The politically correct lovefeast it has been preparing for us throughout my life requires the absolute obedience of the governed—absolute obedience to commands that no fundamentalist Christian can regard as lawful. Therefore, the gathering attack on Christianity.’

11 November 2013 12:02  
Blogger IanCad said...

The rain has eased up and the remains of the day bodes productive.
Then I read HG's post and I am steaming!

Contempt, disgust, even hatred, toward those to whom we consign the stewardship of our liberties.

This spooky harridan must be hounded out of office - along with Hague.

Conservatives?! A short while ago this lot annointed themselves as censors of the press. Now they are fixing to redefine the limits of speech.

It is time for the Libertarian wing of the C.P. to rise.

How many are there? Fifty, sixty? That's plenty.

OK Mr Davis! Your time has come. If not the present; when?
Challenge the traitors now!
You may fail, but you will sleep at night.

I have to work on a steep and slippery roof. Must concentrate and be careful.
O Good! It's started to rain again.
I'll leave it until tomorrow.

11 November 2013 12:54  
Blogger David Hussell said...

An important post, Your Grace, as others have observed.

A high measure of agreement seems to be breaking out to preserve the right to say challenging things. This so called "liberal" Conservative/LibDem led Government is in fact becoming highly illiberal, trying to shut us all up. To that I say, Vote UKIP !

The C of E, respects all other denominations and faiths, but as they can't all simultaneously "lead" a service/ceremony/event, call it what you will, its acts as the "umbrella" faith. That seems to work for most people. In our main church yesterday there were may showing their debts to previous generations who had given their lives for freedom, who are usually never anywhere near the doors of any church or house of worship. But it works, as an accepted, well oiled formula for national mourning. How many priests/ shamans/ Imams/ Buddhist Monks/ Celebrants/ Pagans/ Atheists/ Rabbis or what have you (and I mean no disrespect al all to any) would you have "leading" an event. It would be chaos. But I have no objection to suitable representatives being present in prominent positions.

11 November 2013 12:56  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 November 2013 12:58  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

The LibLabCon parties ( which are just one identical party)have been pursuing a policy of stamping out free speech since 1997. Our media are controlled by queer extremists imposing censorship on everything. They choose and filter the TV news, they own or edit the major newspapers. Yet they feel threatened by a few street preachers. There have been several cases this year of such people being prosecuted for saying marriage is the union of a man to a woman.
I'm surprised to find anyone still able to comment on this at all. I thought this was Banjo's blog and used by him to tell us all about himself, and abuse and humiliate any contributor with the slightest sympathy for what "Cranmer" writes.
By the way, another thing you won't read in our "mainstream" media is that there has been another violent attack on a heterosexual by homo-extremists in France. A mayor was stabbed yesterday at the remembrance day ceremony. This is at least the fourth violent stabbing carried out by homo-extremists in France this year and the media silence is deafening.

11 November 2013 12:59  
Blogger Dave said...

This comes to mind

http://youtu.be/VYYlKvFxX7Q

11 November 2013 13:03  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

@ Roy. You write "I will defend the right of DanJO and his friends to hold Gay Pride marches."
Even if they actively campaign to silence other people, excluding all teachers, lawyers and politicians who will not follow their party line? While they harass and prosecute street preachers? While they monopolize the state-funded media and impose their viewpoint exclusively? While they parade their extreme views on buses and BAN any dissenting advertisements? While they frequently resort to violence to impose their demands? Four stabbings in France this year by LGBT terrorists.
And even when they force the tax-payer to pay for their obscene parades? Boris Johnson gave the last GP march in London £650,000 of tax money, and it cost £25,000 to clear up the dirt and litter afterwards.

11 November 2013 13:10  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Dave.
"This spooky harridan must be hounded out of office"
No need for sexist language. We are talking about a policy here, not whether women are suitable for high office. Which in fact they are.

11 November 2013 13:14  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

@ Dave
the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYYlKvFxX7Q&feature=youtu.be
of a sketch from Not the Nine o Clock News suggests that the police are to blame, but they don't make the policies. They are just carrying out the laws passed by stupid politicians dominated by extremist lobby groups.

11 November 2013 13:18  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Must say Julia, a while ago I thought the same – that Danjo and Cranmer were one and the same uncanny animal – as little else seems to explain Danjo's endless and tiresome and (from Cranmer at least) unchallenged ad hominem and self-pitying soliloquies, whereas a harmless old duffer like the Inspector is always getting thrashed by the Archbishop for his humorous postings.

Is the lunatic running the asylum?

11 November 2013 13:20  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Yep, makes you wonder doesn't it?

11 November 2013 13:23  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

*sigh*

11 November 2013 13:41  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance ... Yer Wha?

How truly dangerous is this
manifestation of the supreme folly of making legislation on the hoof!

Nuisance...?

Annoyance...?

Injunction? - now that at least will make the lawyers fat and happy.

How the hell is a person to know s/he is saying/doing something that may annoy a totally random stranger? Are we to end up with degrees of hurt feelings or degrees of irritation which will only be assuaged by and injection of cash?

Now I know where so called 'Political Correctness' is still being kept alive and manufactured long after Bolshevism has petered out: it has been adopted and embraced by the Conservative Party apparatchiks.

Unbelievable.

11 November 2013 14:16  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

As a matter of interest, it should be noted that the National Secular Society are as exercised over this amazingly authoritarian & dictatorial proposed measure as His Grace.

It is, quite obviously a deliberate attempt to silence any form of protest, argument or disagreement "on the street".

It must be stopped.

11 November 2013 14:18  
Blogger Owl said...

Julia,

It's called freedom of speech.

Even if it is annoying.

HG's whole point.

11 November 2013 14:22  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

David Hussell

The C of E, respects all other denominations and faiths, but as they can't all simultaneously "lead" a service/ceremony/event, call it what you will, its acts as the "umbrella" faith.

Thank you and Amen.

If it was in Edinburgh I would expect the Presbyterian Church to act as the "umbrella faith" and if it was in Cardiff, the Methodists. That's okay by me.

11 November 2013 14:33  
Blogger John Thomas said...

" ...The Cenotaph: a contested and consensual symbol of remembrance, Bonney argues that the monument's designer, Edwin Lutyens, did not want it to have religious significance ...". The problem with things that "may be available to all faiths/world-views, etc. is that they may have, or may bear, no meaning at all. A great architect, Lutyens, without a doubt, and the Cenotaph a brilliant work ... but ... meaning (as such)?

11 November 2013 14:40  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 November 2013 14:53  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace;
It is so important that you bring these issues to our attention and I thank you.
Theresa May looks in your picture like she has a space suit on but has just taken the helmet off. Is she from Venus or Mars?
Persecution is inevitable when Christians preach the gospel. We do however have a tradition in this country that the so called leaders of this country fail to recognize. As I looked at the senior Government members at the Cenotaph, I thought how fickle they looked.
There are more likely around a hundred Con. members who have integrity and believe in traditional values. God bless them and may they stand and be counted again to bring down this abomination of a government.

11 November 2013 14:54  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

The old DPP may have overstated the risk I suspect.

I had a quick look at the legislation to see what's actually being proposed:

Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill

Part 1

Injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance

1 Power to grant injunctions

(1) A court may grant an injunction under this section against a person aged 10 or over (“the respondent”) if two conditions are met.

(2) The first condition is that the court is satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that the respondent has engaged or threatens to engage in conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to any person (“anti-social behaviour”).

(3) The second condition is that the court considers it just and convenient to grant the injunction for the purpose of preventing the respondent from engaging in anti-social behaviour.

(4) An injunction under this section may for the purpose of preventing the respondent from engaging in anti-social behaviour—

(a) prohibit the respondent from doing anything described in the injunction;
(b) require the respondent to do anything described in the injunction.

(5)Prohibitions and requirements in an injunction under this section must, so far
as practicable, be such as to avoid—

(a) any conflict with the respondent’s religious beliefs;


Of interest is the requirement to apply to the court for an injunction (no summary frogmarching to the nick for reading from the Bible in public), where on the 'balance of probabilities' (a specific legal term of art) it must be shown (by the complainant) that a nuisance has been committed. The court has to consider whether or not the ban is 'just' before imposing an injunction.

Also, there is a defence in section 5) (a) – the injunction cannot be imposed if it should conflict with a person's 'religious beliefs'. Street preaching, evangelising, is an obvious expression of a religious belief.

Some other things in the Bill that most of the people on this blog may like:

- Strengthens powers to tackle irresponsible dog ownership by extending to private places the offence of owning or being in charge of a dog that is dangerously out of control in a public place. (A number of dog owners whose 'pets' have killed children have escaped proper justice because the attacks have happened on private property.)

- An increase to life imprisonment as the maximum penalty for the illegal importation/exportation of firearms.

- Making forced marriage a criminal offence (as opposed to civil).

11 November 2013 14:54  
Blogger The Underground Pewster said...

Nothing new here.

"Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that was in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon there was no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire." Jeremiah 38:6

11 November 2013 14:57  
Blogger Uncle Brian said...

John Thomas

Looking for "meaning" in architecture? There are cases where you can find a "meaning", such as a cruciform church, but has anyone ever found, or even looked for, a "meaning" in Buckingham Palace? Or the Louvre? Or the Colosseum? All of them were built for a purpose, but a purpose isn't the same as a "meaning", is it?

11 November 2013 14:59  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

I find it very annoying when I see women wearing burkas.
Will I be able to apply to have them banned?

11 November 2013 15:06  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Flossie,

"I find Theresa May's taste in coats very annoying indeed"

I am so relieved for someone, and thankfully a woman too, presumably, to say that which has to be said, namely her coats speak of over confidence, even a touch of exhibitionism perhaps ? I am surprised that a busy Secretary of State has the time to buy so many of them. Perhaps she yearns to be, Queen, like the blessed Margaret was said to want. From her television interviews she comes over to me as intolerant, very bossy and not overly intelligent. They are an unattractive lot, the senior members of the LibLabCon Party.

11 November 2013 15:18  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack agrees this is going way, way too far. Okay, ban Christian preachers and peaceful protesters if they are annoying. But street buskers? No. (That was just Jack's little joke)

Happy Jack tries not to annoy people but not everybody shares his taste in music or like his playing and singing. Jack finds lots of things irritating too. Like fat people wearing small clothes and displaying things he'd sooner not see. Or noisy groups of German tourists who want to shout and disturb the peace in the big church on the hill and take photos all the time. And they never tip Jack. (That wasn't a joke)

This talk of street preachers and hell is interesting. Jack often wonders why he hears so very little about this in the churches he visits. He has been in all sorts of different churches and very little is said about it nowadays. When Jack was a lad a lot used to said about the devil and hell. Its like they don't exist anymore.

No, Home Secretary.

11 November 2013 15:26  
Blogger Jon said...

Your Grace wrote "*sigh*". I heartily agree!

More pertinently to non- tin foil hand rants you also wrote "No Home Secretary", also +1.

11 November 2013 15:42  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

A list of vaguely annoying Christian activities that Mrs May may or may not include -

1. Palm Sunday processions
2. Bell ringing
3. Angelus
4. Carol singing
5. Beating the bounds of a parish

May well be others. She needs watching.

11 November 2013 16:17  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Arden Forester,

I think that Christians of all persuasions should now become a lot more visible en masse. How about monthly Walks of Witness, ecumenical of course, in all centres with a group of churches/chapels. Then we can take turns with providing the coffee and buns.

Theresa May . She needs replacing ! They all do from the three identikit parties.

11 November 2013 16:44  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David Hussell

"Theresa May. She needs replacing ! They all do from the three identikit parties."

She was also a prime mover behind the redefinition of marriage - to make the CP seem not quite so "nasty". Of course the sham of that legislation, and now this, just makes them seem like a bunch of chancers, making it up as they go along.

11 November 2013 16:57  
Blogger Lady Anne said...

Theresa may NOT redefine free speech! If there is any attempt to do so, we will all, I'm sure, find plenty of other things are "annoying" on the streets, like politicians at election time. And if David Cameron allows this, then he is a traitor to everything ordinary honest, decent people hold dear. The backlash will make gay marriage look like a tremor in a tea-cup.

But it doesn't stop there. There is now a possible legal challenge to the Coronation Oath from the National Secular Society, on human rights grounds. On the grounds that "allowing the Church of England to perform such a ceremony limits the rights of conscience of the many people who do not subscribe to its beliefs, and article 14, which prohibits discrimination of any kind" (quote from the Guardian).

I don't know whether to spit feathers or cry. And I suspect only Cranmer's pen can do justice to it!

11 November 2013 17:44  
Blogger Ars Hendrik said...

Jon, you wrote:

'More pertinently to non- tin foil hand rants you also wrote "No Home Secretary", also +1.'

What the hell does that actually mean?

11 November 2013 18:07  
Blogger Anthony Joseph said...

But not this one, Julia. Not this one.

11 November 2013 18:16  
Blogger graham wood said...

Lady Anne.
" I'm sure, find plenty of other things are "annoying" on the streets, like politicians at election time."

Absolutely, and there is no question but that the vague catch-all "annoyance" clause will certainly backfire and will be counter-productive for our vindictive Mrs May.

Incidentally, what an irony. MPs can virtually say what they like within the H of C, and pass any opinion freely in that now disreputable place, but these same MPs now deem it PC for a member of the public do so on our streets - or presumably anywhere else.

She and this nasty coalition must go.

11 November 2013 18:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Roy: "I will defend the right of DanJO and his friends to hold Gay Pride marches."

I don't hold Gay Pride marches, nor attend them. Oh I see, it's because I'm homosexual and that's what we all do, right?

11 November 2013 18:49  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Article: "Christians are called to proclaim the Good News. Whether it be from a pulpit, on television or walking up and down Oxford Street with a sandwich board, such proclamation ought to be tolerated in the public sphere in a free society."

Quite right, too. Though that American preacher may have been pushing it a bit by using a PA system near Wimbledon during the tourmament not that long ago.

11 November 2013 18:55  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

OK, just to be contrary. It is legally possible to separate the annoying behavior of the speaker from the annoying content of his message. If there was a neutrality test according to content, then it is possible such a law could be safely constructed. Annoying behavior is a perfectly legitimate area for the state to regulate.

Think tele-marketers. The US has a no-call list and it has nothing to do with business practice. It exists because people hate being called by annoying tele-marketers. Same concept. Even in a public space, there are limits on what people can do to deliver a message.

carl

11 November 2013 18:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

To paraphrase Admiral Beatty, “There’s something wrong with our bloody Conservatives today”

The most insidious of legislation is the ‘enabling act’ entrusting essential freedoms, such as that of speech, to the vagaries of local government. So that in Socialist Atheist councils, you get that obvious bias against freedom, as you would expect with any doctrine that demands obedience. In areas where muslims form the majority, that’s it for freedom of speech then. No doubt as the Koran dictates…

To think that street preaching as we know it, which probably took place here in Roman times, is about to come to the end of the road in many parts of the country, is just the start of it. An exaggeration ? Not at all. Street preachers have already been nabbed by our increasingly unreliable police, and yes, accused of being a public nuisance, and that’s WITHOUT any specific legislation in place.

England is changing out of all recognition, and so is the Conservative party. A fellow is rather annoyed he has but one vote to deny them, but he is in a marginal constituency…





11 November 2013 19:03  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

I rather welcome the presence of eccentrics on the street. It livens them up no end. As long as they take "No, I am not interested" as an answer and don't incite violence, strip naked, or harass people, which is definitely no t the same as being irritating.

We don't need a lot of new laws. We need a bonfire of loads of superfluous laws from superfluous lawmakers, and more freedom to the people, including the wacky ones with strange views about the passions that eating meat might produce for instance. I have never yet met a meat eater who took offense at that particular eccentric. Though maybe these days they might, as some seem to have become professional offense takers!!

11 November 2013 20:17  
Blogger Elby the Beserk said...

"Under proposals currently before Parliament, Asbos are to be scrapped and replaced with wide-ranging new orders known as Ipnas (Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance)."

Hold on now. There may be a silver lining to this. I find politicians a nuisance, and profoundly annoying...

11 November 2013 20:37  
Blogger Len said...

Once our out of touch Government starts arresting anyone because they are 'annoying others'where do they propose putting all these people?.
Perhaps they could use some de- commissioned warships much as they did in Dickens day when they used the prison ships or' hulks' as I believe they were known .
Imagine gangs of street preachers (properly shackled of course) cutting the verges much as they did in 'cool hand luke'.
Street buskers could entertain the prisoners during the extensive 'lock up time' due to the extensive overcrowding to calm the prisoners nerves and possibly prevent the inevitable riots.(Much as the orchestra playing during the sinking of the Titanic.)
Our society is falling apart,our financial system is staggering ever nearer to total collapse and the true mark of our Governments total incompetence is reflected in this ridiculous suggestion of making it a crime to 'annoy anyone'.
Re -arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic don`t even come close!.

11 November 2013 20:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bitter news for you and your sandwich board Len, what !

Looks like you’re headed for chokey before the rest of us...


11 November 2013 21:03  
Blogger Nick said...

Presumably, this is the latest phase in the Governments "Operation Piss Off The Entire Nation" that begun with the destruction of marriage act and is now moving on to the destruction of free speech.

This idea is so OTT one has to wonder about it's origin. Has Theresa May been inundated with complaints about buskers and sandwich-board men? Probably not. However, there have been a number of arrests of street preachers because of compaints from vindictive members of the public who apparently find hearing the Scriptures offensive. Poor things.

This Government is both anti-free speech and anti-Christian, and I suspect therein lies the motive - to silence Christinas in public while putting it under an umbrella of general annoyance so as not appear too persecutory.

The irony is that in so doing they will also silence many of Christianitys critics.

This government has no credibility. We can only wait for its inevitable and well-deserved downfall.

11 November 2013 21:09  
Blogger graham wood said...

Nick said: "This idea is so OTT one has to wonder about it's origin."

Try mixing the following letters about until you come up with something:
"E" and "U" or "UE" or . . . . I think you get the drift

11 November 2013 21:37  
Blogger David B said...

How people can have the gall to claim that the government is anti-Christian while they have bishops in the Lords, allow just about everything with anything to do with religion to have charitable status, free churches from Council Tax, and subsidise the indoctrination of kids in 'Faith' schools, defeats me.

It is not that they are anti Christian, it is that they are so pro-Christian that there is no level playing field for those of us who do not think thatthere are answers in the supernatural.

David

11 November 2013 21:51  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack says to Len, please keep street buskers out of all of this! We do not perform well in custody and anyway our instruments will be confiscated.

Jack is waiting eagerly to hear Mrs Proudie's opinion as she finds much irritating and annoying in Barchester.

11 November 2013 21:59  
Blogger William Lewis said...

David B

It's called your Judeo-Christian heritage. Now we all know how you sucularist/atheist types like to scratch history and consign God and the supernatural to the dustbin, but so far this country hasn't had much truck with those who seek for answers only in the material realm, with all of the horrors that that entails and long may it continue.

11 November 2013 22:22  
Blogger Roy said...

DanJ0 said...

Roy: "I will defend the right of DanJO and his friends to hold Gay Pride marches."

I don't hold Gay Pride marches, nor attend them. Oh I see, it's because I'm homosexual and that's what we all do, right?


My remarks were slightly tongue in cheek! Obviously I had no idea whether or not you have anything to do with Gay Pride marches, but, of the regular commentators at this blog, I thought that you would be more likely to attend such a march than me, or the Government Inspector, say.

Anyway, although I would prefer it if gays did not go parading about, they obviously have as much right as anyone else to hold demonstrations.

11 November 2013 22:27  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 November 2013 22:41  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Inspector,
If you want to have a go at the evangelist Len, then I find the display of gratuitous crucifixes with a blood strewn Christ hanging there when he has arisen and is no longer on the cross, very offensive.
But then lets not have inter denominational disputes. We have a common enemy.

11 November 2013 22:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Integrity, one has not come across a more divisive individual than that man. He does not recognise this man to be a follower and worshipper of Christ. Yes, there are several common enemies, but take note: One is familiar with your own evangelical credentials, sir, but the phrase ‘put your own house in order’ shouts louder...

11 November 2013 23:00  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Inspector,
Now we see the strength of the feelings when challenged.
I mean no offense at you, but the church that you subscribe to can be offensive in it's manifestations. Particularly in Italy in the schools, I'm amazed that the children are not traumatized.

11 November 2013 23:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Integrity, this has taken the Inspector by surprise. He had no idea you were this way concerned. You certainly kept it to yourself. Now listen here, if you want to go ahead with ‘the common enemy’, you are going to have to lay off the RCs. Think of it like this, it’s cultural in RC countries.

Personally, one loathes the mechanics behind faith, gets in the way of Christ’s message, you see, but one cannot desert the church he adheres to...

Has no wish to, it’s rather a glorious, and most human, attempt to continue Christ’s mission...

11 November 2013 23:30  
Blogger Claudio said...

"Particularly in Italy in the schools, I'm amazed that the children are not traumatized"
Having been an Italian child myself (and from the south) I can assure you I've been exposed to a certain amount of traumatizing&otherwise frightening things, but the representation of our Lord's love for us (the Crucifixion) is definitely NOt one of them. At home, the only ones who fight against the Crucifix in public places are either the Radical Muslims or ..the UAAR, basically the italian version of the British Humanist Association. In the times we are living it's funny that fellow Christians in english speaking countries are more concerned about their anti catholicism than about...the anti-christian world we are living in. Seriously, you guys look like the husband of an italian saying (quite unpolite so apologies for the ladies and/or the sensitive readers) who cut his p...is to upset his wife.

12 November 2013 03:16  
Blogger Naomi King said...

Your Grace, The Cross is innately offensive as Billy Graham in his 95th birthday address so beautifully and eloquently shows, see here


http://video.foxnews.com/v/2817785481001/my-hope-america-with-billy-graham/

The Cross confronts people with there sinful lives and they prefer the darkness because their deed are evil.

12 November 2013 08:45  
Blogger Preacher said...

Well I'm not surprised at the latest attack from this bunch of babblers.
The time is fast approaching when we will have to 'put up, or shut up'. The Christian faith was born & bred in the fires of persecution the Lord warns us to expect it. Look at the book of Acts for confirmation. Many were cut to the heart by Peters open air preaching & found salvation. But others were hostile & rebellious to the words spoken & the authorities were opposed & incensed throwing the disciples into prison, gnashing their teeth at them & even killing them.
Did it shut them up? The Hell it did, they preached louder & went further afield.

Happy Jack asks about the lack of preaching about Heaven & Hell, & I agree that it is considered a taboo subject in many Churches. But surely that should be the central tenet of our message if we are true disciples of Christ. Saving the souls of the lost, simply giving them the choice of choosing God's mercy or rejecting it.
Okay some will get hot under the collar, but others will be saved.

While praying about the Philippine disaster, I felt that it should be a warning to us all, the people were told that the typhoon was coming & they took precautions.
It grew slowly but arrived with a suddenness & savagery that none expected.
Are we in the West in the calm before the storm of Christ's return? - As in the days of Noah have we shut our ears to the voice of warning to repent & turn & be saved?.
The writing as they say is on the wall for Cameron's clowns "You have been weighed in the balance, & found wanting".

12 November 2013 11:13  
Blogger Len said...

Amen to that preacher!.
Judgement is starting in' the House of God.'
Wheat is being seperated from the chaff.We are going onto God`s 'threshing floor'where true believers will be separated from those who profess 'faith' but this faith resides in their' denomination' not in the Saviour.
“Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window” (Hosea 9:2)

If Judgement starts in the house of God then this should be a warning to the entire World.

12 November 2013 11:38  
Blogger Gnostic said...

This agnostic supports His Grace. Teresa May irritates me but I don't want to silence her. Shame the stupid bint feels she can't reciprocate.

12 November 2013 12:26  
Blogger IanCad said...

Great comment Preacher, @ 11:13

Gnostic: "Stupid Bint."

That has a certain sound. Much like "Spooky Harridan."

Doubtless you will be called to account by the overly sensitive Julia Gasper.

As I was.

12 November 2013 13:10  
Blogger Happy Jack said...

Happy Jack cannot understand why Mr Integrity or any Christian could find the crucifix with Jesus on it an offence. Jack has noticed some churches he visits have crosses and others don't. Jack often thinks of this image and respectfully suggests it should be displayed so everyone remembers what Jesus did. It is like forgetting about the devil and hell, forgetting about Jesus dying for us. One of Happy Jacks favourite songs to listen to is 'When I survey the Wondrous Cross'.

12 November 2013 19:09  
Blogger Drastic Plastic said...

Your grace, I am not sure about this. Can Teresa May, a conservative, really have this aim in mind? The initiative might have this unintended consequence; but to say that this is the intended consequence seems excessive. Admittedly we can place little trust in the state not to abuse such powers, as we have discovered.

12 November 2013 19:31  
Blogger Che Yeoh said...

That coat puts me in mind of Dolores Umbridge..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huhoLoTAwrY

13 November 2013 00:55  
Blogger Born Again Agnostic said...

I do find it ironic that Christians play the martyrdom card when it comes to free speech. For much of Western society’s history since the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as its official religion, the main enemy of free speech has been Christianity, when it has held political power. Believe what we believe, pray as we pray, act as we act – otherwise we’ll cut off your head, or hang you or burn you at the stake... As well as many ways and means of torture and financial and material deprivation.

I’ve no problem whatsoever with street preachers, nor the fact that vocal minority seem adept at preaching a ‘thou shalt not’ gospel that has a habit of focusing on a few well-worn verses of Scripture concerning all things homo. After all we have to put up with rabid Muslims insulting our troops when they march through our towns - we have to tolerate that nonsense, when I’d cheerfully deport them to a nice Muslim country where I am sure they would be happier (though not so daft as to try the same tricks there!).

Yet there have to be limits – for several years I worked in the West End of London and day in day out some tit used to walk up and down Oxford Street with a megaphone ‘preaching the gospel’. I once gave him a tongue lashing for deafening me in one ear bellowing down my lug hole as I waited at the crossing at Oxford Circus. He seemed more in love with the sound of his own voice than a love of the Gospel (but ain’t that a common malady of the religiously vocal?). Westminster Council in the end took out an injunction against this man and thankfully we see him no more.

Oddly enough a few years ago I was again working in the West End when one morning the exit of Oxford Street Tube was impeded by a bearded young man stuffing religious tracts into commuters’ hand – and becoming rather insistent if they weren’t taken. I recognised the man as the Autistic chap who’d managed to get £4,000 compo from the police for wrongful arrest after street preaching in Birmingham (mainly on the edifying subject of Lev 18:22 – odd Jesus did a lot of street preaching but didn’t seem to get stuck on that verse...). Thankfully the Christian Institute stepped in demanding the rights of this Christian (Matt 5: 38-42 always plays second fiddle to the right to proclaim Lev 18:22 – well it would spoil the fun of easy righteousness to concentrate on what Jesus actually said!). On this occasion, blocking a busy underground exist at rush-hour, would it be wrong to move this person on? I suspect not.

It is really a matter of balance – if people want to preach gospel or protest or whatever, fine by me. But if people want to play the martyr, don’t moan if you get what you ask for! If all someone can whine on about is Lev 18:22, don’t be surprised if the judgement for that might just be God asking you to live out Matt 5: 39-40! But that rarely happens- not when the lawyers at Ambulance-Chasers-for-Jesus have a living to be made... It is amazing how these Bible loving Christians cherry pick the verses they want to have the right to uphold and conveniently ignore others that advocate rubbish like turning the other cheek, offering your cloak as well if sued for your shirt and of course all that nonsense about rejoicing in persecution... Who wants to uphold a Gospel like that when there’s the vanity of paranoia and the self-glory of victimhood to proclaim?

But banning street preaching (or busking or protests)? No – go back to the drawing board Theresa.

13 November 2013 06:50  
Blogger Len said...

People need to protest against the curtailing of free speech..and those of no faith seem to be leaving the majority of the protesting to the Christians...
Perhaps the secular world has nothing worth protesting about?.

13 November 2013 08:46  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

@ Len
I think it was the secular world that wanted one of my children to go to an exhibition run by a man called Gunter something or other with a spiritually awful face, and a visibly bad aura (probably an occultist) who had set parts of human carcass in plastic. Said child wanted me to object as she said it would give her nightmares and she was thoroughly ok with knowing how the human body worked through diagrams. I supported her, she did not go, but the biology teacher did not treat me with any respect and showed scant understanding of those who think plastinated bodies are deeply revolting and should not be shown to all and sundry, but that dead human beings should be treated with respect and buried or cremated, as the mass of humankind has always done.

I have found many secularists deeply opinionated and prone to treat Christians with their own opinions as little short of extreme superstitious nuisances who need sweeping away.

And how on earth can you be a "born again agnostic" when the whole point of birth is that it brings you out into a new world that you did not previously know or understand, where you have more senses more operative and encounter light and sound and feeling, taste, smell, parents and family in entirely new ways? What have you found in agnosticism that is other than the world of the 5 senses which we ALL know?












By and large secularists

13 November 2013 14:42  
Blogger Len said...

This does indeed sound macabre I remember a horror film with a similar theme I think it was called 'the house of Wax with Vincent Price'where people were murdered set in wax and placed in a museum.This was some time ago.
But in that period of time what was barely acceptable for adults becomes 'teaching material' for children.
I think this illustrates how people are being conditioned to accept what was previously 'bad' as now 'good'.

14 November 2013 08:35  
Blogger Phil Roberts said...

Many commentators in certain sectors of the press think that T May will be the next Conservative Leader after Cameron loses the election.

They think she is like Maggie, but the radical PC version, which will appeal to the voters.

Emigration anyone?

Phil

14 November 2013 20:01  

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