Last week we noted how the Religious Right, and more specifically Matt Barber, were using the arrest of a Christian street preacher in Britain as a scare-tactic, warning Christians in the US that the same thing was going to happen to them if they don’t stand up to things like hate crimes laws and ENDA and defend their religious liberties.
Charges have been dropped against a Christian preacher who told a police officer homosexuality was “a sin”.
Dale Mcalpine, 42, was accused of a public order offence after speaking to a community support officer (PCSO) in Workington, Cumbria, in April.
Mr Mcalpine was charged with breaching section 5 of the Public Order Act by allegedly using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
He was due to stand trial later this year, but the CPS have now confirmed they will not be prosecuting.
A spokeswoman said: “We keep cases under constant review and following a further review of all the evidence in this case we were no longer satisfied that there was sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction and we have therefore discontinued the proceedings against Mr Mcalpine.”
Chf Supt Steve Johnson, police commander for West Cumbria, said: “We would like to reassure the public that we respect, and are committed to upholding, the fundamental right to freedom of expression.
“We are just as committed to maintaining the peace and preventing people feeling alarmed or distressed by the actions of others in public places.
“Our officers and staff often have to make difficult decisions whilst balancing the law and people’s human rights, this is not easy especially when on occasions opinions and interpretations differ.”
This is now the second time in recent months that efforts by the Religious Right to use this sort of foreign case as a scare tactic has been undermined by the fact that the charges have been dropped and free speech rights upheld.