London police arrest pastor preaching outside for "homophobic comments:" "I was only saying what the Bible says"

by Jordyn Pair · Apr 30th, 2021 9:14 am

Last Updated May 17th, 2021 at 4:18 pm

London police arrested a Christian pastor who was preaching outside, saying that he had been making "allegedly homophobic statements."

John Sherwood, 71, said he was bruised after police pulled him from a mini-stepladder. He was held overnight, but not charged.

"I wasn't making any homophobic comments, I was just defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. I was only saying what the Bible says – I wasn't wanting to hurt anyone or cause offense," Sherwood said. "I was doing what my job description says, which is to preach the gospel in open air as well as in a church building."

Sherwood was arrested under the Public Order Act, which bars "abusive or insulting words" that cause "harm" to another person. He alleges that officers questioned him about his attitude toward gay people and asked him what he would do if his children were gay.

Andrea Williams, with the campaign group Christian Concern, said police need a better understanding of freedom of speech and religion.

"There is an idea that if people are offended you should arrest someone, but in this country we also have freedom of speech," she said.


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