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Fashions in persecution

“The process is the punishment”, and Dale McAlpine has been processed.

Charges have been dropped against a Christian preacher who told a police officer homosexuality was “a sin”.

Of course they have. So long as someone pushes back, the police will retreat. They know that they would lose in court – they also know they do not have to win in court in order to intimidate. Being arrested is not nice, is it? The mere arrest is quite enough to spread the idea around that saying homosexuality is a sin is illegal.

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 preaching to shoppers in the west Cumbrian town on 20 April when he said he was approached by the PCSO, who told him he was a liaison officer for the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

“He told me he was homosexual,” Mr Mcalpine said.
“I said ‘the Bible says homosexuality is a sin’. He said ‘I’m offended by that and I’m also the LGBT liaison officer within the police’.
“I said ‘it is still a sin’.”
He said three uniformed police officers then appeared and accused him of using homophobic language.
“I’m not homophobic, I don’t hate gays,” Mr Mcalpine said. “Then they said it is against the law to say homosexuality is a sin. I was arrested.”

Kudos to gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who “condemned the arrest and urged the home secretary to issue new guidelines to the police” – although it is a pity that Mr Tatchell does not follow through the logic of his argument to the case of property rights.

Once freedom goes it becomes a matter of elite fashion just who the police harass. In 2010 it was Baptist street preachers. Twenty years earlier it was homosexuals. Twenty years later it may be homosexuals again. Get yer multiculturalism right and it could be both.

17 comments to Fashions in persecution

  • llamas

    The old saying is – you can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride.

    Things must be very different in the UK – in the US, it’s a pretty established principle that a LEO is NOT like a member of the general public and the standard of verbal offensiveness required to constitute a crime against a LEO is far, far higher than what would constitute a crime against another citizen. It sounds to me like this pseudo-copper needs to find another line of work, if his delicate sensibilities can’t stand the fact that the mean man said nasty words. He would not do well at all in suburban Detroit on a Friday night, among the real police.

    It would now appear that in the UK ‘the ride’ has become the de-facto punishment for virtually any offence against the prevailing orthodoxy that has not already become enshrined in black-letter law. As I understand it, the whole arrest process in the UK has now become very extended indeed and involves all sorts of indignities and general time-wasting that all go to make even the process of being arrested, charged and bailed a very, very unpleasant one to anyone of normal sensibilities. In this manner is free expression crushed.



  • Stonyground

    I was slightly annoyed when this incident was held up as yet another example of Christians being persecuted by the new atheists and the secular society. Those who made this claim conveniently overlooked the case of the guy who was prosecuted, found guilty and sentenced for the vile crime of placing ‘blasphemous’ cartoons in a prayer room at JL airport.

    The discussion threads on atheist blogs unanimously supported this bloke’s right to state his opinion that homosexuality was a sin, after all this is a statement of fact. The real point is that a sin is only a sin if you subscribe to his religion, which most people do not.

  • The case Stonyground is referencing is that of Harry Taylor

    BBC account here.

    In the end he got a suspended sentence (given that I’m not sure if that term is used outside the UK, I should explain for overseas readers that it means he won’t go to jail unless he offends again, in which case he gets both punishments) plus an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.

    I am glad to see the people on the atheist forum defended Dale McAlpine’s rights. I have some sympathy for Mr Taylor but this is limited by the fact that he sought out the prayer room and left his cartoons there, rather than preaching on the street as Mr McAlpine did. (In fact what actually got him nicked was not his general preaching, but what he said to the PCSO who sought him out.)

    What I mean is, the prayer room, though open to the public is not a public place in the sense that the street is.

  • There’s a bit of a misunderstanding going on at the moment about the status of Christianity under the Neo-Puritan Regime, particularly among the Thick Right. That is, the belief that Christians are being persecuted. They’ve inherited this idea from America, as with all our political ideas since about 1960 (or arguably about 1914). In this case, from the American Thick Right, the kind that can usually be found rolling around on Megachurch floors, barking like dogs.

    Christianity isn’t being persecuted. What’s happening is that under Neo-Puritanism, it is official dogma that All Religions Are The Same. That is, “we all worship the same God” or, when it’s clearly not the same God, as with Hindus, then it’s All Faiths Have The Same Values. These values are held to be the values of Neo-Puritanism. Thus, a person who professes to have faith, but does not proclaim Neo-P values is presumed to be Not Doing It Right. This might be a Christian, or it might be an Islamist. Hence, in the latter case, the Neo-P dogma that Islamists aren’t real Muslims. Likewise, any “homophobic” Christian isn’t a real Christian.

    So, there is no persecution of Christianity. There is persecution of those who subscribe to perverted Christianity, that is the non-ecumenical Neo-P kinds. Neo-Ps love Christianity. Blair, Brown, Blunkett, etc, all mad christians. They’re just certain of what the True Faith is, and it’s not the kind that doesn’t like pooves.

    It’s basically part of the Neo-P plan to make all the religions of the world into a single one that only differ a bit in terms of unimportant ritual. It’s just a case of getting everyone singing from the same, er, hymn sheet.

  • Gareth

    “Being arrested is not nice, is it?”

    To the Police being arrested is a routine event. They have further attempted to normalise it with their eagerness to collect DNA samples.(And in this case a retina scan for some reason)

    To most people who have little or no contact with the Police and mostly cause nobody any trouble it can be a shameful and degrading experience.

  • So long as someone pushes back, the police will retreat. They know that they would lose in court . . . .”

    It’s interesting to compare the case of Dale McAlpine to that of Shawn Holes(Link), an American Baptist arrested in Glasgow for “uttering homophobic remarks.” Obviously, the cases are not identical, but the differences were fairly minor.

    Holes, whose sentence was later criticised by Peter Tatchell, pleaded guilty, saying that “he had no choice but to admit the charge at Glasgow Sheriff Court because he was desperate to fly home to see his wife, and his father, who is in a hospice.”

    It would have been interesting to see whether the charges would have been dropped if he had, like Mr. McAlpine, fought the case.

  • Alice

    IanB wrote: “… under Neo-Puritanism, it is official dogma that All Religions Are The Same.”

    IanB, you often illuminate our world with flashes of brilliant insight. This was not one of those.

    If ‘all religions are the same’, then why will the craven press gaily (like it?) publish photgraphs of something like the infamous “Piss Christ”, but refuse to reprint the cartoons of Big Mo that caused Muslim angst in Denmark?

    No, your Neo-Puritans do not regards all religions as being the same. They distinguish very carefully between those who will tolerate being pushed around and those who will brook no nonsense. Like a school-yard bully. Which is what your big government NuLabLibCons really are.

  • Roue le Jour

    llamas, what are you talking about? It’s exactly the same in the US, with perhaps the local variation that the police shoot your dog instead of taking your DNA.

  • Nuke Minarcapo Gray

    I remember, during the Thatcher years, that you always felt as though the British Liberals wanted to make homosexuality compulsory for all. That preacher had better watch out- re-education camps could be on the way back! Especially with the Tories making a fetish of ‘inclusiveness’!

  • “...it is a pity that Mr Tatchell does not follow through the logic of his argument to the case of property rights.”

    Yes, but not surprising. Peter Tatchell, with his long history of involvement with the Labour Party and the Greens, could hardly be expected to be enthusiastic about something as capitalist as property rights.

    Freedom of expression, on the other hand, is something he has good reason to value; he was himself arrested and charged in regard to the speech he made (or attempted to make) from the pulpit of Canterbury Cathedral during the service on Easter Sunday, 1998.

  • I am broadly in agreement with Alice, but not very keen on the term “neo puritan”.

    I tend to get the impression that the ratchet is being applied all around us so that groups have “permission” to be. The rub being, that that permission can be withdrawn or redrawn by the State. Once the current “focus groups” are sandboxed, they will move on to another IMHO. All the time we see more fenceposts put in place.

  • Andy H

    I find it difficult to understand how saying that homosexuality is a sin is not a homophobic remark.

    I don’t think homophobic statements should be illegal, but if they are I don’t understand why the police think they would lose this case.

  • I find it difficult to understand how saying that homosexuality is a sin is not a homophobic remark.

    But what is homophobia?

    Is it a fear of a certain class of person? Is it a dislike of a certain class of person? Is it a dislike of a certain type of activity? Is it a belief that a certain type of activity is wrong?

    While some people may think think that these four things are all the same, it seems to me that they are not. Hence the need for definition.

  • Spectre765

    Allow me to state the obvious. If the guy were a Muslim, the police never would have arrested him.

    I believe Islam regards homosexuality as sinful, but I’m not 100% sure.

  • RAB

    As far as I am aware, being homophobic or making a homophobic remark is not illegal. This is just an uppity Plastic Plod making it up as he goes along again, rather like taking photgraphs in public places.
    What he was charged with was this…

    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.

    Now then, the words Homosexuality is a sin, is…
    Threatening? Hardly. Abusive? not by any definition of the word I know. Insulting? give it a rest!
    Now then, Or behaviour likely to cause harassment? (nope), alarm (huh?) or distress???

    The original complainant was not a member of the public, but the Righteous Plastic Plod himself, a person who’s job it is to confront wrongdoers in our society, and as such is deemed to have a higher threshold for Harassment, alarm and distress that that of us ordinary citizens, because if not then he is in the wrong job!
    So that is why they would have lost in court, because they didn’t have a leg to stand on legally.

    But like Natalie so succinctly put it, The process is the punishment.

    My oft repeated advice by the way, is never ever plead guilty. If the powers that be want to fuck you around and intimidate you, expose them to the fresh air of a court and a jury, your punishment will be no worse even if found guilty, by some malfunction of Justice.

  • llamas

    Attend to the statute law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in continuous and unbroken effect since Januray 16th, 1786:

    “Be it enacted by General Assembly that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer on account of his religious opinions or belief, but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of Religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge or affect their civil capacities.”

    From the preamble to the same statute, the thinking behind it:

    “That to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency will make his opinions the rule of judgment and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own;

    That it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government, for its officers to interfere when principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.”

    I wonder when the UK will finally drag itself into the 18th century, and fully grasp the concept of ‘free speech’?



  • “I wonder when the UK will finally drag itself into the 18th century, and fully grasp the concept of ‘free speech’?”

    I think that we used to be there, but are slowly dragging ourselves away from the 18th century, and rapidly losing the concept of ‘free speech’.