Take action!
How to Get Involved
 
 

Christian Street Preachers in UK Could Be Silenced by New Law

ICC Note: New legislation in the United Kingdom has Christians and civil liberty organizations up in arms over its potential to limit free speech. The new "anti-social behavior" law would include injunctions allowing authorities to "prevent nuisance and annoyance." The terms nuisance and annoyance are defined so broadly that Christians say street preaching, or even expressing a strong opinion, in public could be met with fines, arrest, and other legal consequences. Critics of the law also point out that those who actually commit crimes in public will not be deterred by the new legislation. 

11/12/2013 United Kingdom (Charisma) - Christian street preachers and others could be caught by new sweeping powers designed to combat antisocial behavior, a senior lawyer and campaign group have warned.

Lord Macdonald, the former chief prosecutor in the U.K., has written a strongly worded legal opinion on the issue, saying the proposal’s safeguards are “shockingly low.”

And an alliance of groups, which includes the Christian Institute and civil liberty organizations, cautioned that the powers will not deter people from nuisance behavior.

Under clause 1 of the new antisocial behavior bill, antisocial behavior orders would be replaced by injunctions to prevent nuisance and annoyance (IPNAs).

IPNAs are designed to be easier to obtain by the authorities and also require a lower threshold of evidence.

But Lord Macdonald says the proposals are extremely broad and could result in “serious and unforeseeable interferences in individual rights, to the greater public detriment.”

He says, “Of course political demonstrations, street performers and corner preachers may be ‘annoying’ to some—they may even, from time to time, be a ‘nuisance.’”

But he says there is a “danger” that the bill “potentially empowers state interference” against such people and barely acknowledges their ability to “exercise core rights without undue interference.”

Simon Calvert, director of the Reform Clause 1 campaign group, which is opposing the plans, says it is a “crazy law.”

“It will not deter thugs and hooligans who are normally already breaking lots of other laws anyway,” Calvert says.

He adds, “It is chilling that there is a complete absence of safeguards and any clear definition of what is deemed to be annoying.

“What this means in practice is that people going about their ordinary business, such as charity collectors, protestors, carol singers, street pastors—even people simply expressing strong opinions in public—could be classed as annoying and hauled before the courts.

...

[Full Story]

Forward to a friend
  • Kids

    Care for orphans and hurting children

    read more
  • Families

    Support wives and children of imprisoned or martyed pastors

    read more
  • Pastors

    Spread the gospel by supporting underground pastors

    read more
  • Women

    Save women from abduction and sexual exploitation

    read more
  • Communities

    Help rebuild communities devastated by persecution

    read more

Other Projects

other projects

ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.