A London police spokesman announced it thus:
“Police were called to Wimbledon Hill Road, SW19, at approximately 16.40 on Monday, July 1, following reports of a man speaking through a public address system who was alleged to have made homophobic comments. Officers attended and arrested the man, aged 49, on suspicion of offences under the Public Order Act. He was taken to a south-west London police station and spoken to by officers before being released with no further action later the same day.”
In this case, “later the same day,” entailed about six hours of being held and interrogated, with the police taking fingerprints and a DNA swab.
The man was “Tony Miano, 49, a former senior police officer from the US,” a Christian street preacher.
“He was speaking from a passage from Thessalonians which mentions ‘sexual immorality’ and listed homosexuality alongside ‘fornication’ as examples what he believed went against ‘God’s law.’ A woman out shopping called the police to complain that she was offended, prompting two officers to be dispatched to arrest him.”
According to the Cranmer Street blog, the passage was First Thessalonians (i.e. The Apostle Paul’s first letter to the church in the city of Thessalonika), chapter 4, verses 1-12 (here is the ESV translation). In that place Paul wrote the following sentence:
“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”
As you can plainly see by the video here, Miano was absolutely not singling out homosexuality. It was mentioned in a catalog of sexual sins, most of which are common among heterosexuals. This was not in any way a message designed to single out one special group of sinners but was a call for all people to repent of all kinds of immorality.
(Off topic: Has anyone ever claimed that people committed to monogamy are just born that way? Does anyone claim Christianity was invented by men who were just born wanting to be faithful to one woman and who imposed their values on the other poor victims who were oriented toward sleeping around and abandoning children?)
Nevertheless, the cops arrested Miano for “homophobia.” Apparently, people who like to look at porn don’t have the same clout to get the police to harass anyone who speaks against them.
Happily, the British government is about to get rid of the clause in the law that justified the arrest. After a few hours of harassment, the police let him go.
Miano claimed he was amazed that he would be arrested for speech “in the country that produced the Magna Carta.”
Personally, I’m amazed it could happen in the country of George Orwell—the man who said, “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”