Homosexuality and Religious Liberty

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There have been a notable number of incidents involving the issue of homosexuality and religious liberty in regards to dissent and the objectionableness of homosexuality.

Harry Hammond

In October 2001, a 69-year-old street preacher named Harry Hammond from Bournemouth, England was subjected to assault by an angry crowd of 40 people while he proclaimed his Christian views in the town center which included a call to repentance in respect to homosexuality.[1] Mr. Hammond suffered from a type of autism making speaking with others difficult for him.[1] Mr. Hammond was holding a sign bearing the words, "Jesus Gives Peace, Jesus is Alive, Stop Immorality, Stop Homosexuality, Stop Lesbianism, Jesus is Lord".[1]

Two police officers arrived at the scene, there was a disagreement as to whether they should protect him or arrest him and eventually Mr Hammond was arrested but no violent members of the crowd were arrested.[1] At the time there were complaints from homosexuals about the sign which called for repentance in regards to homosexuality.[2]

Subsequently, Harry Hammond was charged and prosecuted and fined under the Public Order Act 1986.[1] Sadly, Mr Hammond later died and despite a posthumous court appeal stating that Mr. Hammond should have the right to freedom of religion and the freedom to express his beliefs, it was ruled that Harry Hammond had acted unreasonably in holding up a sign he knew to be offensive.[1] A further appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was also dismissed.[1]

Eleven Christians Arrested at a Homosexual Event

In 2004, eleven Christians, who have been dubbed the "Philly 11", were arrested at a Philadelphia event promoting homosexual-rights and some of the charges were felonies.[3] Among those who were arrested were Arlene Elshinnawy, a 75-year-old grandmother of three, and Linda Beckman, a 70-year-old grandmother of 10 who were arrested for sharing their faith on the public sidewalk.[4] The Christians were preaching from the Bible regarding homosexuality and a group of homosexual activists confronted the Christians and attempted to drown out their message with whistles.[3] According to the Christians they were obeying all laws and respected lawful request by the police offers at the time.[3] In 2005, after national publicity led to widespread criticism of the arrests (especially the heavy penalties being threatened) a judge dismissed all criminal charges.[5] In 2006, a United States federal judge ruled the group of homosexuals could not dismiss a lawsuit against the homosexual activist group Philly Pride Presents which was brought against them by the Christian protestors.[5]

Other Incidents Involving Homosexuality and the Repression of Religious Liberty

Dr. Chuck McIlhenny's book When the Wicked Seize a City recounts how his church and home were terrorized by homosexual activists in San Francisco. Dr. Chuck McIlhenny church and home were firebombed and he received harassing calls from homosexual activists.
  • The Hamilton Square Baptist Church riot was an egregious case of homosexual activists terrorizing a San Francisco church. Louis Sheldon was a guest speaker when the Hamilton Square Baptist Church riot occurred. Christianity Today reported the following regarding the Hamilton Square Baptist riot incident: "Although Sheldon has had his home painted with graffiti and his office littered with manure by radical homosexuals, this is the first time he was targeted at a church. According to Peter LaBarbera, editor of the Lambda Report, a California-based newsletter that monitors the homosexual movement, the incident represents a trend toward increased militancy among homosexual activists."
  • In Canada and France legislators have been fined for publicly criticizing homosexuality.[6]
  • In Canada a printer was fined several years ago for refusing a pro-homosexual printing contract that he said violated his traditional Christian beliefs.[7]
  • According to WorldNetDaily: "A website featuring comments by, for and about "principled conservatism" is being investigated by the Canadian government, and could be fined or ordered shut down for some postings about Islam and homosexuality....The Human Rights Commission is appointed to investigate complaints that "hate speech" or other illegal activity has been detected, and issue rulings or recommendations to the national Human Rights Tribunal, which has yet to find any defendant innocent in such a case."[7]
  • A Swedish hate crimes law was used to convict Pastor Ake Green, who preached that homosexuality is a sin, to one month's prison.[6]
  • WorldNetDaily reported the following regarding the famous St. Patrick's involving homosexual and abortion activists:
One infamous incident was the assault on New York’s famed St. Patrick's Cathedral on December 10, 1989. While Cardinal John O'Connor presided over the 10:15 Sunday morning Mass, a multitude of "pro-choice" and "gay rights" activists protested angrily outside. Some, wearing gold-colored robes similar to clerical vestments, hoisted a large portrait of a pornographically altered frontal nude portrait of Jesus.[8]
  • Time Magazine reported the following incident regarding the Roman Catholic Church and homosexual activists: "In San Francisco gay activists smeared handprints in paint and hung posters depicting sex acts in the Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption and the archdiocese chancery."[9]
  • A British couple were told they were denied the chance to adopt because it was determined that their Christian religious faith might 'prejudice' them against a homosexual child put in their custody.[6]
  • In March 2000 in New York City, a pastor was compelled to remove a billboard display from a city street because it violated the city’s pro-homosexual anti-discrimination law. The billboard simply quoted Leviticus 18:22: “Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind. It is abomination.”[10]
  • According to WorldNetDaily: "Already in the United States, Catholic Charities of Boston halted all adoption operations in the state after being told under Massachusetts' pro-'gay' nondiscrimination law, only agencies that placed children in homosexual-led households would get licensed by the state." [6]
  • Five Christians in St. Petersburg, Florida which included two pastors were arrested at a homosexual rally for merely stepping onto the public sidewalk instead staying caged in their officially designated "free speech zone."[4]
  • In Elmira, New York police arrested seven Christians for praying in a public park where a homosexual festival was getting started.[4]
  • George Will wrote the following regarding a social work student:
In 2005, Emily Brooker, a social-work student at Missouri State University, was enrolled in a class taught by a professor who advertised himself as a liberal and insisted that social work is a liberal profession. At first, a mandatory assignment for his class was to advocate homosexual foster homes and adoption, with all students required to sign an advocacy letter, on university stationery, to the state legislature.

When Brooker objected on religious grounds, the project was made optional. But shortly before the final exam she was charged with a "Level 3," the most serious, violation of professional standards. In a 2 1/2 -hour hearing -- which she was forbidden to record and which her parents were barred from attending -- the primary subject was her refusal to sign the letter. She was ordered to write a paper ("Written Response about My Awareness") explaining how she could "lessen the gap" between her ethics and those of the social-work profession. When she sued the university, it dropped the charges and made financial and other restitution.[12]

  • In the UK Registrar Lillian Ladele was forced to choose between her job and her Christian faith for opposing same-sex civil unions.
  • In February 2012, the BBC reported that the Archbishop of York, John Sentamu received abusive and threatening racist emails after speaking out against the decision to redefine marriage (The UK Coalition government plans to introduce same-sex marriage by 2015).
  • David Burrowes, MP for the UK Conservative Party received a death threat after opposing the redefinition of marriage. It was later reported that activists published his travel plans on the internet and urged people to confront him.
  • Roman Catholic Archbishop Mario Gonti of Glasgow, Scotland was reported to the police in 2006 for a sermon which said that civil unions undermine marriage.
  • In October 2011, a housing association manager from Manchester, England Adrian Smith was demoted and had his salary cut by 40% all because he commented on Facebook that civil partnerships in churches was 'an equality too far'.

See also