Further to yesterday’s post:
I learn from the comments at the Cranmer blog that the incident took place on Monday 1st July.
I have had no reply to my enquiry to Wimbledon Police Station.
The Daily Telegraph has today run the story, Christian arrested for calling homosexuality a ‘sin’.
A Christian street preacher has been arrested and questioned about his beliefs after saying that “fornication” and homosexuality are a sin.
Tony Miano, a retired police officer from the US, was held for almost seven hours, forced to give finger prints and a DNA sample and questioned about his beliefs on sin.
Mr Miano, who served as a Deputy Sherriff in Los Angeles County, was arrested under the controversial clause of the Public Order Act, recently amended by the House of Lords, which bans “insulting” words or behaviour.
In a video placed on YouTube he can be seen debating with two Metropolitan Police officers about whether the amendment to the law had come into force yet.
It came after a woman complained that the sermon he preached a sermon in busy street in Wimbledon, south west London, on Monday afternoon, about “lust” and “sexual immorality”, was homophobic.
Taking as his text a passage from Thessalonians, he listed homosexuality alongside other “evil” sexual temptations as being against “God’s law”.
He can be heard saying: “My friends, the reality is, we are all going to stand before God to give account for our lives.
“And whether our sin is sexual in nature or not, if we have violated his law in any way – whether it is homosexuality, whether it is refusing to abstain from evil in the heterosexual community and we are lusting after people we are indulging in fornication, but even beyond that if we have so much as told one lie – God sees us as a violator of his law, God does not see us as good.”
He said that during his time at the police station he was questioned about his beliefs.
“He asked me, among other things, whether I believed homosexuality was a sin,” he explained.
“He also asked me: ‘If a homosexual person came to you and was hungry, would you give him something to eat?’
“It was unnerving to be questioned about my Christian beliefs and I was made to feel that my thoughts could be held against me.
“The two final questions were: ‘Do you believe you are 100 per cent right in what you did today?’, I answered yes, and “If you were to go back there tomorrow, would you do the same thing again?” to which I also answered yes.”
He was eventually released without charge around midnight.
There could be no charge, of course, for he had done nothing wrong. The “arrest”, and the deliberately prolonged incarceration and “questioning” were merely harassment, intended to intimidate. The phrase “the process is the punishment” describes what happened here; drag someone through the system in order to stop them doing something which is entirely legal. Even if they are found innocent, just being accused and tried — at deliberately elaborate length — is a shattering experience for normal, innocent people.
I gather that Tony Miano has sought legal advice. I hope that the Metropolitan Police are forced to pay a large sum in damages. I also would hope that whoever was responsible for this is discharged from the force.