UK Street Preacher Jailed Over False ‘Hate Speech’ Charge Following Lesbian Complaint

RobHughesBASILDON, England — A Christian street preacher was arrested and jailed last week in England after he was accused by a lesbian bystander of engaging in hate speech against homosexuals.

The incident occurred on Thursday while evangelist Rob Hughes was preaching on the streets of Basildon, Essex.

As he spoke, Hughes was approached by police, who advised that they had received a complaint that Hughes had engaged in hate speech by preaching against homosexuality. Police advised that such speech was a violation of the Public Order Act, Section 5, which bans “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior, or disorderly behavior” or the display of “any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting” within earshot of sight of a person “likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.”

As Hughes was interviewed by police on street, his friend, Andrew Noble, was also interrogated by officers.

“Did you say that homosexuality is sinful?” Noble remembers the police inquiring.

“I don’t think we said that today, but it is something that we would say,” he replied.

Noble told Christian News Network that a lesbian bystander had lodged a complaint against Hughes’ speech and falsely accused him of speaking against homosexual behavior.

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Hughes was arrested on the street and transported to the local jail, where he was then fingerprinted and held in a cell. In the meantime, Noble contacted the Christian legal organization Christian Concern to request emergency assistance.

Seven hours later, at nearly midnight, Hughes was released and the charges were dismissed. Hughes told Christian Concern that Christian street preachers are facing a situation where they are now becoming “presumed guilty until found to be innocent.”

“This is happening alarmingly often now,” Andrea Williams, president of the organization, stated in a news release announcing Hughes’ arrest. “Rob’s experience shows why it’s so important that we at the Christian Legal Center keep giving legal support to Christians like him who simply want to share the good news of Jesus.”

As previously reported, a similar incident occurred in July of this year as American evangelist Tony Miano was arrested and jailed after speaking against sexual immorality on the streets of London. Miano states that he was preaching from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 when a woman became agitated by his message and began to curse.

“[I preached about] the fact that people are in sin and are violating God’s word and His law by engaging in immorality — both heterosexual immorality and homosexual immorality,” he explained.

Since he had included homosexuality in his sermon, the woman, who had gone into a nearby store and came out to find Miano still speaking, called the police to complain.

Moments later, officers arrived and notified Miano that he had allegedly violated Section 5 of the Public Order Act. He was placed under arrest and marched down to the police station where the was then questioned about his beliefs.

“It was surreal because I was interrogated about my faith in Jesus Christ,” Miano said. “I was asked if I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I was asked what portion of the Bible I was reading. I was asked if a homosexual was hungry and walked up to me, would I give them something to eat.”

Like Hughes, Miano was released near midnight and went back out on the streets to preach the following day.

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  • Street Preacher / Evangelist, don’t state your opinion or what you “would say”, but what God says about homosexual acts

  • Nigel Kenny

    The police got it completely wrong – the word “insulting” was removed by the UK Parliament earlier this year, because it had been used by the police to arrest street preachers. The cops really need to get educated in what the law forbids and what it permits – if people feel insulted – get over it! It’s a democracy and that means free speech!

  • James Johns

    according to Gods word to be homosexual is wrong

  • Carl Hall

    Well done Rob Hughes and Tony Miano. We must warn people that sin is going to cause them to burn if they don’t first hear the truth of God, and believe that Christ has paid for that debt that is owed. They think because we say say such things that we hate them, when in fact the opposite is true. If we hated, then we would not tell them how to be saved from damnation.

    Carl Hall

  • The “save the badger” people brag that they are willing to go to jail to save those critters – and the anti-fracking folks make the same boasts. What about us Christians? Do we have the guts some crazy badger-lady has? Today’s jails are country club resorts compared to what Saint Paul and the martyrs faced. We should be ashamed of ourselves if we aren’t more than willing to spend a few weeks or months in jail for the gospel of Jesus Christ in this wicked day. Be strong Christians. The end of the Book already says we win – it’s been written down in the infallible KJV in English for over 400 years now. God has ordained that we win, so be strong. God bless this preacher.

  • M. A. Saeger

    Yes indeed.
    Richard Wurmbrand’s life as a martyr and witness for Christ under the worst circumstances (“Tortured for Christ”) makes me ashamed of my lack of strength in Christian life.