Preacher’s ‘Emotional Harm’ Conviction for Quoting ‘Wrong’ Scripture on Homosexuality Overturned

Overd-compressed (1)TAUNTON, UK — A street preacher in the UK who was charged with making “homophobic” remarks and was ordered to pay a fine for his speech, including to a man to whom he quoted Scripture from the book of Leviticus, has been vindicated of his conviction of causing “emotional harm.”

As previously reported, Mike Overd, a street preacher for five years, was accused of speaking against homosexuality and Islam last June and July on two separate occasions. He was leveled with two charges of using threatening and abusive words and a charge of causing racially or religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress under the Public Order Act.

In March, Judge Shamim Qureshi, a Muslim who also serves as the presiding judge at the Sharia law-based Muslim Arbitration Tribunal, declared Overd guilty of violating the Public Order Act for his remarks to a homosexual man who stopped to talk to him about sexuality.

Qureshi specifically expressed concern that Overd quoted from Leviticus 12:13, which reads, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” He said that the preacher should have selected another verse that was less offensive.

“If Leviticus 20:13 is not considered threatening and abusive words that will be a licence to all and sundry from the drunkard to the violent extremist of any faith to use it as a code word without being convicted of homophobic crime,” Qureshi said in his ruling.

“I cannot interpret the law in the way Mr. Overd and his legal team ask,” he continued. “Such a decision would not be the upholding of equal human rights and would be seized upon by fundamentalists and extremists to be the first step to public disorder.”

But Overd said that he did not quote the second half of the Scripture in witnessing to the man, and doesn’t believe he should be told what he can and can’t cite from the Bible.

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“I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty, but the judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible,” he stated. “This is not free speech but censorship. The judge is redacting the Bible.”

Overd was fined 1,400 British pounds, the equivalent of approximately $2,090 dollars, part of which was to go to the man to whom he had quoted the Scripture. The street preacher initially resisted the fine, but was then threatened with jail time if he did not comply.

Attorneys for Overd appealed, and on Thursday, Circuit Judge David Ticehurst overturned the conviction due to insufficient evidence from the prosecution.

“Today the court was faced with the farcical situation of a witness telling the judge that he couldn’t even remember what I had said, but simply asserting that it was ‘homophobic’ – as though the mere assertion that something is ‘homophobic’ is enough to curtail free speech,” Overd said in a statement. 

“The highly politicized dogma of ‘phobias’ now too often results in trumped up charges and legal action,” he continued. “There is a chilling effect.”

Overd says that he is motivated by love, not hate to preach the gospel on the streets, but that the truth about sin must still be outlined in sharing the full counsel of God.

“My motivation in all my preaching is to share God’s message of love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. To do that I have to talk about the reality of life, including our sinfulness,” he said.

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  • Oboehner

    The term “homophobic” is itself nothing more than an epithet.

  • 201821208 :)

    “For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Rom. 1:26-27

  • Robert Taylor

    Free-speech must be allowed!

  • Becky

    “My motivation in all my preaching is to share God’s message of love and forgiveness through Jesus Christ. To do that I have to talk about the reality of life, including our sinfulness,” he said.”

    Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful. Proverbs 27:6

  • John_33

    I remember hearing about this case a year ago. I’m so glad to hear that it’s finally over!

  • bowie1

    Obviously the plaintiff had a weak, sloppy presentation of their case. But congratulations to the street preacher on being exonerated.

    • “Insufficient evidence” means that there was no case. It’s not the quality of the presentation, but the lack of a case to answer in the presentation. Being exonerated in the face of a lack of evidence is what the court is supposed to do. That they didn’t do this in the first place is a crying shame. That nobody is being investigated for making false claims and passing judgment based on prejudice is very ominous.

      • Jade

        Just curious with the Christmas approaching, what birth narrative do you like better, Matthew’s or Luke”s? Other than Jesus being born In Bethlehem to a virgin named Mary with her husband Joseph, the stories are completely different.

        • Oh, let me answer that for you. If you learned how to script your troll questions that do not speak to the topic at hand you could save yourself the repetitive strain injury from using cut and paste so much. It will not save your soul, but at least your wasted days on earth will be more pleasant.

        • Margo Kadhua Ziro

          Oh Jade, seems that you’re really searching for the sense of scripture. I can only advice you to get in contact with the people with the bible. Google for an SDA church in your near and get some bible lessons.

  • Reason2012

    If you preach the Bible, you are fined, harassed and arrested. If muslims kill you, these same people will then defend muslims.

    • Jade

      Why don’t Christians preach Psalm 137 “Happy is he who takes the infant’s head and smashes it against the rocks”. Why do they pick and choose what scriptures they like?

      • Reason2012

        It doesn’t say infant, it doesn’t say take their head – on that account alone is your first wakeup call that you’re believing a lie about the meaning behind it.

        “O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”
        Psalms 137:8-9

        You were told a twisted interpretation. For the severe slaughter of Israelites, families and children by the Babylons, it’s being pointed out here how the enemies of the Babylons will do likewise to them (“reward” them) and take pleasure in it. It’s not a commandment for us to do so and take pleasure in it, that some seem to take pleasure in this false meaning so they can use it to hide behind their attempt to reject God’s forgiveness for a lifetime of sinning and pretend they’ll be able to get away with it when they face God.

        And what about in our day, the past 40 years? 57 MILLION sons/daughters slaughtered by their own parents, with another million a year in America alone.

        They must have their “truth” they follow that goes something like:

        “Oh sons and daughters of women who couldn’t be bothered letting you live long enough to be adopted, Happy shall they be to slaughter you and have them sold for body parts and be hailed as a good thing while forcing the masses to financially fund this practice”

        Make no mistake: we will be without excuse when we face God. I would think again.

        “[Jesus said] And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.”
        Luke 12:4-5

        • Jade

          You keep apologizing for the scripture and I will keep giving them to you. How do you apologize for God commanding Samuel to have King Saul kill all of the men, women, children and babies from Amalekite nation for attacking the Israelites when they left Egypt 420 years earlier. Do you believe any of the men who attacked them were still alive? I bet they killed the infants by smashing their heads against the rocks.

          • Reason2012

            // You keep apologizing for the scripture and I will keep giving them to you. //

            Who’s apologizing? I’m just showing you how you’re wrong. You make it clear you couldn’t care less that you’re wrong as you try to find another false claim and are clearly just trolling. And that’s what I wanted others to see. Simple google searches will turn out countless explanations of the false claims you’ve been fed. Take care.

          • Jade

            Rather than dismiss this scripture, I would be interested in how apologize for this unjust horrible event. Doesn’t sound like a just God. Perhaps these horrible writings were not inspired by God but actually written by men.

          • Joe

            All scripture is given by inspiration of God,however not all scripture is written to,about or for believers today. Unbelievers love to base their arguments on scripture that does not apply to the church, the body of Christ. Before the cross, Gentiles were without Christ,they were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, strangers from the covenants of promise (to Israel) and without hope or God in this world. Leviticus 20:13 is written to and for Jews who are under the Law of Moses.But just because the Law of Moses is not applicable to believers today Paul, by inspiration of the holy spirit writes, “Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit, a unbeliever will not understand these things and pass it all off as foolishness.

  • John Boyt

    Many wonder why so many North Americans support Putin and
    modern day Russia. Is it because Russia is demonstrating moral authority by
    standing up for their people? Is it not shown over and over again, that Russia is striving to live by the standards of international law that all countries are obligated to follow.

    President Putin has impressed the world with his well thought out responses to questions concerning why Russia is doing what it is doing. Each and every answer is rational, logical, and morally correct. People are impressed with his honesty, his forth rightness, and his genuine concern for the people of Russia, and by extension, I might add, the people of the

    Westerners should realize that the Russian Federation is not the old U.S.S.R. It is a modern state that seeks to live peaceably with others. It is not coveting the resources of others neither is it acting aggressively by establishing bases all over the world, surrounding potential enemies with missiles, some of which could include nuclear warheads.

    On the other hand, in the west the facts reveal an ugly beast that continues to raise its voice and make unjustifiable threats against all that do not conform to their will. The once proud and respected nation known as the United States, no longer exists. It has become a beast thrashing
    about and destroying everything in its path, and then grinding the residue with its feet. Its leadership is no longer respected anywhere, but instead is feared due to the childish rage that flows through its veins when resisted. America has become a beast that lies continually to maintain political correctness rather than national and personal integrity. It fails to see itself as it truly is. A morally bankrupt nation that has thrown out its heritage; a heritage that gave it its greatness. Now it is tossed to and forth, spewing pus in all directions, and trying to convert other nations to its depravity.

    Those living in this once proud nation cannot believe what it has become. Many wonder how in hell did we end up in this mess. For the few whose eyes are open, the current situation pictures Russia as the America of the fifties, and America as the Russia of the same period. It is as if the
    countries switched boots and are now walking in the footsteps of the other. As Russia protects its citizens today, America attacks her own people, killing many in the process. From 911 to GMO non-foods, dangerous vaccines that are destroying the health of its children, to outright police harassment and deadly force; America is busy destroying itself.

    In conclusion, is it any wonder why America yearns for what Russia now has; a leader and a government that protects and cares for its citizens?