Last month, British police arrested a man for reading the Bible outside of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The police officer asked the preacher to move off of cathedral property at the request of church staff. When the man refused, he was arrested for a “breach of the peace.” In a statement to PJ Media, the cathedral defended its actions, but went on to say that it worked out a deal with the preacher to allow him to read the Bible going forward.
“Why am I having a problem reading the Bible, the Word of God, when the Lord has told me to read the Bible here?” the preacher asked the policeman in a video of the incident.
“Security staff here have asked me to move you off the property,” the cordial policeman replied. “Staff here have asked you to leave.” The officer suggested that all the preacher needed to do was move a few feet. “All you need to do to save any kind of breach of the peace and anyone getting in any trouble is to move your location.”
To this, the preacher refused. “Then we’re going to have to arrest you for breach of the peace,” the officer responded.
“Yeah, you’ll have to do that to me. You’ll have to take me in, because I’m not moving,” the Bible reader responded. “The Lord has asked me to read the Bible here. These people need to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. You’re not allowing them to hear it.”
The preacher went on. “This Bible is all I’m reading. It’s the King James Bible, which is authorized by the Queen.”
Later, the Bible reader became more belligerent. “You are trespassing on God’s authority,” he told the policeman. “I am telling you, sir — I know you’re police, I appreciate your work — I am not committing a crime. I am giving the word of God and that is not a crime.”
As the preacher turned back to read the Bible, the policeman arrested him, and a woman filming the encounter asked, “Are you saying reading the Bible is breaching the peace?”
The Cathedral argued that it was breaching the peace, but not because he was reading the Bible.
“In order to provide a prayerful and safe space for all, including on the cathedral’s land at the entrances to the building, St. Paul’s Cathedral has a policy of limiting any form of public protest, demonstration, preaching or other source of disturbance to people outside the cathedral,” a St. Paul’s spokesperson told PJ Media on Thursday.
“The Chapter’s policy is to allow a short interval and then ask the person to desist, and to involve the police if they refuse to stop or to move off the cathedral’s land,” the spokesperson added.
Then the cathedral spokesperson directly addressed the incident. “The police are supportive of this policy and on one occasion briefly arrested a man who had persistently returned to read loudly passages from the Bible because he was refusing to respond to police requests from Cathedral staff to move on.”
The cathedral made peace with the street preacher afterwards. “After this incident, the man concerned had a meeting with one of the Cathedral clergy, following which the Chapter agreed to suspend its policy for this particular person so that he could read the Bible, as requested, for half an hour outside the cathedral once a week.”
The cathedral ended its statement by insisting that it upholds the Bible. “The Bible, including the King James version, is read within the cathedral at every one of the four weekday services, five on Sundays,” the statement concluded.
Last October, on the 500th anniversary of Reformation leader Martin Luther nailing the “95 Theses” to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany, conservative Anglicans protested the British church’s growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexual activity. Both practices contradict clear Bible teachings.
“When the church redefines sin and eliminates repentance, it can no longer offer the good news of eternal salvation from sin in Jesus; the church no longer remains distinctly Christian; it is no longer salt and light in the world,” the Reformation-style declaration read.
“Where leaders refuse to repent and submit themselves to the Word of God, the Lord raises up new leadership for His church and new structures: just as He did through Martin Luther 500 years ago,” the statement ominously declared.
One of these protest documents appeared on the doors of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which was the tallest building in London from 1710 to 1867 and remains the second-largest church building in Britain. A symbol of British identity, St. Paul’s hosted the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill, and Margaret Thatcher.
Following the unbiblical trend in favor of LGBT issues, St. Paul’s Cathedral has an LGBTQ ministry called “Integrity.” In 2012, the new dean of St. Paul’s, Rev. Dr. David Ison, said the Church of England should embrace gay marriage.
“We need to take seriously people’s desire for partnership and make sure that the virtues that you see in married relationships are available to people who are gay,” Ison declared. “You can regard two Christian gay people as wanting to have the virtues of Christian marriage.” He also insisted that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.
It remains unclear whether this street preacher who insisted on reading the Bible is part of the same protest movement regarding St. Paul’s Cathedral’s acceptance of LGBT identity, but given the cathedral’s original hostility to him and given his insistence on reading the Bible as if it were not being preached there, it stands to reason.
Watch the video of the police altercation below.