April 29, 2021
A Christian pastor in the UK was arrested by police after a member of the public reported him for the “homophobic” comment of saying that marriage was between a man and a woman.
The disgraceful incident occurred outside Uxbridge Station in west London. A video clip shows the 71-year-old pastor being confronted by police. An officer rips a Bible from the pastor’s hands. Other officers then join in forcefully handcuffing the preacher and leading him away. Two women can be heard shouting “this is a Christian country” as police lead the elderly preacher away.
The pastor, John Sherwood was later questioned in a police station and held overnight after being accused of making homophobic comments.
“I wasn’t making any homophobic comments, I was just defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. I was only saying what the Bible says – I wasn’t wanting to hurt anyone or cause offense,” said John Sherwood, who has been a pastor for 35 years.
“I was doing what my job description says, which is to preach the gospel in open air as well as in a church building,” he added.
Police said they had received complaints the man had been making ‘allegedly homophobic comments’ and arrested him under the vague Public Order Act, which can be used to arrest someone who is using “abusive or insulting words” that cause “harm” to someone else.
“When the police approached me, I explained that I was exercising my religious liberty and my conscience. I was forcibly pulled down from the steps and suffered some injury to my wrist and to my elbow. I do believe I was treated shamefully. It should never have happened.”
The Metropolitan Police said a member of the public flagged down patrol officers and alleged Mr. Sherwood had made homophobic remarks.
Although the pastor was released without charge after spending a night in jail he is still under investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service and could be charged at a later date.
Mr. Sherwood said officers grilled him over his attitude to gay people. He was even asked what he would do if his children were gay. The married father-of-two said: ‘The question was irrelevant to the allegation against me. I said I would seek to bring them to Christ, but of course I would love them no matter what, because they’re my children.”
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said its directorate of professional standards had assessed video footage of Mr. Sherwood’s arrest and had found no evidence of misconduct by officers.
The UK is notorious for thought crime laws that are couched as “hate crimes.” In 2010, another Christian pastor was arrested after preaching that homosexuality is a sin. In 2017, a preacher was locked up after he quoted the Bible to a gay teen. Several months ago, a pastor was threatened with jail time unless he stopped “offending” the gay community.
A man who was with Pastor Sherwood during the arrest later wrote:
“This arrest of a faithful minister for doing nothing other than declaring what the Bible teaches about one of the important moral issues of our time reveals a dangerous assault upon freedom of speech and, not least, upon the freedom of Christian pastors to declare in public all that the Bible teaches. The State has no right to designate that some parts of God’s word are no-go areas.”
Watch the arrest here: