Published: 14:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 29 September 2011
UK: Police visit Christian cafe owner who displayed Bible verses
Country/Region: United Kingdom, Europe
A Christian cafe owner in Blackpool, England, received a visit from the police after a customer was offended by Bible passages displayed on a TV screen.
Jamie Murray, says the officers did not specify which Bible texts had caused the offence
Owner Jamie Murray said police warned him not to play the DVD of the whole New Testament text on the TV screen in Layton’s Salt and Light Cafe, which opened eight years ago.
Mr Murray said, “I couldn’t believe the police were saying I can’t display the Bible.
“I said ‘Surely it isn’t a crime to show the Bible?’ But they said they had checked with their sergeant and insulting words are a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act. I was shocked.
“I’m not here to insult or offend anyone, but the Bible is the Bible. We’re always being told we’re a tolerant and diverse nation. Yet the very thing that gave us those values – Christianity – is being sidelined.”
The female customer who complained is believed to have contacted police after seeing verses from Romans about sexual immorality.
Lancashire Police confirmed that officers attended the cafe following a complaint about offensive material but denied Mr Murray was asked to stop screening the texts.
A spokesman for the force said: “The officer discussed the matter with the cafe owner and explained to them the legislation that is in place around materials that are displayed or broadcast in a public environment.
“At no point did the officer ask the cafe owner to remove any materials or arrest the man and we took a common sense and objective approach in dealing with the complaint.
“We believe our response was completely proportionate and our officers are always available should the cafe owner want to discuss the matter or need any advice in the future.
“The constabulary is respectful of all religious views; however we do have a responsibility to make sure that material that communities may find deeply offensive or inflammatory is not being displayed in public.”
In 2005, Lancashire Police was forced to pay out £10,000 to Joe and Helen Roberts, a couple from Fleetwood, who were interrogated about alleged homophobic comments after being stopped from placing Christian literature next to gay rights leaflets in Poulton’s civic centre.
Please note: We have no control over other websites and links do not signify that we endorse the website(s). We have no responsibility for the content of the said linked website(s).
Read The Gazette, Blackpool article Police stop cafe displaying bible passages