Evangelical Alliance Welcomes Decision to Drop Christian Voice Case

The Evangelical Alliance (EA) has welcomed the decision by Cardiff Magistrate's Court to drop the case against Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice.

Green was arrested on 2 September after he refused to stop passing leaflets to festival-goers at the entrance to Cardiff's Mardi Gras gay and lesbian celebration. The leaflets contained Bible passages opposing homosexual activity.

The EA says in a news release that Green's release "affirms that freedom of speech is an historic right and privilege of all citizens".

Green had complied with an earlier order to leave the park grounds but resisted the second order, defending his right to freedom of expression while on public property.

The case highlights the challenge to the police to be judicious in the use of Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986, in respect of "using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress".

Green said he is considering legal action against the South Wales Police for what his solicitor Mark Williams called an "abuse of police powers".

At the time of Green's arrest, a spokesman for the police confirmed the evangelical Christian had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, the Daily Mail reported, but said Mr. Green was arrested because "the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality".

Colin Hart, with the Christian Institute, pointed out that the pamphlet avoided using the strongest biblical quotes against homosexual activity, saying, "This was a very gentle leaflet. There was no use of words like 'perversion.' I have to wonder if churches, bishops and archbishops are now vulnerable to arrest for their views on homosexuality."

The South Wales Police force has stood by the decision to arrest Green, saying although the force has a "proven record" of supporting freedom of expression in marches and demonstrations, South Wales Police were equally proud of "our stand on supporting and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities, especially those who are the victims of prejudice and discrimination, harassment and even hatred."