Lawyers representing the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have said that some verses in the Bible are ‘no longer appropriate to modern society’ after a street preacher was arrested.
John Dunn, aged 55, was arrested in Swindon after being accused of homophobia.
The Special Forces veteran was preaching on 1st November 2020 when two women walked past holding hands. He called out: “I hope you are sisters.”
The couple are in a same-sex marriage, prompting Mr Dunn to respond: “the Bible says that homosexuals will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
They then accused Dunn of homophobia, after which he was arrested for hate speech.
The case was settled prior to a court appearance but in the intermediary period, lawyers for CPS told Dunn’s legal team: “There are references in the Bible which are simply no longer appropriate in modern society and which would be deemed offensive if stated in public.”
Speaking to Premier Christian News, Tim Dieppe – head of public policy at Christian Concern, a group supporting Dunn, said: “This is an extraordinary thing for CPS to state because they're saying that it should be illegal to quote certain parts of the Bible in public.
“That is an incredible position for them to take.
“The Bible's got a very long history in our law and our Constitution.
“The Bible was presented to the Queen with these words: ‘To Keep Your Majesty ever mindful of the law and the gospel of God as the rule for the whole of life…
“The Bible was presented to the Queen as like the most vital thing in the world, and the lively oracles of God.
“Now you've got the CPS saying, of course, the Bible in public could be an offence, or should be an offence or, is actually illegal in some form or other.
“This an extraordinary thing for them to claim.”
Responding the allegations, CPS were keen to clarify that the comments were made in a document sent to the defence, and not in court, in order to draw comparisons to ideas and practices they deem to no longer be acceptable.
A spokesperson said: “On the day of the trial the complainants could not be located to provide vital evidence for the prosecution, which resulted in us offering no evidence.
“It is not the function of the CPS to decide whether a person is guilty of a criminal offence, but to make fair, independent and objective assessments of the evidence to put our case before the court.”