Pastor Says UK Needs New Free Speech Law Protecting Bible Reading in Public After His Arrest

A Christian preacher from East London who was arrested last week and banned from preaching outside St. Paul’s Cathedral, says the U.K.’s Parliament needs to pass a new law protecting the right to proclaim the Bible in public.

Allen Coote, a 55-year-old bus driver who was reported to authorities by church staff, is backing a new campaign stared by the U.K.-based religious freedom group Barnabas Fund to urge the country’s Parliament to enact a new law to protect the right to publicly preach from the Bible, according to Premier.

Martin Parsons, the charity’s head of research, has said, “One of the first aspects of freedom of religion to be established in England was the freedom to read the Bible in public. A Royal decree specifically forbade clergy from stopping anyone reading the Bible in public. Now St. Paul’s Cathedral is trying to stop someone reading the Sermon on the Mount in public.”

“I can’t see why there was a problem,” Coote was quoted as saying. “Nobody [members of the public] actually complained. I’m not sure why they wanted to take action on me but I felt it was right for me to read the Bible and I’ve been doing it since.”

St. Paul’s officials had tried to stop Coote from reading the Bible aloud to passersby on church property for 10 out of 11 times in the past few months. Once he was temporarily arrested and later allowed to preach for only up to 30 minutes in a week outside the cathedral.

“The Bible says to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature,” Coote continued. “Now, there are many people on the concourse of St Paul’s that come … from all nations of the world and I was just basically [saying] what they should hear. Some of them were really pleased to stop and just listen to me reading from the Bible aloud outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, after church staff complained. The cathedral later explained it is seeking to provide a ‘safe space.'”

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Source: Christian Post

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