Man threatened with arrest for displaying text of Bible

A café owner in Blackpool, England named Jamie Murray routinely plays in his café a DVD in which the entire New Testament is read. He keeps the sound down, but the program shows the text on the screen against a pictorial backdrop. Two police officers came by his café and subjected him to an “aggressive inquisition” for an hour, warning him that someone had complained that the DVD was offensive. As Murray told the Daily Mail:

I said, “Are you really telling me that I am facing arrest for playing the Bible?” and the WPC fixed me with a stare and said, “If you broadcast material that causes offence under the Public Order Act then we will have to take matters further. You cannot break the law.”

So, in order not to be arrested in front of his customers, Murray agreed to turn off the program.

They left the shop and told me they would continue to monitor if we were displaying inflammatory material. At no stage had they spoken to me like I was a law-abiding citizen trying to earn a living. I felt like a criminal.

While the officers did not inform Murray what precisely in the New Testament had given offense, he guesses that it was the passage in Chapter One of Paul’s Letter to the Romans condemning homosexuality—which, by the way, is the only passage in the New Testament I can think of that deals with that subject. Maybe if that passage were edited out, the DVD would be allowed? Just joking. The entire New Testament is an offense.

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Jeanette V. writes:

The police have since apologized after the bad publicly this story generated.

Mark L. writes:

Romans 1 is certainly forceful in its denunciation of homosexuality, but the theme is also treated in 1st Corinthians, where Paul’s pronouncement is no less categorical:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9-10)

Perhaps some (liberals, gays) might be inclined to hope for some wiggle room, reasoning that since it’s only Paul who treates homosexuality in the NT, then if we could somehow just marginalize Paul as a bigoted homophobe, we could dismiss his teachings on the subject and just follow Jesus himself.

Not a chance. The reason Christ didn’t address the topic is that his teachings were given mainly among a Jewish audience for whom homosexuality was near universally regarded as aberrant and sinful behavior. It just wasn’t the done thing in the Jewish world (at that time), so no teaching needed to be given on it. In contrast, Paul’s writings on the subject are to a mixed audience (Jew and Gentile, though more Gentile) existing in a Greco-Roman milieu. There, homosexuality was quite common, and he doesn’t shy away from speaking out against it.

Of course, Paul wasn’t just a crank or a complete downer who never had anything positive to say. Consider his next verse:

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:11)

Mike writes:

You appear to be correctly indicating that the entire Bible is offensive to liberals, but that Romans Chapter 1 is the only passage in the New Testament specifically condemning homosexual conduct.

In fact, there are others, including the following (from the English Standard Version):

1 CORINTHIANS 6:9: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

JUDE 1:7: ” … just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”

I have not included the numerous passages throughout the New Testament (including statements from Christ himself) condemning sexual immorality generally—which would unquestionably have been deemed by first century Jews to include homosexual conduct.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at October 12, 2011 02:04 PM | Send

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