(Bethany Blankley) On May 18, 2014 Belfast Pastor James McConnell could not have known that the sermon he preached, “There is but One God,” would lead to his prosecution on two counts for violating Northern Ireland’s Communications Act of 2003. A guilty verdict carries a punishment of six months in prison and a hefty fine. In his sermon he called Islam “satanic” and “a doctrine spawned in hell.” He preached that the one true God is not Allah and that Christians are being persecuted for rejecting Islam.
McConnell led Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle Belfast for 57 years. It is now one of the largest evangelical congregations in the U.K. McConnell was served papers nearly 18 months after he preached this sermon. The trial did not take place until December 2015. Prior to court proceedings, McConnell was given the option to sign an admission of guilt, otherwise called an “informed warning,” to avoid prison. McConnell refused and was prosecuted instead. Of his refusal, he told the Belfast Telegraph,”I am 78 years of age and in ill health but jail knows no fear for me. They can lock me up with sex offenders, hoodlums and paramilitaries and I will do my time. I have no regrets about what I said. I do not hate Muslims but I denounce Islam as a doctrine and I make no apologies for that. I will be pleading ‘not guilty’.” READ MORE