(OPINION) ETH – A 70 plus year-old Christian in the United Kingdom who is a street preacher was reportedly arrested by police in northwest London on Friday and had to spend the night in jail because he had the audacity to preach what the Bible says about marriage on a public street.
Breitbart reports that Pastor John Sherwood and Pastor Peter Simpson of the Penn Free Methodist Church were seen preaching outside of the Uxbridge Underground Station located in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s own constituency. It is then that Simpson went on to describe what happened to Sherwood in an article for the Conservative Woman website on Tuesday.
Sherwood, who’s in his early 70s, was preaching to people on the final verses found in Genesis 1 of the Bible’s Old Testament. “God’s design in creating mankind was to set human beings in families, headed by a father and a mother, not by two fathers or by two mothers,” he said.
“The distinction within mankind of just two genders, male and female, made in the image of God, constitutes the essence of God’s created order.” It was shortly after this that Simpson reported that a number of police officers showed up and began warning Sherwood that they had received three complaints about his preaching.
It was then that an officer strictly warned him not to make any “homophobic statements.” Sherwood resumed his preaching, speaking on freedom of speech. It was then that bystanders in the crowd shouted that his preaching was “homophobic” and “hate speech,” attracting the officers back to the scene.
It was then that Sherwood was arrested and the incident captured on video by one of the bystanders and shared the incident on social media. In the video, Sherwood is seen standing on a step stool as two police officers are seen talking to him. One police officer who can be heard, asks Sherwood to come down, and the preacher answered him. Then the officer tells Sherwood he is “under arrest” and he needs to “come down.”
Then three police officers are seen pulling Sherwood off the stool. One police officer is seen holding Sherwood’s arm, with the preacher trying to pull his arm up. The incident seems to anger the officer who appears to stop himself from kicking the elderly man. The person holding the camera can be heard yelling at police, “You’re on camera. You’re on camera.”
Two other officers step in to force Sherwood’s hands behind his back, roughly treating him as they put him in handcuffs. “This dignified man of God, who is in his early 70s, was marched off to a nearby police car, as one of the helpers from my church cried out, ‘What has happened to us as a nation that a man can no longer preach from the Bible?'” Simpson recalled.
Christian Concern, a Christian rights watchdog in the UK, tweeted the video of Sherwood’s arrest, writing: “Arrested for preaching the Bible in North West London. Pastor Sherwood is 75, notice how the arresting officer kicks him?” Sherwood reportedly remains under investigation as his case has been forwarded to the Crown Prosecution Service for further review. The 70 plus pastor also spent the night in a detention center located near Heathrow Airport and was not released until noon the following day.