Street Preachers Arrested

I wrote to the Ministry of Justice this week regarding the case of Mike Overd and Michael Stockwell who were arrested while preaching in Bristol in the summer. They have been convicted of a ‘religiously aggravated’ public order offence. The pair have been fined and ordered to pay hefty costs running into thousands.

Although I acknowledge that street preaching can be conducted in an insensitive, unnecessarily aggressive manner, I will always defend the right of people to share their faith. I also wrote to the local Chief Inspector who seemed to take great delight in the conviction, boasting of the city’s ‘diversity’. He apparently sees no irony in his claim that the arrests and prosecutions helped ‘to keep the city free from intolerance’. I pointed out to him that in the 1550s, his predecessors also set about the business of arresting Christians in Bristol. His words, I told him, are chilling indeed. I await the response.