Gay men ‘told they would burn in hell by preacher’ – Preacher now in court.

The BBC reports on the trial of Michael Overd, 47, from Creech St Michael. (That’s him pictured here)

He stands accused of verbally abusing Craig Manning and Craig Nichol last July in the town’s high street. This however is not about Craig and Craig taking offense because they just happened to overhear some anti-gay rant from a bible thumping street preacher. As the case has proceeded it has become quite clear that this religious lunatic knew Craig and Craig and was specifically targeting them  in public….

The court also heard it was the second time the pair had been targeted, after an occasion when Mr Overd saw them holding hands in October 2010.

Giving evidence, Mr Nichols said: “He said ‘I have already told these two sinners over here that they are going to burn in hell‘.

He looked at us and pointed at us when he said it. His voice was quite loud and very clear.

I felt angry, embarrassed and ashamed. It was a really busy day and I felt that everyone was looking at us when he was saying these things to us.

I asked him who he was to judge me and he said ‘It’s God’s words, it is in the Bible’. He said I should repent and ask God for forgiveness.

No verdict yet, when we get one, I’ll update you. The trial continues right now (Fri 10th Feb 2012).

Like many, he believes that being gay makes you wicked and evil, yet his only justification for that is because the bible says so. Such a stance makes him an immoral homophobic religious lunatic. The bible does indeed say in Leviticus 20:13 , “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination“. However, just to put it in context, this same book also advises in chapter 11 that eating shellfish is an abomination (will he be standing outside fish restaurants yelling abuse at all inside?), and also strongly endorses slavery as a rather good idea, so if this chap is indeed basing his code of ethics upon this text, then he will be a truly scary and utterly deranged individual.

I believe in freedom of thought, and so I’m happy for him to believe whatever he wishes, even if it is quite obviously immoral and wrong. What he does not get to do is to go out into high-street and start yelling abuse and verbally attacking random members of the public. “Oh”, some cry, “That is a breach of his freedom of speech?”. Actually no, it is not, if he wishes to preach, he is quite free to do so. He can also invite folks to attend his church, rent a hall, publish a book, write an article, go to speakers corner, etc … what he does not get to do is to randomly yell abuse. Not sure about that? OK, think of it like this, he has a dick, it can be legitimately used, amongst other things, for both waste disposal or reproduction purposes, but he does not get to whip it out in public and flash it at random strangers in the local high street.

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