Alan Clifford – Persecuted for Preaching the Bible


Note: The Libertarian Alliance fully supports Dr Clifford in his struggle for freedom of speech. People should be free to say anything that does not breach some private right. I will make a longer statement tomorrow. For the moment, here is his account of what has happened. SIG

POLICE INTERVIEW of
Dr Alan C. Clifford,
Norwich Reformed Church

Interviewing Officer: PC Arnold (PC1396) of Norfolk Constabulary

Location: Dr Clifford’s home address

Date & Time: Saturday 17 August 2013 at 5.45 pm.

I was informed that a complaint had been made to the Police by the ‘chair person’ of Norwich ‘gay pride’ (Norfolk LGBT Project) about an e-mail sent by me on 29 July. This e-mail consisted of a report sent to editors and others of a Christian witness five of us made against the city-centre ‘gay pride’ demo of the previous Saturday, 27 July 2013. (Since their official pamphlet gave a contact e-address, I decided to include them on the larger list of recipients.) The ‘gay pride’ recipient (or another) found the e-mail’s two attached leaflets offensive. These leaflets were ‘Christ Can Cure – Good News for Gays’ and ‘Jesus Christ – the Saviour we all need’.

PC Arnold said that there was reason to believe that I was chargeable with a homophobic incident, having communicated by electronic means something likely to annoy or cause offence. Accordingly, I had two options. I could admit I’d done wrong and pay an ‘on the spot’ fine of £90.00, or produce a signed statement in defence of our actions. I decided on the latter course.

PC Arnold proceeded to ask me a series of questions. Unfortunately, I was not permitted to make a photocopy of the statement I eventually signed (it then would be a document in the criminal investigation), so the following details from memory simply reflect the main points discussed.

Among other things, I was asked why I had sent this e-mail. Was it to annoy or cause offence? I said, “No. I was reporting to the ‘gp’ people our Christian complaint against the public display of their homosexual propaganda, which we find offensive.”

I was asked if I was aware that I’d committed a homophobic offence, as defined by the official police leaflet now presented to me: “Any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person.”

I rejected the accusation, adding that everything depends on the meaning of ‘homophobia’. Since a ‘phobia’ (from Greek) is ‘a fear’, it does not mean ‘hatred’ in the now commonly-understood use of the term. I certainly fear the influence of homosexuality on society, but this should not be regarded as ‘hatred’ unless criticism is taken to mean ‘hatred’. I reminded the officer that my leaflet was subtitled ‘A Compassionate call to Christian Conversion’. Is that hatred? We don’t hate these people. We love them and want to help them. So, even though the ‘gp’ people are upset, we are guilty of no crime.

I asked the officer that since we are offended by their public display of homosexuality, could we not have made a complaint to the police? He answered that we had such a right to complain.

I then explained that we were perfectly within the law regarding our criticism of homosexuality. Yes, the ‘gp’ people are upset by my leaflets but they contain nothing wrong where the law is concerned. I elucidated this point by quoting as follows:

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), in Handyside v UK (1976), made it clear that freedom of expression embraces not only information and ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive, but also, ‘… those that offend, shock or disturb the state or any sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no democratic society’.

Lord Justice Sedley, in Redmond Bate v DPP (2000), famously said that, ‘Free speech includes not only the inoffensive, but the irritating, the contentious, the eccentric, the heretical, the unwelcome and provocative provided that it does not tend to violence. Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having’.

Therefore we are persuaded that we are guilty of no crime.

I was asked if I wished to contact a solicitor. I said, “No, not at the moment.”

PC Arnold then informed me that a senior officer would decide whether the complaint is sent to the Crown Prosecution Service. A decision on this should be made in about a week’s time.

PC Arnold thanked me for my cooperation, and I thanked him for his courtesy, adding that as Christians we only wish to act with integrity in these matters. With a final ‘thank you’, I said, “God bless you.”

Dr Alan C. Clifford

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27 responses to “Alan Clifford – Persecuted for Preaching the Bible

  1. Then said PC Arnold with a long-drawn sigh,
    “My Oath with long oblivion is gone dry:
    But, fill me with your old familiar Juice.
    methinks I might recover by-and-by.

  2. As a heterosexual nonreligious person -Alan, I ‘m on your side! These people bring homophobia on themselves.

  3. Not being persecuted for preaching but for an email sent to a particular person that was considered an offensive email.

    The gay chap should just have deleted it. That would have been the common sense thing to do. Or he could have replied to the email with I find my lifestyle gratifying. Sorry to read that you find me and others like me offensive to your religious myths. Takes all sorts. In past times your sort would have called for my sort to be imprisoned or executed.

    efgd

  4. This is not about people being offended. It is a political campaign that uses the legal bludgeon of “offence” as a means of furthering its warped agenda. Those who have complained to the police against Dr Clifford intend to ensure that he is silenced. Fortunately, I have a feeling that Dr Clifford is made of stern stuff, and that he believes he has right on his side. However, he probably faces months of waiting to find out whether the CPS want to have their day in court, or whether (as I suspect) the matter will be quietly dropped.

  5. Please don’t give an inch with this Dr Clifford. I’m certain you know just how important it is to remain resolute throughout; if not openly defiant. You can be certain that you have very many supporters both here, there and everywhere.

    I’m beginning to get into the habit of wishing people well after this sort of pc nonsense serves to disrupt their life. Maybe I can also form the habit of adding… God bless you.

  6. Since when do bluebottles have official sanction and a presumably “official” list of leading questions to try and get you to incriminate yourself? What’s this bullshit about statements in defence of your actions–to ordinary plod on your doorstep?. Are they appointing themselves judge and jury with official sanction?.

  7. If pro homosexual act events (such as “Gay Pride” marches) are allowed on the public streets – so must peaceful anti homosexual protests (and so on).

    Either both – or neither.

  8. ”“Any incident which is perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person.””

    Seriously? Is that a straight quote?

    So, according to the pigshit thick plods, accusation is proof of guilt.

    • It is indeed. This liquidic non-definition originated from the Macpherson report, where it was defined in relation to “racist incidents”. Just replace the word “homophobic” with “racist” and you will have the original quotation:

      “His report recommended that racist incidents should be defined as “any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person” and that this definition should be universally adopted by the police, local government and other relevant agencies. Police witnesses noted that, as a result of these changes, reporting of hate crimes has increased to around 60,000 incidents a year (compared with 9,000 across the whole of the United States) and the hate crime detection rate has doubled to about 44%.” (http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmhaff/427/427.pdf)

      In all of the annual CPS reports detailing the number of recorded “hate crimes” in the UK, the same definition of “racism” and “homophobia” can be found. The sham here is that the CPS and its lackeys like to conflate real crimes (i.e. violence) with fake crimes (e.g. insults), under the catch-all banner of “hate crime” or “racist/homophobic incidents”. In the CPS’ own annual reports, there is never a clear demarcation telling us which proportion of the recorded anti-homosexual crimes amount to violence, and how many amount to victimless crimes like the distribution of leaflets by consevative evangelicals.

      All we know is that both are recorded in the same category, allowing the stats to be manipulated with ease by illiberal identity groups whose agenda thrives from misleading headlines and soundbytes about “an increase in violent hate crimes against [x] group”. I suspect it would be more difficult to produce that kind of argument if the CPS made this demarcation, because it is likely that the majority of these “hate crimes” do not involve any violence.

    • “The Association of Chief Police Officers and the CPS have agreed a common definition of hate crime:

      “Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.”” (http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/equality/hate_crime/index.html)

      It becomes longer and more ridiculous each year.

  9. 1) Being accused is now automatically proof of guilt – Equality Act 2010. This is true; it’s not true however if you tweet “White people love to divide and conquer”.
    2) What’s the difference between Plod saying to you “pssst gimme 80 quid and I’ll make this go away…” and plod saying “Give the force 80 quid and we’ll make the charges go away”. If he has committed an offence; surely the ‘victims’ would require justice in the usual manner? (what ever that is nowadays)……I consider this to be corruption, pure and simple.

    • Where in the Equality Act 2010 does it say that being accused is automatically proof of guilt?

    • What the Act says is this:

      136(2) If there are facts from which the court could decide, in the absence of any other explanation, that a person (A) contravened the provision concerned, the court must hold that the contravention occurred.
      136(3) But subsection (2) does not apply if A shows that A did not contravene the provision.

      Being accused is not proof of guilt. The person must demonstrate enough facts to show that there is a case to answer. Only after the person has shown that there is a case to answer does this court have to hold “in the absence of any other explanation” that the court must hold that it occurred.

      Where the other person gives an explanation that may be sufficient to show that there was no contravention.

      So your statement: “Being accused is now automatically proof of guilt – Equality Act 2010. This is true” is not true.

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  11. I regard religion as a considerable nuisance and have no objection to people being as gay as they like….however, what has happened to you must be highlighted and RESISTED. Well done for not caving in to these idiots.

    • What a lovely comment! “religion as a considerable nuisance and have no objection to people being as gay as they like” Could not agree more.

      I’m also with the good Dr Clifford. Let him send his nuisance emails.

  12. Reposted comment from later blog post on same subject:

    “I concur wholeheartedly with your position here. As an Austro-libertarian with a strong affinity to Rothbardian thinking, I believe Everyman has the right to own and express his own opinion, however offensive and wrong-headed others might find it to be.

    On the basis of the non-aggression principle, one’s opinions should only become a legal issue to wider society when they incite or threaten violence against the person or persons targeted. Simply to express a religious or philosophical position on a given subject should never been seen as cause for initiating legal proceedings. (It falls of course within the remit of the practitioners of jurisprudence to ascertain when some remark or comment oversteps the line between fair comment and incitement.)

    If people find Dr Alan Clifford’s position offensive, then they are free to either engage with it intellectually or ignore it. Alternatively they have as much right as he to publish their own opinion on the matter. Conversely though, the political activism of the Tatchells of this world, though understandable, does a great disservice to the cause of gay emancipation, especially in religious circles. It only polarizes the debate further and legitimizes the usurped authority of the violent criminal class operating from Westminster.

    As a man with a very strong and active biblical faith, I understand entirely the orthodox position put forward by Clifford – love the sinner, hate the sin, and all that. I believe in all sincerity in his God-given right to publicly express that position. However, the fact that I am also gay gives me a particularly keen insight into this matter.

    You see, for many people, this is an intellectual, theological or philosophical issue. A discussion point to be thrashed about so we can arrive a formulaic mantra for the benefit of herd cohesion. To those like Clifford who address this subject in public ways, however well-meaningly, I would say ‘you talk about it like you read it in a book’. For me it’s not intellectual fodder – it’s my life.

    It cuts me to the very core of my being when people for whom this is an intellectual exercise talk so glibly about ‘being gay’. When you have been the subject of so much ridicule and vitriol from all sides all your life, then your opinion might carry more weight with me. Until then, I just say ‘yea right, whatever’.

    For those of you out there whose curiosity is triggered by my position, check out a website I’ve found extremely helpful on this matter (http://www.gaychristian101.com/).

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  17. Why is the Christian blogosphere not shouting out about this from the rooftops? Is it really the case that too many are afraid to put their heads above the parapet and have like the famous description of a long forgotten bishop in Crockford’s Clerical Directory, their colours nailed fimrly to the fence.

    • Marek Novotny

      ”Why is the Christian blogosphere not shouting out about this from the rooftops?”
      Because the Church [ in the UK, least-it’s slightly different in the USA ] has, for many years, settled on the ‘principle’ of ‘you don’t harm me and I won’t disturb you’. Sodomites are now going after some individual Christians like hyenas [ I hesitate to call these people, ‘lions’] and they attack unprotected weak things separated from the herd. Apart from one or two honourable exceptions, other Christians, in recognising their own weak position, fail to respond to these attacks through fear that they might be next. Apathy and fear-the traits of the UK as a whole, I think and no different for the UK Church, unfortunately.

      • Marek Novotny

        Also, I, myself, have written about these sorts of issues many times, especially to the Daily Mail online forum. I found opinions either edited
        [ eg. changing a word ] or, more usually, just not published.

  18. Why are Christians not standing up for the traditional teaching on homosexual acts? One might as well ask why are Christians not protesting against Islamic persecution (rape, murder, mutilation….).

    Whatever religion people claim to believe in – the real religion of our time is P.C.ism

    This is inspite of the many contradictions in this religion of P.C.ism – for example it is wrong (unacceptable) for a Christian to preach against homosexual acts, but O.K. (nothing to even mention – let alone get upset about) for the forces of Islam to MURDER homosexuals.

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