The website of Richard Dawkins is full of the story of a pensioner in Lincolnshire who has allegedly been told by police not to display an ‘insulting’ poster rubbishing religion.
The story has also appeared on the website of the National Secular Society.
Atheists have been desparate to find just one case where the police try to use Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 against one of their own, in order to counterbalance the multitude of recorded heavy-handed police actions against Christian preachers.
Now they think they have it. John Richards, of Vauxhall Road, Boston, has been told that if he displays in his window a modest A4 landscape paper with the words ‘Religions are fairy stories for adults’ he could be in breach of the Section’s provisions which state that:
‘a person is guilty of an offence if they display a sign which is threatening or abusive or insulting with the intent to provoke violence or which may cause another person harassment, alarm or distress.’
The Boston Standard makes it clear that Lincolnshire Police have said they will only attend if someone makes a complaint. In a statement, they said: ‘If a complaint is received by the police in relation to a sign displayed in a person’s window, an officer would attend and make a reasoned judgement about whether an offence had been committed under the Act.’
So yet again, Section 5 is not the great bogey-man some are pretending it is. The Police and CPS quite often prosecute Christians under it – this author was prosecuted under Section 5 in 2006 – but to our knowledge, with the exception of Harry Hammond in Bournemouth, and his was a special case, not least because he died before an appeal could be heard - not one person has been convicted.
We need to realise the true reason the National Secular Society want Section 5 amended is that the constant stream of stories of police clamp-downs on freedom of speech against Christians is a thorn in their flesh, garnering public sympathy and publicity for the Christian viewpoint.
Unlike Peter Tatchell, who although wrong is at least honest, It is not remotely because they champion freedom of speech for their opponents.
For most people, and certainly most Christians, the truly laughable aspect of this poster is that it is written by a man who, if he is like every atheist this author has met, believes the fairy stories of abiogenesis and evolution.
If he is true to his preconceptions and if he has actually thought about it, by rejecting the reality of a creator God, John Richards believes that nothing exploded and became everything, that life just happened spontaneously, that fish grew legs and lungs for no apparent reason and decided to walk around on the sea-shore, that whales, fed up with life on land, swivelled their spines round, grew flippers, developed blow-holes and resistance to water pressure and flopped back into the sea, that bats were rats who grew wings (overnight or over millions of years and how did they get around with no front legs and emergent non-functioning wings?), and so on and so on into millions of totally farcical scenarios.
The Bible says: The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).
The truth is that the poster is truly insulting. It is an insult to the intelligence. But what do you expect from an atheist?
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