A man in the UK was arrested and banned from reading the Bible at St. Paul’s cathedral in London. He was later released and the ban rescinded, but has now given him a “limited” time in which he can preach:
A Christian preacher says that he was banned and initially arrested for reading from the Bible aloud outside St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, after church staff complained. The cathedral later explained it is seeking to provide a “safe space.”
Allan Coote, 55, said that St. Paul’s officials had tried to remove him on 10 out of 11 occasions in the past few months as he read from the Gospels on church property, according to The Sunday Times. On one occasion, he was temporarily arrested.
“It seems to me that they have lost their way,” Coote stated. “They have obviously not understood that the whole reason the Church of England exists is for propagating the Gospel.”
He said that he was reading Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount on the occasion that he was arrested.
The preacher added that he hopes the incident can serve as “a wake-up call for them to start teaching the Bible instead of becoming a museum for visitors to pay money.”
In a statement in The Mail on Sunday, the cathedral defended its decision.
“In order to provide a prayerful and safe space for all, St. Paul’s has a policy of limiting any form of public oration, protest, demonstration, preaching or other source of disturbance to people,” it explained.
“Our policy is to allow a short interval and then ask the person to stop, and to involve the police if they refuse to do so or to move off the cathedral’s land.”
Coote, who works as a bus driver, insisted that he was not disrupting anyone.
“I have a natural booming voice; I can’t naturally speak softly. I think the Lord has gifted me that voice for a reason, so I should go out there to read the Bible publicly. I started at St. Paul’s because it is a public venue where many nations converge,” he added.
The preacher noted that he did not receive complaints from the public in the past.
In a video recording of an earlier incident in April, Coote was asked by church security and police officers to move off of church property if he wanted to preach. As Coote explained that he was only reading straight from the Bible and doing so at a place of worship, one of the police officers supported Coote.
“I am of the opinion that this chap isn’t causing any breach of the peace. This chap isn’t impeding anyone. I am happy for him to stay here,” the officer said. “This chap is reading from the Bible. I feel it would be remiss of me to move him on in a place of worship.”
On that occasion, he was allowed to stay and finish reading a few chapters from the New Testament.
Barnabas Fund, a religious freedom group in the U.K., has defended Coote. Martin Parsons, head of research at the charity, warned that the nation is losing its religious freedom heritage.
“One of the first aspects of freedom of religion to be established in England was the freedom to read the Bible in public. A Royal decree specifically forbade clergy from stopping anyone reading the Bible in public. Now St. Paul’s Cathedral is trying to stop someone reading the Sermon on the Mount in public,” Parsons argued.
The Sunday Times noted that St. Paul’s has now agreed to allow Coote to read from the Bible aloud for half an hour each week. (source)
For centuries, there was the allegation that “the Pope” was the enemy of “Christianity” in England. This was always false, as St. Thomas More noted, that one must serve God and His ways over that of any king. The main enemy in Europe alongside paganism always was those who, in the name of nation and power, would subvert religion to the power of the government so to use religion as a tool to justify government policies.
Christianity in England is for all practical purposes nonexistent any more. However, there are small communities and some people who still practice and believe, albeit in a greatly reduced number. The Church of England, like with all of the nationalized Protestant churches of Europe (Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, etc.), their churches are more museums to the past than a house of worship.
This is not to say that Catholics do not have problems, but that the Protestant situation is far worse. They are in a situation for which it is unlikely that they will recover in a tangible way.
The Cathedral may be concerned with “offending” people, yet this fear of “offense” is merely a reflection of the secular ethos that has brought about so much of the decline of the US. While Christianity binds both the governors and the governed of society together, it also separates between the two, acting as a barrier for the good of both. The subjugation of the church to the state, whether it is by legal order as with the Revolution, or by the establishment of a multiplicity of churches and religions bound by a singular secular ethos that effectively becomes a second religion as in the as USA, always leads to the decline of Christianity and the repaganization of a society.
While one must be wise when preaching and speaking about religion, one must also not shy away from speaking about hard issues even if the message is not liked. By the Cathedral aligning itself with the side of the state, most likely out of self-protection in the event this man said something that might result in government prosecution (such as criticism of the LGBT), they have further reinforced that which King Henry VIII wanted, which was a church who would not question his errors.
The Catholic Church was destroyed in England in the name of “freedom” from “the Pope.” By doing so, it broke be church and state barrier and made the state the master of the church, which is now snuffing what little life is left out of the church.