American Evangelist Arrested in London for Preaching Homosexuality is a Sin

Tony Miano, a retired deputy sheriff from Los Angeles County, Calif., was arrested in London, England, earlier this week for preaching on abstaining from sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, in downtown Wimbledon. He was found to be in violation of Public Order Act Section 5, for “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult,” Miano said in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.
Preaching from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Miano spoke about sexual sins for 25 minutes before being cut off by Metropolitan Police officers who said that although preaching in itself is not an offense, the specific part of the Bible he was preaching from was interpreted as homophobic by the woman who called to complain.”  More here…

As committed Christ followers, we better start getting use to these headlines.  Are we only to be general in our condemnation of sexual sins?  Can’t we be as specific as the Apostle Paul was in Romans 1, in condemning specific sexual sins?  Or must we go on fearing the government?

The preacher of the Word will have to decide.

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25 Responses to American Evangelist Arrested in London for Preaching Homosexuality is a Sin

  1. Colin says:

    I will not pretend there is an easy and non platitudenous answer to this one. And increasingly in the UK freedom of speech is being restricted against those (well Christians mainly) with absolute views who question a “dictatorship” of “absolute relativism” to use a book title by Chris Stefanick. This post comes just as I constructed and ran a short cafe style service last week on the topic of standing up and being the odd one out. Core text Matt 5 v 11-12. We do not seek confrontation and persecution but could it be that the time is coming when we must be ready to stand up and be counted. How should I myself apply that? And there was Peter before the Sanhedran in Acts.

    That said i have also asked myself if there may be a case for applying a Pauline principle. He made use of his Roman citizenship to stop a beating and discomfort, briefly perhaps, the authorities and later appealed to Caesar. If we find ourselves facing action, should we consider filing a complaint against our accusers on similar grounds including causing offence to a minority, infrigement of our “rights” or whatever. Though the more recent rulings from UK and European Courts at least, do not give much cause for hope, Michael O’Leary of Ryanair would argue any publicity is a good thing! Again I have not worked out an answer. suggestions on a postcard please?

    • TC says:

      Colin, I quite agree what we must not seek out confrontation and ensuing persecutions as a result, but as you rightfully stated, we must take a stand. Are we to compromise, to cover in our pulpits and so on, fearing who might be in attendance?

      When Paul made use of his Roman citizenship, it was not because he didn’t expect beatings and discomforts for standing up for the cause of Christ. He expected as much and worse (Acts 9).

      But I do find it interesting that you put our “rights” in quotes, as if to concede on the one hand that as sojourners, we really don’t have such.

      Isn’t it possible that we’re assessing this whole matter of Christian persecution the wrong way? Is it that we have been favored so long that we really believe in certain “rights” to be allowed to hold our convictions without hostility and possible persecutions?

      Prayer for much needed wisdom is what we need in these ominous days.

  2. Jon Hughes says:

    Two things:

    1) This man is not the Apostle Paul. Funny how in that very same passage Paul encouraged the Thessalonians to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business…” The import of that passage surely couldn’t apply to our evangelist, could it?

    2) I’ve seen evangelists before at the Wimbledon Championships. It’s usually more about their egos than the ‘burden of the Lord’, believe me. Look, I don’t know this man personally, but can’t people take a break from their busy lives to watch some fantastic tennis without being disturbed by a man having a rant? Twenty five whole minutes actually sounds like remarkable British restraint from the queueing public 😉

    I truly hope we’re not developing a persecution complex.

    • TC says:

      Jon, when we quote Paul, let’s do so in context. That 1 Thessalonian passage is dealing with those who are refusing to work and want to eat. Furthermore, it is an in-house issue-hardly to do with the American evangelist who got arrested.

      I agree, as Colin also intimated, neither should we maliciously go out looking for confrontation and persecution.

      • Jon Hughes says:

        TC,

        If it’s an in-house issue, why is the evangelist using it as a text to have a go at the general public during a tennis tournament? If you like, you can argue that I’m using the passage in the same out of context manner as the evangelist 😉

    • Simon says:

      Jon, I think you’re right.

      The key difference between what St Paul was doing in Romans and what this evangelist was doing is that Paul was addressing the Church, the community of believers. This evangelist was not. The announcement of the Gospel is not the same as a public condemnation of homosexuality or any other sin. Paul was talking to the Church here. The Church should live up to a higher standard that the wider community. Elsewhere Paul says this: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”

  3. quietdove says:

    Do you think that the members of the Westboro Baptist Church shouldn’t have legal action against them, since they’re just preaching that homosexuality s a sin, too? Or what about White Supremacists who are members of the Christian Identity church, should they not have to face legal action for their bigotry, since it comes from the Bible, too? Or will you admit that bigotry (including anti-gay bigotry) is never okay, even if it comes from the Bible?

    • TC says:

      I’m never in support of bigotry. I don’t think this post gives off that impression either. Hate language against anyone, whether on we’re talking homophobic, racist, sexist, and so on, are ALL wrong.

      Now if this American evangelist came over as a hate monger and goes looking for a fight, then that is a different matter. It’s not the way of love. I’m not in favor of Westboro Baptist style in any for or fashion.

      • quietdove says:

        Tell me, how is it not hateful to preach that homosexuality is a sin? I mean, homosexuality isn’t a choice and it can’t be changed, so how is preaching that homosexuality is a sin any different than preaching that being black is a sin? After all, your skin color also isn’t a choice and can’t be changed.

  4. Colin says:

    My reflections on how we might react to those who challenge and arrest us for our faith were indeed a bit toungue in cheek. But I got a reaction! Paul made use of his roman Citizenship, in particular to get to Rome to preach the Gospel! And he knew what risks he was taking. But I do wonder if it opens the possibility of ourselves using the legislation which others use against us. After all Abu Hamza and others were allowed for a long time to preach their messages of hate against all infedils before they were caught up on wider security and terrorist grounds. And even this guy if he stuck to the text would not have been preaching hate. The law is not always applied even handedly here – some of the distinctions made in rulings have been highly questionable bordering partisan.

    That said as TC suggests, as does my use of Matthew 5 last Sunday, persecution is to be expected, even though we do not explicity seek it out. And we have had an easy run in the Western democracies for a long time.

    I am not a tennis fan – I leave that to my wife – and have never been to Wimbledon. I will bow to Jon’s knowledge on that one. Having seen soapbox style preachers at work ing in other places, including my own Watford, I can appreciate his para 2.

    to return to TC prayer for wisdom is indeed needed in these days.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      Colin,

      I wish it weren’t the case, but I’ve had my fill of provocative, in your face, full of themselves, self-appointed Ezekiel-watchmen types who look down on other believers for not being as rude as themselves. I know one personally in Oxford Street who got an ASBO for being offensive to a number of by-passers, and then took pride in the fact that he was being persecuted for righteousness-sake. This same character was walking past the Wimbledon queue with his megaphone a few years back when I was there with my brother. From his rhetoric, the entire queue was going to hell – including myself – the assumption being that any truly born again person would be on a megaphone, like him, shouting at people rather than doing anything so carnal as hoping to have a good day out watching the tennis.

      He’s hardly an isolated case. Space does not permit further anecdotes 😉

  5. TC says:

    Jon, did you open your Bible and read the text. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 is addressing sexual sins and so on. The text you quoted about leading a quiet life is 2 Thessalonians 3. Come on, bro. Open your Bible!

    Now the only objection I see here is that his presentation may not have been in the spirit of Christ love.

    Colin and Jon,

    Are marketplace preaching, ala Acts 17:17, a thing of the past, not to be engaged in, because of the times in which we live?

  6. TC says:

    “Tell me, how is it not hateful to preach that homosexuality is a sin? I mean, homosexuality isn’t a choice and it can’t be changed, so how is preaching that homosexuality is a sin any different than preaching that being black is a sin? After all, your skin color also isn’t a choice and can’t be changed.”

    QL,

    If God approves homosexuality in his Word, then you’re correct. Who am I or anyone else, to argue against God and his will?

    Now if you’re someone willing to equate being black with a person’s sexual preference, then that is a path you will have to tread without me. I refuse to engage in such a discussion.

    • quietdove says:

      Why do you think it’s wrong to compare someone’s sexual orientation to their skin color?

      Also, have you ever actually studied the history and context of all of the supposed “anti-gay” Bible verses? Heck, have you ever even read those verses in the original Greek and Aramaic (before they were translated a million times), and do you know what the words “arsenokoitai” and “malakoi” mean? Or do you just take those verses at face value, even though that just gives you an incredibly shallow interpretation of them?

      • TC says:

        QL,

        Speaking for myself, I cannot maintain an intellectual honesty in comparing being black with someone’s sexual orientation. I simply cannot. Others are able. But I cannot. So there you go.

        I read Greek and Hebrew (the predominant language of the OT, a few places contain Aramaic), though I am more proficient in Greek. These issues are not new to me. I’ve engaged at these efforts to reconstruct the text of Scripture before. So I agree to disagree based on my Christian convictions.

      • quietdove says:

        Why is it so hard for you to understand why homosexuality is like being black? What, specifically, is it about that that makes you so confused or uncomfortable?

        And are you saying that your convictions are more important than actual facts are? You can’t even be sure that your convictions come from God, so why should they count for anything at all?

  7. TC says:

    QL,

    I’m neither confused nor uncomfortable. I’ve said all that I need to say on the issue here. Let’s just agree to disagree, shall we?

    • quietdove says:

      Why are you so unwilling to explain yourself, though? I don’t understand why you just expect me to accept your blind hatred, especially when you’re unwilling to even explain why you hold the hateful views that you do.

  8. Jon Hughes says:

    TC,

    Please check it yourself. The verse is actually 1 Thessalonians 4:11 – part of the same “in house” passage that the evangelist used to have a go at members of the general public in Wimbledon. Why don’t you follow through what I’ve written above again?

    If it’s “in house”, then by your own reasoning it’s not the most appropriate passage to use against outsiders. And yes, I do open my Bible, bro 🙂

    As for reasoning in the marketplace, I’m all for it. One-on-one conversations in an atmosphere of gentleness and respect are God-given. I’ve done a lot of ‘tracting’ in my time, and many fantastic opportunities have resulted.

    • quietdove says:

      Do you not realize how pushy it is to hand out tracts? I mean, it’s not as though you can prove that your beliefs are “the truth.” Yet tracts are based on that very assumption. Sure, you might have a very strong feeling that your beliefs are the truth, and you might blindly believe that the Bible is true because it claims to be true, but feelings and blind beliefs are not the same thing as facts.

      Also, most tracts present fear-based reasons to convert, such as the looming threat of hellfire. How can you be okay with the idea of toying with people’s emotions in an attempt to try to get them to convert? Can you not see how manipulative and just plain creepy that is?

    • TC says:

      Jon, I was wrong about that reference. You’re correct. Yes, much of my discussion above has been nullified.

      Then he went looking for a fight?

      • Jon Hughes says:

        TC,

        Don’t know about this particular guy, but I do sense a certain mentality among some brethren to go looking for persecution on this issue. Interestingly, vs 12 of our text says to “walk properly toward those who are outside”. We certainly shouldn’t be setting out to confirm people’s preconceptions (rightly or wrongly) that we’re homophobic.

  9. TC says:

    Jon, I tend to see a difference between between what we call homophobic and calling such sexual choice a sin. There is clearly a difference in tone and spirit for me.

    • Jon Hughes says:

      TC,

      I take your point. But we seem to be getting a reputation for focusing on this particular sin. (That’s what gives people the impression we’re being homophobic.) There are plenty of other sins closer to home in church circles that don’t get anywhere near the same amount of attention. Didn’t Paul write elsewhere that it was not his business to judge those outside? Why don’t we focus on setting our own house in order first?

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