Questionable Religious Beliefs: Watch Out, You Might Go To Jail Over Them

by Christine DeSadeleer Oct 29, 2009
Beware spouting misinformed religious information in semi-public, especially if you are in the UK.

Last month, a Christian couple in Liverpool was charged with “criminal offense” after a religious dispute with two of their Islamic guests.

The couple, owners of the Bounty House Hotel, and the Muslim guests were apparently having breakfast when a discussion about religion ensued. Although details are scarce, it seems the couple:

…Suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.

Ok, certainly offensive, but worth going to jail over?

Seems a little law in the UK called the Public Order Act allows police to arrest people based on offensive comments. The law was enacted, lawyers say, in order to deal with violence and disorder on the streets, not to arrest people having an argument.

Yet police say they were charged due to use of ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.

Things getting a bit out of control here? It’s hard to know exactly what happened, and the hotel owners obviously have some questionable beliefs about Islam. But going to jail over them? Man, half of America would be in jail if we could get arrested for stupidity.

Freedom of religion, freedom of speech and protection from bodily harm seemed to be getting all jumbled up here. Plus, commentary by the Daily Mail brought up another good point:

It is striking that the Crown Prosecution Service has thought fit to bring this case, when no action was taken to prevent the appalling persecution of Fiona Pilkington, whose disabled daughter was savagely bullied, who called for police help in vain at least 30 times, and who eventually killed herself in despair.

Hmm, makes you wonder what is really going on here.

What do you think about people being arrested for religious offense? Share your thoughts below.

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