The government of the United Kingdom acknowledged it was “inappropriate” for state prosecutors to argue in court that parts of the Bible are “simply no longer appropriate in modern society and […] would be deemed offensive if stated in public.”
The Wessex Area of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) had made such an argument while attempting to convict Christian street preacher John Dunn of a hate crime earlier this year, according to a press release from the London-based Christian Legal Centre, which represented Dunn.
Prosecutors argued that Dunn, a 55-year-old British army special forces veteran who has preached openly for 15 years in the southwestern English town of Swindon, was guilty of hate speech when he offended some members of the public by denouncing homosexuality.
The U.K. government argued that John Dunn, a 55-year-old British army special forces veteran, was guilty of hate speech. (Christian Concern)
The case against Dunn, which could have seen him slapped with a criminal record, was tossed out last month after the women who originally complained about him declined to further engage with the case.
Baroness Hoey, a nonaffiliated parliamentarian, subsequently raised a question in the House of Lords regarding the anti-biblical rhetoric from the government prosecution.
Responding to Hoey’s question, Keith Stewart, the advocate general for Scotland, replied: “The Wessex Area of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has undertaken a post-case review and acknowledges that the statement was inappropriate.”
The Houses of Parliament in London on Sept. 23, 2022. (Chris J. Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
“The statement was not intended to and does not represent a change to published CPS Policy. It is not indicative of a general approach by the CPS to cases involving the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and the right to freedom of expression,” Stewart continued.
“As a result of the post-case review, in future, where skeleton arguments are ordered, in cases where there is scope for argument to arise as to rights such as that of freedom of expression, such arguments will be submitted to the Senior District Crown Prosecutor for signing off, prior to service,” he added.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) admitted that following a post-case review, they believe their argument that parts of the Bible "are simply no longer appropriate for modern society" was "inappropriate." (Craig Hastings via Getty Images)
Dunn said in statement that he was “pleased” that the government recognized the arguments made against him were “wrong.”
“I faced the prospect of criminal conviction for over two years on these grounds. I hope what has happened will protect other Christians who find themselves unfairly on the wrong side of the law for speaking biblical truth,” he said.
Christian Legal Centre executive director Andrea Williams said the government prosecution’s arguments about the Bible were "a clear example of overreach." (iStock)
Andrea Williams, executive director of the Christian Legal Centre, also praised the government’s apparent backtrack, claiming what the prosecution had said about the Bible “was a clear example of overreach from the CPS and demonstrated the extent to which they misunderstand the Bible and freedom of speech.”
“Their arguments in this case were so steeped in the prevailing secular political orthodoxy, it was chilling,” she continued.
“Scraping the barrel in this way to try and convict a Christian preacher does not just waste a lot of people’s time, but consistently creates wider and far-reaching implications for Christians across the U.K. who believe in Jesus and for society in general,” Williams said, adding that the government’s recognition of its own impropriety “represents good news for U.K. Christians, and such arguments must never be made by the CPS again.”
Jon Brown is a writer for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected]