Christian Pro-Lifer Fined for Bible Verse Sign

The persecution of Christians in Britain is gathering pace. A preacher has been found guilty of breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) for holding a sign with a verse from the Bible on it outside of an abortion mill.

Stephen Green, 72, from South Wales, was prosecuted by Ealing Council under section 67 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 for holding the sign outside of an Marie Stopes abortion factory in Mattock Lane, West London in February last year.

The chilling legislation prohibits any “act of disapproval” of abortion within the “buffer zone,” which includes praying and reading from the Bible.

The sign Green read: “Psalm 139:13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”

Handing down judgment on Friday at Uxbridge Magistrates’ Court in West London, District Judge Kathryn Verghis said:

The extract of the Psalm mentioning ‘my mother’s womb’… was an act of protest of abortion. There were less controversial verses you could have chosen to display. I can come to no other conclusion that [the verse] was an act of disapproval [of abortion services]… an act prohibited [by the PSPO].

Whilst accepting that the PSPO was “a significant interference” of Green’s rights under articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention, she said those rights have to be weighed against individuals accessing abortion services.

She concluded that Green’s “protest was peaceful… but your actions were not proportionate… I find you guilty as summoned.”

Green’s lawyer said as a matter of principle that his client would not pay any financial penalty, which could ultimately result in a prison sentence. The judge imposed a one-year conditional discharge, the victim surcharge of £26 ($33), and a costs order of £2,400 ($3,031).

Mr. Green has said he will appeal the conviction to the Crown Court, saying:

As a Christian I should be able to preach freely all over the land. Psalm 139 is about how we all belong to God from conception.

Buffer zones and this conviction is a direct attack on the Bible and free speech, which is being licenced by the state. I have no choice but to continue to defend myself and fight for justice.

People are right to be concerned about the buffer zone legislation. To bar Christian witness and to control what people can say is deeply draconian and discriminatory against Christians.

If it is now a criminal offence to hold a sign with a verse from Psalm 139 on it in a London street, then none of us is free.

I have been ordered to pay costs, frankly I would rather go to prison than pay this to the state that has banned the Bible.

The last time something like this happened in England was in 1670. The Quakers William Penn and William Meade were arrested and put on trial for a silent religious act in a public street, in contravention of an Act of Parliament that prohibited gatherings of more than five people.

Their brave stand eventually led to the free speech clause of the Pennsylvanian and, in due course, the American constitutions.