Tony Miano, a retired deputy sheriff and former chaplain with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept., was arrested in London and interrogated about his Christian beliefs by police, Fox News’ Todd Starnes reported Monday. Miano’s crime? He publicly stated that homosexuality is a sin, allegedly distressing some of the passers-by.
The actual charge, according to Starnes, was “using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult.”
Starnes said Miano was preaching on a London street corner during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships early this month with a ministry group called Sports Fan Outreach International.
“I talked about women addicted to romance novels, men addicted to pornography, people with lustful thoughts, heterosexual fornication and homosexuality,” Miano said. “When I mentioned that the Bible was clear that homosexuality is a sin, a lady walked by and she glared at me and hurled the f-bomb.”
The woman reportedly came back to record his message and called the police.
“They were concerned about homophobic speech,” Miano said. “But I told them I don’t fear homosexuals. The language I used was not homophobic, as I was not promoting fear or hatred of homosexuals.”
Miano said he did not focus entirely on homosexuality, but addressed all forms of sexual immorality using I Thessalonians 4:1-2 – a biblical passage that mentions sexual immorality.
“All of these are considered mainstream Christian positions and have been taught and believed by Christians for thousands of years,” he said.
“Police took the retired deputy sheriff to a nearby jail where he was fingerprinted. Officers also took a sample of his DNA and then he was interrogated,” Starnes wrote.
“It was very distressing to be arrested and interrogated for openly expressing my deeply held Christian beliefs,” Miano said.
According to a transcript of the interrogation, Miano was asked if he believed that homosexuality is a sin.
“Okay, and you believe through, your, your religion, that homosexuality is a sin?” the police interviewer asked.
“Yes, I do,” Miano replied.
The interviewer then asked Miano how he thought people in the general public might feel hearing his message.
Miano was also asked if he would help a homosexual who asked for a favor.
“The word of God tells me to love your neighbor as myself,” Miano answered.
Starnes said Miano was troubled that a hypothetical situation could be used against him in court.
“I was actually going to be tried for how I thought,” he said.
Ironically, police offered Miano a Bible — the same book that got him arrested — to read while in jail.
Starnes said Miano spent seven hours in jail and was released without explanation and without an apology.
A transcript of Miano’s interrogation can be seen here.
Miano said he could have been held in London until his trial, but authorities decided to take no further action against him.
Although grateful for his freedom, Miano expressed concern that the same thing could happen in the United States.
“I believe that’s what our government is going to eventually do here,” he said. “I believe homosexuals or others who are sensitive to their point of view will be visiting churches to listen to what preachers say from the pulpit. And I believe that pastors will be arrested in their pulpits for teaching what the Bible says about homosexuality and other sins.”
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the British Christian Legal Centre, echoed Miano’s concerns, telling Fox News that a clampdown on religious free speech regarding Christian views on sexual ethics is already under way.
Source: The Examiner