An appeals court has overturned the convictions of two street preachers in the UK. Michael Overd of England and Michael Stockwell of the US were initially arrested for preaching at a shopping center in Bristol, England, after being heckled by some Muslims in the crowd even though their sermon was against all sin in general and was about Christ’s atonement for all sin. Months later in February this year, the men were convicted for offending Islam with their sermon and were ordered to pay a fine.
The Bristol Crown Court heard the case on appeal and overturned the convictions of the lower court. The judges found that prosecutors fell short of proving that Overd’s and Stockwell’s preaching were religiously aggravated offenses and noted the overwhelming importance of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. The men’s attorney, Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre, rejoiced over the decision as a victory for freedom of speech while Michael Overd expressed his relief as well as concern over the spiritual state of the UK, promising he would return to the streets again to preach the gospel.
…We ought to obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29
Source: Christian preachers win appeals over shopping centre sermon, BBC News, June 29, 2017.