Pensioner questioned by police after complaining about gay pride march

October 24, 2009

[Here's more insanity from the British legal system.]

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 10:15PM BST 24 Oct 2009

Pauline Howe wrote to Norwich council complaining about its decision to allow a gay rally in the city centre  Photo: MARTIN POPE

Pauline Howe wrote to Norwich council complaining about its decision to allow a gay rally in the city centre Photo: MARTIN POPE

Mrs Howe, a committed Christian, said she had been frightened by the officers’ questioning and shocked at being informed she may have committed a crime.

“I’ve never been in any kind of trouble before so I was stunned to have two police officers knocking at my door,” she said.

“Their presence in my home made me feel threatened. It was a very unpleasant experience.”

Christian campaigners condemned the police action as “alarming” and warned that freedom of expression was under threat, while the homosexual equality group Stonewall said the officers’ visit had been “disproportionate”.

The pensioner had written to Norwich council complaining about its decision to allow the march in the city centre in July, at which she claims she was verbally abused.

In the letter, she wrote: “It is shameful that this small, but vociferous lobby should be allowed such a display unwarranted by the minimal number of homosexuals.”

Mrs Howe referred to homosexuals as “sodomites” and blamed “their perverted sexual practice” for sexually transmitting diseases as well as the “downfall of every Empire”.

She argues that she is not homophobic, but was expressing her deeply held religious beliefs.

However, Bridget Buttinger, deputy chief executive at the council, replied to Mrs Howe in September, warning that she could face being charged with a criminal offence for expressing such views.

“As a local authority we have a duty along with other public bodies to eliminate discrimination of all kinds,” she wrote.

“A hate incident is any incident that is perceived by the victim or any other person as being motivated by prejudice or hatred. A hate crime is any hate incident that constitutes a criminal offence.

“The content of your letter has been assessed as potentially being hate related because of the views you expressed towards people of a certain sexual orientation.”

She added: “Your details and details of the content of your letter have been recorded as such and passed to the Police.”

The officers from Norfolk constabulary who questioned Mrs Howe in her home told her that her opinions were regarded as a hate incident and had caused offence. However, they decided that no crime had been committed.

A spokesman for the force defended the decision to send officers to Mrs Howe’s home.

“If it has come into our intelligence and been reported to us as a crime then we have to investigate,” he said.

“Therefore it was part of a routine check-up. We went around and spoke to the individual.

“We talked about inappropriate comments and the effects they can have on people. We believe that this response is proportionate and the individual is aware of her actions.”

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, criticised the police’s action. “Clearly her views are pretty offensive, but nevertheless this is disproportionate. I’m glad Norfolk police didn’t take it any further,” he said.

Mrs Howe has sought advice from the Christian Institute, which is investigating whether the council and the police have breached Mrs Howe’s rights to free speech and religious liberty under the Human Rights Act.

Mike Judge, a spokesman for the Institute, said: “Whether people agree or disagree with Mrs Howe’s views, everyone who cares about freedom should be alarmed at the police action.

“For democracy to survive people must be free to express their beliefs – yes, even unpopular beliefs – to government bodies without fear of a knock at the door from the police. It’s not a crime to be a Christian, but it increasingly feels like it.”

In a similar case, a retired couple won damages in 2006 after being questioned by police regarding their views on homosexuality.

Wyre Borough Council regarded some of the wording in a letter of complaint as inappropriate and decided to consult with the police, who interviewed the couple but took no further action.

Source: Telegraph UK


3 Responses to “Pensioner questioned by police after complaining about gay pride march”

  1. David on October 25th, 2009 7:00 pm

    It’s interesting the basis for the police’s investigation of this wonderful woman. Essentially they are saying that they have to follow the laws against discrimination. Now, here is where a lot of Christian people get caught morally. They have been told their whole lives that ‘we are all one people under God.’ Thus, it is not appropriate for any of us to make any kind of distinction between people of different races, views, or lifestyles.

    Now, if however you don’t have the Christian moral structure then you can begin to look at youselves and others more intelligently. Now, in my religion, our god is for us only. We are literally him in physical form, we are thus God’s race and God is us. And our God is only for us, nobody else. We do not accept converts. Now this is a powerful perspective and when you finally come to accept and internalize it you can then deal effectively with these vicious demands for non-discrimination.

    We are required to maintain the interests of our people because we are as I said literally God in physical form, thus we must always and completely pursue and maintain only those policies which attend to our interests as a people. Now, because our God has made it very clear that He is only for us, our religion is clearly and justifiably one based initially on an act of discrimination against all others. That is true, and it is one of our first tenets. So we have a totally different perspective on the issue of discrimination; To us it is not morally wrong or even repugnant.

    So to apply my religious insights here is rather easy. We consider homosexuality–or at least its open proliferation and acceptance–to be against our interests, thus we do not want them in our midst. Now, if people want to accuse us of being descriminatory they are right, but nothing to the point, because my religion is partially and essentiallly defined in discriminatory terms. So discrimination to us is not a morally thorny issue. We don’t chafe under such accusations.

    Therefore, our people are going to have to change their religion if we are ever going to be able to finally pursue intelligently our unique racial and cultural interests. Remember, you culture is always based on your race; This cannot be avoided or ignored.

    Hope this helps

  2. David on October 25th, 2009 7:15 pm

    Moreover, there is something else important to state here in terms of one of my God’s commandments. Essentially, we are not ever to allow our interests to be defined by others outside of our own. Thus, we would never allow ourselves to be used by another country to kill its enemies and opponents. We are the ones who define and pursue our unique interests, as they are presented in our scripture’s commandments.

    Finally, as another example, if we are called racists on some issue, again, that is nothing to the point. Racist is another linguistic form of Discrimination. Realize, we are required by our God to always reference our racial/cultural interests in respect to making any decision about issues. And the rest of the world will learn this one day.

    Thank you all for the opportunity to present my religious beliefs as they relate to the types of moral dilemmas which you Christians have and always will have in regard to dealing with broader social issues.

  3. David on October 25th, 2009 7:41 pm

    My religion is a very recent developement as a result of my white race’s trials and tribulations with it enemies. When we are in such difficutlt situations we always turn to God. We have re-found our God and thankfully he has agreed to bring us back into his realm with all of the privaleges and responsibilities this entails.