It should not be a crime to display the Bible or disagree with homosexuality, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe has warned.
Miss Widdecombe was commenting in light of a Christian café owner in Blackpool being ordered to stop displaying Bible verses because the words were deemed offensive and a crime under section 5 of the Public Order Act.
The police have now given a partial apology to the owner of the Salt and Light Cafe, Jamie Murray, who is being supported by The Christian Institute.
Writing in the Express on Wednesday Miss Widdecombe said: “Does the Chief Constable of Lancashire want to ban the Bible itself? After all that is the logic of his position if what his force is doing meets with his approval.”
She added, “has anyone noticed that it’s always Christians who end up on the wrong side of the law? Who brings test cases against the owners of Muslim guest houses?”
She also mentioned the case of Joe and Helen Roberts, a Christian couple also from Lancashire who, in 2005, were interrogated by police after complaining about their local council’s promotion of homosexuality.
The couple were questioned for an hour and 20 minutes by Lancashire police after they asked the council if they could display Christian literature in register offices.
Miss Widdecombe said: “The irony is that even activists such as Peter Tatchell think this is going too far as do several gay commentators. Perhaps they should organise a training course for the zealots of Lancashire.”
The former Tory MP referred to a number of recent situations where Christians have been penalised because of the Bible.
She underlined the point that when the law forbidding the stirring up of hatred against homosexuals was being put through Parliament, MPs were promised that it would not stop anybody saying that he or she considered homosexual acts to be wrong.
Miss Widdecombe remarked: “Well if you whisper such an opinion in an empty room with no windows and six-foot-thick walls you might just about get away with it but once anybody hears then the police descend waving the Public Order Act.
“You can of course describe quite freely any unmarried heterosexual couple as living in sin and conversely those who think marriage an outdated institution are free to poke fun at those who enter matrimony but homosexuals now have such a privileged position that they are held to be above criticism.”