Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Religious threats to free speech in Britain

A man in Boston, Lincolnshire has been warned by the police that if he puts up a small poster in his window that says "religions are fairy stories for adults" he could face arrest.
 John Richards of Boston who has been told by police he can't put a sign in his window as it could cause people distress.

John Richards was told by officers that the poster could breach the Public Order Act by "distressing" passers by. But Mr Richards is defiant and says he will put up the poster anyway, as not to do so implies a threat to free speech.

He told The Boston Standard: "The police said I could be arrested if somebody complained and said they were insulted, but the sign was up two years ago and nobody responded or smashed the window. I am an atheist and I feel people are being misled by religion. 

I wanted to show people that if they thought they were alone there was at least one other person who thought that. I accept that the police emphasised the words could lead to an arrest but the implication is a threat to free speech which surely should be fought."

The Public Order Act dictates that it is an offence to display any sign which is threatening, abusive or insulting, and could cause distress. The NSS is currently campaigning to have the "insulting" element of this law removed.

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