Views from the News
Sandy Jack, Eastbourne
Pagan police win the right to take time off for festivals
Pagan police officers have been given the right to take days off to celebrate festivals where they leave food out for the dead and take part in ‘unabashed sexual promiscuity’. The Pagan Police Association has been officially recognized as a ‘diversity staff support organization’ by the Home Office. It means chief constables cannot refuse pagan officers’ requests to take official religious holidays, which will be given the same respect as Christmas for Christians, Ramadan for Muslims and Passover for Jews. There are thought to be about 500 pagan officers - including druids, witches and shamans.
Catholics asked to help fund Pope’s UK visit
Roman Catholic churchgoers are being urged to help meet a shortfall of more than £3m in funding for Pope Benedict’s visit to the UK. The Church has asked them to put at least £1m in a Sunday collection - largely to pay for three big open air masses at which the Pope will preside. Because this is a state visit by Pope Benedict XVI, the bulk of the cost is being borne by the UK government. The Papal visit will cost £15m, not including extra policing and security. The Church’s share of the cost is £7m, and with slightly less than half of it raised, congregations are being asked to contribute via the collection plate. Most of the money will be spent on three open-air masses which the Church says could attract up to 400,000 people in total. One of the masses will form the high point of the Pope’s visit - the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman at Coventry Airport on 19 September. Secularist groups have criticized the use of taxpayers’ money to fund the visit of a religious leader.
Charges dropped against Christian who preached ‘homosexuality is a sin’
The street preacher charged with public-order offences for saying homosexuality is a sin has had his case dropped after his plight was highlighted by The Mail on Sunday. Dale McAlpine was arrested by police who claimed his comments to passers-by had caused offence. But the Crown Prosecution Service has decided not to pursue the charges as there is insufficient evidence. Mr. McAlpine, 42, said, ‘This is a victory for freedom of speech. I hope we are not going down the road towards a police state and the thought police. I can’t wait to get out on to the streets again and preach the word of God.’ He is now taking legal advice over suing the police for wrongful arrest. Mr. McAlpine, who earns about £40,000 a year in the energy industry, had been handing out leaflets and talking to passers-by about his Christian beliefs in the centre of Workington, Cumbria, last month. In conversation with one woman, he listed a number of sins from the Bible, including adultery, drunkenness and homosexuality. He was then approached by Police Community Support Officer Sam Adams, who said he was gay and a liaison officer with the local homosexual community – and who warned him he could be arrested for making homophobic remarks. Mr. McAlpine denied he was homophobic but said that as a Christian he did believe homosexuality was a sin. Three uniformed officers then arrested him. After seven hours in a cell, which he spent reading the Bible and singing hymns, Mr. McAlpine was charged by a Senior Crown Prosecutor with offences under the Public Order Act 1986.