The initial conviction of Michael Overd, who regularly preaches on the streets of Taunton, back in March 2015, in short stunk.
District Judge Shamim Ahmed Qureshi, a Muslim no less, was appointed to rule judgement over the case and decided to fine the defendant Michael Overd for using a verse in Leviticus 20 where God commands for the death penalty for homosexuality.
Leviticus 20:13 "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."
Michael Overd response after the initial ruling was:
"I am amazed that the Judge sees it as his role to dictate which parts of the Bible can and can't be preached. I did not quote the full text of Leviticus 20 or make reference to the death penalty but the Judge is telling me that I should use other parts of the Bible. This is not free speech but censorship. The Judge is redacting the Bible.
"I have been ordered to pay compensation for causing 'emotional pain' to someone (who approached me aggressively demanding to debate the issue. There was no harm, injury or theft, just a simple disagreement over theology which I have now been fined for.
"My motivation for preaching the gospel is my love for Jesus Christ and my deep concern for people who do not know His great love and are heading towards an eternity separated from God."
In the appeal court on 10 December 2015, under the Circuit Judge David Ticehurst, he upheld Michael Overd's appeal, after the Crown failed to provide sufficient evidence to justify the conviction.
The Christian Legal centre are to be congratulated for diligently pursuing the gross injustice and perverse ruling of the initial case and Judge Qureshi's attempt to censor the Bible, prevent criticism of homosexuality and stop freedom of speech. However another cold blast of the chilling effect has blown across freedom of speech in this country to enforce political correctness amongst the general population and Christians.
A further account of the appeal has been made by Christian Voice.
Indictment against Christians for lack of support at appeal court
One of our readers went to the appeal court case and reported that there were no members from local churches and very few other Christians. This is a very disappointing sign as it shows apathy and disobedience to Christ's command to support those in prison or persecuted for their faith and preaching the gospel. I wanted to go to the appeal court, but was unable to do so due to prior contractual commitments. We praise God for the successful appeal and the answer to prayer that Michael Overd is free.
Matthew 24: 33-40
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.