A Christian street preacher was locked up and charged with a hate crime for quoting from the Book of Genesis in response to a gay teenager’s questions on how God views homosexuals.
Gordon Larmour, 42, spent a night in custody and faced a six-month ordeal over the charges before they were finally thrown out in a hearing last month.
The father-of-one, who has been street preaching for seven years following his conversion to Christianity, was handing out leaflets in his home town of Irvine, Ayrshire, last June when a group of young men passed him, The Telegraph has reported.
He told the men: “Don’t forget Jesus loves you and He died for your sins.”
One asked Mr. Larmour, “What does your God say about homosexuals?” He responded by referring to the Book of Genesis, stating that God had created Adam and Eve to produce children.
The two men argued and Mr. Larmour claims that he was chased by the young man. However, it was he who was arrested and frogmarched to the police van before being held in police custody overnight, charged with threatening or abusive behaviour aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation.
“I think the police should have handled it differently and listened to what I had to say. They should have calmed the boy down and left it at that,” Mr. Larmour told the Scottish Herald on Sunday.
He added: “In court the boy’s friend told the truth – that I hadn’t assaulted him or called him homophobic names. I had simply answered his question and told him about Adam and Eve and Heaven and Hell. Preaching from the Bible is not a crime.”
At Kilmarnock Sheriff Court last month, Sheriff Alistair Watson agreed, acquitting Mr. Larmour of the charge. He also found him not guilty of a second charge of assault aggravated by prejudice relating to sexual orientation.
Mr. Larmour said: “I can’t see why I was arrested in the first place – it was a massive overreaction and a waste of everyone’s time. The police didn’t listen to me. They took the young homosexual guy’s side straight away and read me my rights.
“I feel they try so hard to appear like they are protecting minorities, they go too far the other way. I want to be able to tell people the good word of the Gospel and think I should be free to do so. I wasn’t speaking my opinions – I was quoting from the Bible.”
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “It is a great relief that the judge ruled in favour of Gordon, because the case simply did not stand up to scrutiny.”