[Language warning (I think)]
Pastor John Sherwood was arrested in North West London on Friday 23 April 2021 and detained overnight – all for speaking about what the Bible says about marriage.
John, in his early 70s, is minister of a north London church, and was preaching with a colleague in the centre of Uxbridge on Friday, as he regularly does. After speaking on the final verses in Genesis 1, where it says that God created mankind in his own image, creating them male and female, a number of police officers appeared on the scene. Reportedly, three complaints had been received about the pastor's teaching, and the police accused him of causing ‘alarm and distress' to the public.
After speaking to the police, John resumed his preaching, speaking on freedom of speech. However, a couple of bystanders in the crowd apparently shouted that John's preaching was ‘homophobic' and ‘hate speech'. John spoke to the police once more.
What quickly followed was a brutal arrest, where an officer took away the pastor's Bible and pulled him from the steps where he had been preaching. Three officers gathered around him to handcuff him and take him away.
A Christian pastor who was arrested after he preached from the Bible said yesterday he had been treated 'shamefully'.
John Sherwood, 71, was led away in handcuffs, questioned in a police station and held overnight after being accused of making homophobic comments outside Uxbridge Station in west London.
The grandfather claimed he was left bruised after police pulled him from a mini-stepladder he was using and cuffed his hands behind his back.
Police said they had received complaints the man had been making 'allegedly homophobic comments' and arrested him under the Public Order Act, which can be used under the vague proviso that someone is using 'abusive or insulting words' that cause 'harm' to someone else. He was later released without charge.
Mr Sherwood, a pastor for 35 years, said: 'I wasn't making any homophobic comments, I was just defining marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. I was only saying what the Bible says – I wasn't wanting to hurt anyone or cause offence.
'I was doing what my job description says, which is to preach the gospel in open air as well as in a church building.
'When the police approached me, I explained that I was exercising my religious liberty and my conscience. I was forcibly pulled down from the steps and suffered some injury to my wrist and to my elbow. I do believe I was treated shamefully. It should never have happened.'
If this reporting turns out to be true and the man was merely open-air preaching from Genesis 1 -- the clear truth that God created man male and female -- and he was reported and arrested for, basically, hate speech ... that is reprehensible.
This is the same city where Charles Spurgeon preached in the pulpit and in the open air.
This man was harming nobody. If the reports are true, he was merely delivering God's truth. An old man, 71 years old! Whom was he harming?!
Say a prayer for this fellow tonight.
Judging by the video, I have a feeling he's not done doing what he has been called to do.
Mr Sherwood said officers grilled him over his attitude to gay people. He was even asked what he would do if his children were gay. The married father-of-two said: 'The question was irrelevant to the allegation against me. I said I would seek to bring them to Christ, but of course I would love them no matter what, because they're my children.'