One question posed to a high-profile newsmaker, followed up with lively debate. Anne McElvoy hosts The Economist's chat show. Published every Thursday by Economist Podcasts. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Manage episode 342564049 series 19411
David Scott is joined by Dia Moodley of Spirit of Life Church in Bristol. Moodley is the main preacher at this church and, together with his congregation, has been engaging with the public on the streets to discuss the big issues of belief and lack of belief, morality and how to view the world. Complaints from those who do not share a Christian worldview—including transgender and LBGTQIA2S+ people, some adherents of the Islamic faith, and some angry atheists—were received by Avon and Somerset Police. The police response, notwithstanding the lawfulness of the activity, was to engage in a year-long evidence-gathering process during dialogue with Moodley and then to serve him with a warning notice (evangelism ban) under the Public Order Act 1986, ostensibly for his own protection and that of of his congregation. In other words, the aggressive and threatening behaviour of those offended was used as justification for preventing street preaching—an entirely lawful activity. The police, it seems, became allies of the offended. Listen to what transpired: an ongoing fight by Dia Moodley and his church to be able to speak in the public square and engage in peaceful discussion about important matters. He is standing up for the Gospel, and also for critical thinking and the freedom to question any philosophy, belief or idea.