Christian cafe 'warned over homophobic Bible verses'

Bible generic
Image caption Jamie Murray said he was not told which Bible verse was "offensive"

The owner of a Christian cafe in Blackpool was warned by police that Bible verses shown on a TV screen breached public order laws.

Jamie Murray, who runs the Salt and Light cafe in Layton, said he was told there had been a complaint about "homophobic material".

He said: "I was not told what the offending words were."

Lancashire Police said it had to act on complaints but apologised for the misinterpretation of public order law.

Mr Murray said two police officers visited him last week and told him Bible verses on display in his cafe breached Section Five of the Public Order Act.

"I was quite incredulous at the way they treated me," he said.

"There was very little respect and they were quite aggressive."

Mr Murray stated: "I did say to the police, 'are you seriously telling me I could be arrested for playing the Bible quietly on a screen?'.

"I was told, 'it's offensive and homophobic material we are against'."

'Insulting material'

Mr Murray said he thought the verses that might have prompted the visit were from Romans chapter one, verses 26-27, which use the terms "against nature" and "indecent acts".

He said he asked the officers if he could play Bible verses which did not refer to homosexuality.

He said the officers replied they would be looking at anything that people could find offensive or insulting.

He added: "I was just incredulous because as we all know the list of things that we find offensive is massive and varied and we don't expect the police to get involved."

Lancashire Police denied that its officers told Mr Murray to remove any materials.

A force statement added: "It appears that the officer has misinterpreted the Public Order Act and we have apologised to the cafe owner for any distress we may have caused."

It said the constabulary respected all religious views but said, "we have no issues with the professionalism or courtesy shown by the officer".

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