Street preacher accused of being a 'misgendering' terrorist wins appeal

 March 12, 2023

Fox News reports that the United Kingdom street preacher who was accused of being a terrorist for allegedly "misgendering" a transgender person has won his appeal. 

That Christian street preacher is 42-year-old Dave McConnell.

McConnell was convicted back in August under section 4A of the 1986 Public Order Act, which punishes conduct that intentionally results in harassment, alarm, or distress.

As a punishment, he received a £620 fine and 80 hours of unpaid work.

What did he do to deserve this?

The incident occurred while McConnell was preaching on the streets of Leeds in June 2021. As part of his preaching, he encouraged members of the public to ask him questions. Farrah Munir, an individual who identifies as a transgender female, asked McConnell, "Does God accept the LBGT community?"

In his response, McConnell referred to Munir as a "gentleman" and a "man in woman's clothing." McConnell further stated that "homosexuality is an abomination in the eyes of God” and that “the Bible says lesbianism is an unnatural and vile passion.”

McConnell received a hostile response from the crowd, and the police got involved. An officer arrested McConnell under the Public Order Act, and he was detained for 14 hours in a police station that, according to Fox, "flies an LGBTQ flag outside its building."

McConnell would go on to be convicted. And, besides the fine and unpaid work that he received as a punishment, he was reported by the Probation Service to Prevent, a U.K. agency that counters terrorism.

According to Christian Concern, McConnell was "the first street preacher in the UK to be prosecuted and reported to counter-terrorism for 'misgendering' a member of the public while sharing the good news of Jesus Christ."

The appeal

McConnell has appealed his conviction, and, on Thursday, he won.

During the proceeding, McConnell argued that he was not misgendering anyone but "telling the truth."

He said:

I think people could have been offended, but that's not the intention. My intention was to simply stay faithful to my beliefs, stay faithful to God and to stay faithful to my conscience. I wasn't being transphobic; I was expressing what I believe.

McConnell's conviction was thus overturned because he did not intentionally cause harassment, distress, or alarm.

So, McConnell's situation has now been resolved. But, the concern going forward is about other similar cases considering that the United Kingdom, in recent times, has repeatedly made global news headlines for prosecuting Christians. McConnell, during his appeal, asked, "What has happened to this country?"

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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