JUST days after it was reported the Irish-American actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell was targeted by a chauvinistic street preacher who called her a “lesbian pig” and told her to “go home and do the dishes, its your job” comes news from Norwich that a church has been barred from a market stall for disseminating “hate literature”.
A complaint received by Norwich City Council about the stuff the Norwich Reformed Church was dishing out at a weekly “outreach” bookstall on the council-owned Hay Hill site prompted a review of the materials produced by the church’s pastor, Reverend Alan Clifford.
As a result, the council contacted police as the literature, particularly the leaflet entitled Why not Islam?, was considered to be “hate-motivated”.
The church was then told to bugger off and never darken the market again … or until such time someone decides it was all a horrible misunderstanding and that a gross infringement of freedom of expression had taken place.
The council-run Eaton Park Community Centre has also been contacted with a view to ceasing any further bookings made by the church.
A council spokesman said:
Although the police advised that no criminal offence had been committed, we have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to foster good relations between people of all backgrounds and religions. By allowing premises owned by the council to be used by an organisation publishing such material, we would be failing in that duty. People across Norfolk have recently been urged to stand up to hate-motivated and intolerant behaviour through a publicity campaign and as a council we have to play our part and take action where necessary.
Clifford, who has scuttled off to the Christian Institute for advice, said an “extraordinarily silly” form of “political correctness” had emerged.
While the opinion of the Christian Institute is awaited, it is hoped that in due course, common sense might prevail, and that Norwich Reformed Church’s rights to worship and witness will be restored.
Hat tip: Angela Kingdom (O’Donnell report) and Agent Cormac