Ryan Schiavo, an American street preacher, was recently caught and arrested in Canterbury, England, after delivering a sermon from the Book of Romans during the city's Pride celebrations.
Schiavo claimed he was speaking from Romans 1:18–32, a scripture that talks about immoral men and women who have switched "natural sexual relations for unnatural ones," even though he claims he was not aware of the Pride activities at the time. Five police officers noticed his sermon and detained him for violating a "hate-related public order" as a result. The Bible, speaker, microphone, and gospel tracts belonging to Schiavo were taken away, and he was held overnight.
American Street Preacher Arrested During Pride Events in Canterbury
According to Christian Today, Schiavo's personal Bible was confiscated, but he was given a replacement in his cell, allowing him to read the same passages he had been preaching in the street just an hour before his arrest. Post-release, Schiavo was barred from Canterbury for 90 days and from attending Pride events throughout June. Though the police assured him no further action would be taken, he's still awaiting the return of his personal belongings.
Schiavo, who spends about half a year in the UK for street preaching and evangelism, has expressed concern to The Christian Post about growing hostility towards orthodox Christians in the country. He recounted being stopped by the police about 25 times during his preaching over the past four years. He criticized the police for political bias, claiming they were influenced by Cultural Marxism and far-left ideologies, which he believed affected their impartiality.
According to an article shared in Time News, A boy and a girl in the crowd, according to Schiavo, were particularly disruptive when he began discussing passages from Romans 1:18-32, which he interpreted as a commentary on "God's judgment on society due to evil" and "sexual immorality and homosexual behavior."
Three police officers came to the scene, who Schiavo described as "quite aggressive, disgruntled, demanding," and who seemed to be attempting to implicate him with their inquiries. They were curious as to what he had said in detail and whether he intended to continue. When asked if he would stop, Schiavo replied, "The Word has to be preached."
Video evidence provided showed Schiavo being arrested. When Schiavo's buddy inquired as to why, the cops cited Schiavo's alleged violation of the "hate-related public order" legislation, which outlaws "unfair treatment."
Arrested for Disruptive Behavior While Preaching
According to another source, The New York Post, Police Chief Richard Tornielli clarified that Atkins was arrested for disruptive and disorderly behavior, not for his words. Tornielli stated that officers had warned Atkins to stop his disruptive actions, which were interfering with the event.
Atkins, who preaches locally, claimed he wasn't singling out any specific group. He attended the event because he believed the Bible instructed him to spread the gospel to everyone. However, he admitted that his approach to the flag-raising situation could have been better.
The Berks County District Attorney's Office later dropped the charges of disorderly conduct against Atkins after reviewing the incident's video footage, including from body-worn cameras. They stated they didn't believe they could prove a criminal case of disorderly conduct.