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Edinburgh Pays Church after Cancelling Event over Speaker’s Views on Homosexuality

The Edinburgh City Council agreed to pay Scotland-based Destiny Church £25,000, or approximately $35,000, after they canceled a three-day event that the church had planned over the views of one of the speakers, according to The Christian Post.

The church booked Edinburgh’s Usher Hall for its “Surge Conference,” but the council stonewalled the event after they heard comments one of the featured speakers made about homosexuality. 

In 2007, Stockstill wrote a book titled He Teaches My Hands to War. In it, Stockstill, who had pastored the Baton Rouge-based Bethany Church for 35 years, wrote, “Don’t be deceived. Homosexuality is not normal behavior, and it is not accepted by God.”

The church sued the City Council for breaking the contract and for violating the church’s rights. Pastor Andrew Owen said of the cancellation, “We understand that this is a fairly clear-cut breach of the freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and the freedom of expression enshrined in the ECHR (European Convention on Human Rights).” He also accused the council of “discriminating on the grounds of religious belief,” based on the Equality Act of 2010.

In addition to paying the church, the council also admitted they were wrong to cancel the event and said they “failed to meet its equalities duties to Destiny Ministries in terms of the Equality Act of 2010 and therefore acted unlawfully.”

“We welcome the decision of [the] City of Edinburgh Council today to acknowledge the right of Destiny Ministries, and those invited to speak for them, to express their Christian faith, including through teaching conferences,” said Jeremiah Igunnubole, Legal Counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom UK. “Freedom of speech and freedom of religion are foundations of every free and democratic society and must be protected for all people. We were pleased to support Destiny Ministries in this matter because freedom of religion includes the freedom to manifest your faith in teaching, practice, and observance – no one should be discriminated against simply because of their faith.”

The ADF said that Destiny’s case “mirrors a wider trend across the UK, where an increasing number of Christian speakers have been “deplatformed” because of their beliefs. They pointed to a recent case where the Manchester County court ruled that Blackpool Council “discriminated against a Christian group by censoring bus adverts for a festival featuring American guest speaker Franklin Graham.” Also, John Sherwood, a preacher in North London, “was arrested in North London for publicly preaching on the Genesis verse, ‘male and female he created them.’”

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ehrlif

Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”