Shouting in the street

Josh WilliamsonJosh Williamson is from Brisbane, Australia: he now lives in Perth. Nothing wrong with that: Perth is nice. He’s the new pastor at the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church, induction speaker from Grace Baptist Partnership “Helping Christians Plant Churches”.

The Grace Baptist Partnership doesn’t think much of Scotland:

Those witnessing to urban Scots will be struck by the ‘No Religious Callers’ signs they see at people’s doors. The poor, living on rough housing schemes, refuse to answer. The rich live in apartments with secure entry systems. The elderly reside in care homes where matronly managers prohibit religious visits or literature. The young are predictably fearful of strangers. Many open their doors clutching a phone to their ear; too techno-connected to interface with a person. We live in an isolated society.


Operation 513 shouting at people on the streetJosh Williamson’s an Overseer & President of the Brisbane organisation “Operation 513” which describes itself as an “Evangelism Action Group”, which appears to mean: they go out and shout at people in the street about their view of Christianity and their opinion of evolution and gay marriage.

So, having arrived in Perth, Josh Williamson went out and shouted at people in the street. You can see the enthusiastic reaction from the Scots he was shouting at. Eventually – you can hear this on the video – someone said that if he didn’t stop shouting they’d call the police. And they did. And the police asked him to quiet down, as they would anyone shouting in the street… and then when he wouldn’t quiet down, they arrested him.

And then a few days later Josh Williamson went out and shouted at people in the street some more. And then he was arrested again. Which, judging by his blog, he’s very happy about. And Rod Liddle at the Spectator’s got his back. And of course now Christian Concern is on his case to back his legal right to shout at people in Perth.

With all due respect for your right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion, let me give you some good Scots advice, Josh:

Wheesht, man. Awa’ and bile yer heid.

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17 Comments

Filed under Police, Religion, Scottish Culture

17 responses to “Shouting in the street

  1. I’d suggest following the Glasgow method to deal with this kind of nuisance… http://youtu.be/wkfS6qZU4UM

  2. Josh Williamson is a right charmer. Here’s what he has to say about Scotland, Perth, Catholics, Muslims, and women when shouting in Perth in May this year:

    - As a nation Scotland seems hardened to the Gospel. I’ve had the honour as an evangelist to preach in different parts of the world, and I’ve found Scotland to be one of the hardest places to minister the Gospel.

    - . After Knox finished his message a Romanist priest stood up and tried to force the people to partake of the blasphemous mass but a young boy opposed the Papist, which earned him a slap from the priest for his efforts. This set the crowd in the church aflame and a riot broke out in which all signs of Popery were destroyed. Today Knox is scorned by the Scots, and his memory is something they would desire to forget.

    - From there I spoke about the issue of slavery and how we are all enslaved to sin. The people were apathetic towards the gospel. Some people listened, some mocked, some laughed yet we rejoice because the Gospel went forth.

    - As I continued to hand out tracts I encountered a lady who smiled and said, “I don’t need one of those, I am an Elder in the Church of Scotland”. I ignored the fact that biblically a woman cannot be an elder, but instead asked, “That’s nice, but are you born-again?” She just grunted and walked away.

    -Chris was handing out tracts also during this time. He offered a tract to a man who declined it by saying, “No thank-you, I’m an agnostic minister.” Chris seemed a bit stunned at that answer, so I called out, “How’s that working for you?” The agnostic minister replied, “It is working quite well”, to which I replied, “Yeah, until you die.”

    -James acknowledged that salvation was by God’s grace alone, and that one couldn’t earn forgiveness. Yet, he still thought he wasn’t a sinner, but rather he was a good person. Sadly, James had come to Christ for a little bit extra, and not as Lord and Saviour.

    -During this time some Muslim hecklers began to challenge Chris. Chris responded to their claims by pointing out that if they were consistent Muslims, then they would become Christians.

    -I spoke to them about the Gospel and they asked if I thought Islam was wrong. I replied that I did think Islam was wrong. They asked if I thought it was of God, I said it wasn’t of God, but rather the Bible says that Islam is demonic.

    -These officers approached and asked if we had been preaching. We replied that we had. We were then informed that people had been offended so we need to tone it down, they also said we were too loud.

    - The two Muslim hecklers had complained and as such we were warned that if we said anything that offended Islam or Homosexuals we would be arrested.

    -We asked what law said that, and again they couldn’t tell us. I asked one officer, “If I say, the Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and I quote the Scripture, would I be arrested?” The police officer replied by saying he would arrest me for saying that, as it went against the lifestyle’s of some people. I pointed out that the reasoning behind that statement meant that we could never say anything was wrong, since people live in different lifestyles, I also pointed out that he couldn’t say we were wrong, as our lifestyle says we must preach. The officer again said the law is subjective.

    -I pointed out that in a court of law they would have a hard time convicting us since no law backed their position. He agreed, and said, “Perhaps you need to be arrested and then you can challenge the law.” I replied by saying, “Okay, well get the handcuffs out, and we will challenge the law.” The police officer seemed shocked, and they told me he wouldn’t arrest us.

    -When the police left, I stood and preached. I spoke from John 3 and dealt with the issue of why people hate Jesus and want to suppress the Gospel. While I was speaking an elderly man pushing a pram walked up to me yelling, “How dare you say I walk in darkness.” I tried to engage him but he stormed off. I kept preaching for a little longer after that, but again the weather turned bad.

  3. juliusbeezer

    I came across the Spectator article you reference, so I was pleased to encounter your triangulating viewpoint. Having now also seen the video, I find myself in agreement with your conclusion. That man is BELLOWING. What has poor Perth done to deserve him? Wheesht mon, indeed!
    Of course, the difficult question is how to proceed when a quiet word proves insufficient. I am not completely certain that shoppers and traders are entitled to a bovine silence in which to go about their business. Perhaps they do need shouting at. But we’ve all got to make a living somehow, and that man’s going to give everyone a headache. Perhaps Perth should designate a Speaker’s Corner, and insist he uses it?

    • A Speaker’s Corner actually sounds like a pretty good solution, though from what Josh Williamson has written in his own self-praise (and given the way the 513 organisation operates) it seems unlikely he’d stay there.

      There are freedom-of-speech issues, but a lot of it seems to be that JW simply won’t turn down the volume when asked to.

  4. Parabolica

    So in 21st century Scotland you condone the arrest/detention and the possible criminal prosecution of a Scottish resident for expressing an opinion in the public space.

    In the context of public expressions of opinion the breach of the peace charge is an assault on that liberty, suspect in this case it is the message not the volume that attracts the applause for the criminalisation of the human right to express an opinion in the Scottish public space.

    Next time it maybe your whispered expression of an opinion in the public space that is criminalised and prosecuted.

    I remember an enlightened Scotland where the Police would have been chased for attempting to lift and criminalise a public speaker for expressing an opinion, the cheerleading members of the public in this video as Scots should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Parabolica, I have another blogpost to write about the issues of freedom of speech raised by this, but I still think that a man who stands in the street shouting at people is generally just being annoying: a man who won’t stop shouting at people, after he’s been asked to tone it down by them and then by the police, is a man who is indubitably breaching of the peace – regardless of the content of his shouts.

    • “the cheerleading members of the public in this video as Scots should be ashamed of themselves.”

      I agree – they should have seen off that vile hate-monger themselves rather than wait on the fluorescent-coated gangsters to do it for them. That said not everyone is able to do that, and seeing as he has no intention of taking the thoughts of the community into account then it was the best we could hope for.

      • I did like the non-violent Loud Music option that was used to make the hatemongering in Glasgow inaudible.

        In my view, though, if someone is hurling abuse at you – as, by his own admission, Josh Williamson was hurling at the Muslim Scots who had the misfortune to pass him by – and he won’t stop when he’s asked to, then you have every right to call in the polis to tell him to quiet down and less of the hate speech.

        • Parabolica

          EdinburghEye,

          Good society will never be built on suppression and mob rule, the only outcome will be more laws and a increased reliance on violence until the society is in the totalitarian state it sought to avoid.

          The political culture maybe favourable to one side allowing them to discard and even applaud the mistreatment of an opponent, but that political culture can shift rapidly and the authoritarian boot could be on the other foot.

          @floaker,

          Amused to find a person posting under the combative red and black so intimidated by Josh Williamson’s “imaginary friend”. :-)

          • Good society will never be built on suppression and mob rule

            Do you get the impression that Josh Williamson is a man of tolerance and broad views, who – if he were supported by the majority – would want everyone, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, to have equal rights? I don’t.

            None-the-less, I think Williamson should have exactly the same right everyone else does to stand on the street and speak his views. And exactly the same responsibility everyone else does, to do so without being a public nuisance or abusive.

            Do you share that view?

            The political culture maybe favourable to one side

            What you’re seeing on the streets of Perth and Glasgow is not a political culture favourable to one side, but a national culture of people who don’t care for being shouted at in the street, and especially not by a bawheid who thinks he’s better than they are.

          • By the way, if you wish to continue this discussion, it’s generally easier to follow if you reply to the post, rather than replying to comments – WordPress doesn’t handle long comment-threads very well.

  5. @Parabolica – The friend may be imaginary but the very real material conditions created by it’s believers are a problem.

  6. Parabolica

    @EdinburghEye,

    How can the majority ever freely form an opinion if not only the right to express the opinion is suppressed but the right to receive the expression of opinion is censored, the easiest and most effective way to kill free speech is to criminalise the speaker as being a public nuisance or abusive.

    Indeed Scotland is fast gaining a reputation not for its equality and tolerance concerning freedom of expression legislation but for the curtailments and limitations to the point of criminalisation.

    The response of the crowd particularly in the Glasgow video is interesting, if that is any measure of the national culture and its tolerance of and engagement with public discourse then that national culture is in deep trouble.

    @floaker,

    That is your freedom of expression concerning imaginary friends in the public space and you are welcome to it – without the threat of criminal prosecution, you can even SHOUT if you wish. :-)

    • How can the majority ever freely form an opinion if not only the right to express the opinion is suppressed but the right to receive the expression of opinion is censored

      Well, quite. For decades, the right to express the opinion that being gay was OK was suppressed: the right to receive this expression of opinion was censored. Men who actually had sex with other men could be arrested and jailed, even if this was in private.

      How could the majority ever freely form opinions under those conditions?

      They did not: homophobia was rife.

      Now, if the same were to be reversed: if Christians could be arrested and jailed for conducting Christian services, if Christians had no right to express their religious views in public, if Christians expressing their views were censored and suppressed, that would be incredibly wrong, and I would fight that.

      Such is not the case. Josh Wiliamson has every right to hold whatever views he pleases, and the same right to express his views as anyone else. This does not give him the right to hurl abuse at people in the street: it does not remove their right to complain when he shouts abuse at them.

      The response of the crowd particularly in the Glasgow video is interesting, if that is any measure of the national culture and its tolerance of and engagement with public discourse then that national culture is in deep trouble.

      You’re not very tolerant and accepting of the right to free speech, are you? If you were, you would enjoy the Glasgow video: a perfect expression of free speech, no policing required.

  7. Parabolica

    @EdinburghEye,

    Wow! How do they do that?

    Move from a general discussion concerning Scots freedom of speech instruments and practices into a historical proxy victimhood rant of revenge, makes one wonder how many of those historical persecutors were themselves of the same orientation as the persecuted.

    A dangerous leap of faith to embrace the populist mob, whilst alienating potential allies. :-)

    • into a historical proxy victimhood rant of revenge

      Eight words, five mistakes. Shall I point them out to you, or would you like to dig further?

      whilst alienating potential allies

      Oh, are you trying to present yourself as a “potential ally”? I really, really hadn’t noticed, and more than that, don’t care.

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