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Some people worried that the incident pointed to the police who had too broadened their power during the pandemic with the potentially long-lasting damage to religious freedom.
Mike Overd, 55, who has been preaching in downtown Taunton, Somerset, for more than a decade, was kicked off the road after a public complaint. The police packed his Bible and gave him notice of COVID-19 enforcement.
“This is religious discrimination,” Overd told The Telegraph. “These are the basic human rights that they have trampled on and it seems that no one is winking, and you get some police officers who are behaving cruelly towards most people now.
The 55-year-old preacher said that he told them that he was a volunteer and stayed in line with the guidelines when praying.
“I told them that it was my workplace,” he said. “This is my job – I am a street preacher. Street is my workplace. I have the right to go out and do this.”
Police gave him a warning on March 28 and on April 2, he was removed from the road and issued a notice for “failure to comply with instructions” under the restrictions of the new coronavirus.
This is not the first time he has been involved in law enforcement. He was nicknamed “Britain’s most captured street preacher”, according to Christian Concern, an evangelical nonprofit who has managed to defend him every time.
“The new police guidelines may be well-intentioned, but require the British public to give up basic freedoms,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center, told Fox News. “This will have broad implications for all of us.”
Reverend in Florida and Louisiana arrested for holding services amidst permanent orders at home and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which prohibits meeting 10 or more people.
Similar to businesses like Amazon, pastors argue that they are “important” businesses, especially in times of crisis. Officials argue that they can provide church services online.
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