While on a public sidewalk in front of the Centre Court Complex during the Wimbledon Tennis Championships, An American preacher was arrested, fingerprinted, had DNA samples taken and then interrogated, after a woman out shopping called the police to complain that she was offended by what was being said.
Tony Miano, a retired Los Angeles Deputy Sheriff who traveled to the UK with Sports Fan Outreach International as part of a mission to bring the Gospel to England, was speaking from 1 Thessalonians which mentions "sexual immorality" and had cited homosexuality alongside "fornication" as examples of what he believed went against "God's law".
In an interview with Telegraph.CO.UK, Tony Miano stated, "As the questioning started it became apparent that the interrogation was about more than the incident that took place in the street, but what I believed and how I think," he said. "I was being interrogated about my thoughts...that is the basic definition of thought police." He said he had arrested many people in his career but never over something they believed. "It surprised me that it is possible for a person to be taken to jail for their thoughts," he said. "It surprised me that here in the country that produced the Magna Carta, that an otherwise law abiding person could lose his freedom because one person was offended by the content of my speech." He said he feared Britain and other countries were already on a "slippery slope" towards the erosion of free speech and has written to Parliament outlining his experiences.
An article by ChristianNews.net quotes Tony Miano, "It was surreal because I was interrogated about my faith in Jesus Christ," Miano said. "I was asked if I believe that homosexuality is a sin. I was asked what portion of the Bible I was reading. I was asked if a homosexual was hungry and walked up to me, would I give them something to eat."
Police then concluded by asking Miano whether he believed he did anything wrong, and if he would make similar statements again when released. Miano replied by contending that he had done nothing unlawful, and that he would indeed preach the same message again if he felt led to do so by the Lord. During questioning The officer asked him, "Do you feel that what you did is 100 per cent acceptable in a public place?" and "Will you do this again tomorrow?" Mr. Miano replied affirmatively to both questions. The investigating officer told Mr. Miano's solicitor that his answers to these last two questions left him no choice but to seek prosecution.
Tony Miano is a full-time evangelist, speaker, writer and radio host; you can connect with him at TMiano.com.
Entire footage of the incident including the arrest is available on Tony Miano's YouTube Channel.
Tony Miano is being represented by Christian Legal Centre in London, UK