The cops in Scotland who were found to be posting anti-Christian “bigot” hate-crime posters around their communities have investigated themselves based on a complaint filed by the Barnabas Fund Christian ministry, and they have found themselves to be innocent.
“A senior officer at Police Scotland has belatedly responded to a formal complaint made by Barnabas Fund about a ‘hate crime’ poster campaign run by Police Scotland and the Scottish government,” the ministry has reported.
His conclusion? The posters that target Christians are not “based on malice or ill will towards any social group.”
It was about two months ago that the ministry complained to the government about the posters that described Christians and other religious believers as “bigots” and condemned them.
One pastor called the campaign’s own anti-“hate” line to report the posters.
The posters by the government-run One Scotland campaign are addressed “Dear Bigots.”
One message states: “Division seems to be what you believe in. We don’t want your religious hate on our buses, on our streets and in our communities. We don’t want you spreading your intolerance. Or making people’s lives a misery because of their religious dress. You may not have faith in respect and love, but we do. That’s why if we see or hear your hate, we’re reporting you. End of sermon.”
Another states: “You can’t spread your religious hate here. End of sermon.”
The cops’ posters were displayed in all Scottish cities. The government-sponsored campaign carried the logo of Police Scotland.
Barnabas Fund warned how the “Dear Bigots” poster risked stirring up anti-religious prejudice and had upset many Christians.
“The letter replying to Barnabas Fund’s complaint arrived after 61 days instead of the normal 56 day maximum time period for responding. It included Police Scotland’s definition of hate crimes or incidents as being considered as such when ‘perceived by the victim’ to be motivated by ‘malice and ill-will’ towards a particular ‘social group.’ But the responding officer, who investigated his own department’s actions and motivation in commissioning the posters, said in his letter that the posters were not intended to be prejudicial to any group, adding that no further action would be taken,” Barnabas Fund reported.
The ministry said it was disappointed in the actions.
“The response also failed to address the substance of our complaint, including the potential breach of international human rights by state advocacy of hostility against a religious group,” the organization said.
“Barnabas Fund discussed concerns with Christians Together and Scottish MPs at a meeting at the Scottish Parliament last week and we are reviewing the possibility of taking our complaint further.
The Daily Mail of London reported Rev. David Robertson of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee said: “It is an absolute contradiction – a poster that is supposed to be against hatred that then encourages hatred. I showed my congregation the poster and they couldn’t believe it. It’s basically a poster that says if you are religious then you are a bigot.”
The campaign classifies people as bigots, racists, homophobes and transphobes, and threatens them with prosecutions and convictions.
Barnabas’ CEO Hendrik Storm issued a statement saying he was “shocked” by the message on the posters.
The organization has supported Christians who face prejudice and discrimination globally since 1993 but has never before deemed it necessary to make a formal complaint in the United Kingdom.
“This form of state-sponsored prejudice is something that Barnabas is more used to encountering in countries where Christians are marginalized and persecuted minorities,” the group said.