American evangelist Ryan Schiavo reports on his arrest in Canterbury on June 10th for doing what it is the duty of all Christian ministers to do – call sinners to repentance.
JUNE 2023 : “For the second time in less than two years, I have been arrested for preaching against the sin of homosexuality and the danger of the LGBTQ agenda on the streets of England. On Saturday, June 10, my ministry partner David and I arrived at the famous city of Canterbury just after 3 p.m., unaware that a special “Pride” event was taking place in the city centre. Six-colored LGBTQ signage, flags and paraphernalia filled the centre, while faces and bodies were painted in rainbow and LGBTQ music artists sang and danced on a stage to approving onlookers. After just a short walk through the city, David and I both acknowledged the tremendous darkness and spiritual battle we were about to engage in.
I began by reading in the open-air Romans 1:18-32, a passage that deals with God’s judgment on society because of wickedness, including that of sexual immorality, while speaking openly about the damage that the LGBTQ agenda is doing to children, warning by passers that the greater the promotion of these sinful behaviors, the further God will lift his hand of restraint off of the United Kingdom. I commented that in spite of the apostate Church of England’s compromised position on gay and trans issues, God has nothing to do with LGBTQ other than using it as a means to judge society. I also shared the gospel message, pleading with people that only Christ could save them from this wicked and perverse generation.
Around 3:45 p.m., a mob began to grow around us near the busy footfall area where David and I ministered. He did his level best to speak to as many people as possible on the ground who had questions, while at the same time trying to shield me from hecklers and antagonisers attempting to cause distraction. One young man literally followed me around for minutes, yelling and cursing loudly in an effort to drown out the preaching. The Lord gave me the grace to remain calm and sidestep the hecklers, but this man in particular persisted endlessly, which actually drew a larger crowd. Some supported the word preached, others disdained it, while many just observed the whole thing with curiosity.
As the mob grew and chaos unfolded, a young lady who identifies as a lesbian approached me for a serious conversation, so I stopped preaching to speak with her. We were in a very productive and respectful dialogue when six police officers burst onto the scene at once. Three of them immediately approached me, one visibly irritated who took me to the side. He said, in reference to the LGBTQ community, “Can’t you just let them have their day?” I replied, “They have a whole month.” I reminded him of my right to free expression and that if I couldn’t preach from the entire Bible, then I did not really have freedom of speech. It turned into a typical conversation with UK police over freedom of speech, where they told me that I cannot say anything that might offend someone, to which I replied that preaching from the Bible and interpreting it is not a crime because anyone can be offended by anything. Same script, different day and different characters.
After repeated interrogation by this officer in an effort to get me to say something that might incriminate myself, he finally demanded, with fury in his eyes and anger in his voice, “Are you going to stop? Are you going to continue to do this?” It was obvious he was not impartial, but showing deference to the LGBTQ community because of the “Pride” event, so I paused, then replied that I didn’t know if I would stop, but that the word had to be preached. At that, he flew into a rage, grabbed my wrists, crisscrossed them behind my back and very aggressively handcuffed me. As the arrest was made just after 4 p.m., a crowd of people cheered on while this rogue officer and one of his colleagues walked me down the street. Nearby, two uniformed officers seated inside an unmarked police car even honked the horn in celebration as I was escorted out of the city centre. While in custody and waiting for the police car to arrive, the arresting officers took my Bible, microphone and speaker, not allowing me to give them to David before heading to the police station.
Upon arrival at the station, I was searched and booked, when my Bible, microphone, speaker and gospel tracts were confiscated and held as criminal evidence. Just moments later, the custody sergeant offered me a Gideon’s Bible to read while in my cell. Can you imagine a greater form of hypocrisy than this? Once in my holding cell, I read the exact same passages that I had just preached from an hour or so earlier in the street. Regarding this, a brother pointed out to me afterwards that it used to be homosexuality that was kept “in the closet” and Christianity was out in the open. Now, homosexuality is out in the open and Christianity is meant to be “in the closet.” It was okay for me to read Romans 1:18-32 alone in my jail cell from a police-owned Bible, but it was not okay for me to preach those verses in the open during a “Pride” festival in the city.
From roughly 5:30 p.m. I remained in the cell, reading, praying, eating on occasion, walking around, trying to sleep and, thankfully, having communication with a lawyer from the London-based Christian Legal Centre. I was arrested for violating Section 4a of the Public Order Act, which states that one cannot cause harassment, alarm, or distress with intent in public. The solicitor gave me the option of answering the questions myself or taking a “No comment” interview, meaning I would not answer any questions, but allow the legal team to prepare a statement on my behalf which they would read during the interview. Because this whole incident revolved around LGBTQ, he and I both had a strong sense the interviewing officer would try to build a case against me during the questioning, back me into a corner and attempt to lead me into saying something incriminating on record. Thus, the lawyers suggested I reply “No comment” to each question.
At 12:45 a.m. on Sunday morning, more than seven hours after being placed in the cell, I sat in the interview room with my two solicitors present via video call. They read a beautifully prepared 12-point statement, which included both Bible verses and English law before the officer asked me roughly 20 questions. As we suspected, the prevailing theme of the interview was an attempt to get me to admit guilt and paint me out as a hateful homophobe with premeditated intentions of bigotry in coming to Canterbury. I replied “No comment” to all of the questions before they played a clip of body cam footage from the arresting officer, another attempt to get me to admit guilt. Simply put, this was not really an investigation but a prosecution. Following the interview, I was taken back to my cell then finally released two hours later on bail pending further investigation, at 3:15 a.m.
The conditions of my bail were 1) my Bible, speaker and microphone were held as criminal evidence during the investigation, 2) I could not enter Canterbury city centre for 90 days and 3) I was forbidden from attending any “Pride” events in the entire UK during the month of June. The truth is, June 10 was the first “Pride” event I have ever attended anywhere in the world, including England, and that was by accident. (Below is a YouTube link to a video portion of the arrest.)
I have visited Canterbury, England, two times in my life. The first time leaving the city I went to the emergency room; the second time, the police station. The location where the officer handcuffed me was literally the exact same spot, probably within inches, where I was violently sucker-punched in the side of the face by a teenage boy last year on June 28. To date, that case has never been solved and no one has been brought to justice. What happened to me on Saturday, June 10, in Canterbury was disgraceful, unjust and perverse. (More than two days after my arrested, I still had marks on my wrist from the handcuffs.) The city is the traditional diocese of the apostate Archbishop of the Church of England, making my arrest and detention there all the more dreadful. There is a tremendous spiritual stronghold over the city of Canterbury, home to not only false Christianity but one of the UK’s most liberal universities. I believe these two entities, more than any, are inviting strong principalities and powers of darkness over the city.
On the bright side, I thank God for the solicitors from the Christian Legal Centre who stayed up into the early hours of Sunday morning to fight for a foreigner and the cause of biblical Christianity before a corrupt police force in Canterbury. They do this willingly because they love God and feel a sense of duty to Him and their dying nation. The legal help they have given has not cost me one penny because they run their entire ministry on donations. When I voiced my appreciation to one solicitor, he simply said, “This is my job.” Christian Concern’s commitment to truth and justice has helped restrain the forces of darkness time and time again in this nation, keeping the window for uncompromising preaching and stances for biblical truth open, if ever so slightly. They have more courage than most churches, pastors and evangelists in the UK, making them a ministry well worth supporting. Would you consider giving a donation to Christian Concern for the important work they are doing?”
Five days after being released from jail, the Canterbury police notified me that my case had been dropped and all of my bail conditions lifted, including the holding of my Bible, speaker, microphone and tracts. Yet, tremendous damage has still been done by the authorities who hauled off a street preacher in front of a large crowd of people at a “Pride” event – the celebration of homosexuality, transgenderism and other sexually sinful alternative lifestyles. The message was clear to the sodomite-supporting lot: We stand with you, not the Christian. When the police bring politics – particularly far-left woke ideologies and cultural Marxism – into their work, they are incapable of being fair and unbiased.
Based on the circumstances surrounding my arrest and the initial bail conditions, it’s clear to me that the enemy wants to silence my voice on issues of righteousness in the public square, so much so that he literally used the coppers to take my Bible, speaker, microphone and tracts, as well as put limitations on my movements, just as summer begins. I ask for your prayers for wisdom, discernment and the courage to continue being bold in this modern-day Sodom. If there is one thing Britian needs right now, it is voices. I’ve determined to set my face like flint and not cower before this godless, last days antichrist system. The devil can falsely accuse me, throw me in jail, beat me up and take my Bible, but he cannot take my faith in Jesus and my call to serve Him. I would rather be faithful in a holding cell than compromised and living comfortably.
Would you stand with me in Christ during this last dark hour? We are in a spiritual war for the souls of men and the basic decency of society.
Working whilst we can,
Helpful links relevant to this article
THE MINISTRY OF RYAN SCHIAVO : https://www.youtube.com/@lastdayspulpitministry8796
SUPPORT THE WORK OF CHRISTIAN CONCERN : https://christianconcern.com/donate/