- (Photo: Screengrab/YouTube.com)
Tony Miano, a retired deputy sheriff from Los Angeles County, Calif., was arrested in London, England, earlier this week for preaching on abstaining from sexual immorality, both heterosexual and homosexual, in downtown Wimbledon. He was found to be in violation of Public Order Act Section 5, for "using homophobic speech that could cause people anxiety, distress, alarm or insult," Miano said in a YouTube video posted on Wednesday.
Preaching from 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12, Miano spoke about sexual sins for 25 minutes before being cut off by Metropolitan Police officers who said that although preaching in itself is not an offense, the specific part of the Bible he was preaching from was interpreted as homophobic by the woman who called to complain.
Miano told police officers that he doesn't hate homosexuals, and then reiterated that he was preaching about all forms of sexual immorality – lust, fornication and addiction to pornography. He said that he "loves homosexuals enough to bring them the truth of the Gospel."
Subsequently, Miano was arrested and escorted uncuffed to the police station, where he was booked, photographed and fingerprinted. Police also took a DNA sample to ensure that he was not a wanted criminal.
During the seven hours he spent in jail, Miano said he was interrogated about his faith in Jesus Christ, and was asked a series of questions.
"I was asked if I believe homosexuality is a sin. I was asked what portion of the Bible I was reading. I was asked that if a homosexual was hungry and walked up to me, would I give them something to eat."
Miano said Wednesday that he was hoping to get a copy of the interrogation, "because the world really needs to hear it."
On Thursday, he posted a transcript from the interrogation on his website, Cross Encounters.
Sports Fan International, the mission team that organized the evangelistic effort outside the Wimbledon tennis tournament, quickly retained attorney Michael Phillips of Christian Concern, an organization Miano described as being similar to the American Center for Law and Justice and Alliance Defending Freedom in the United States. Phillips relayed the bad news to Miano that he was facing 24 hours in jail, followed by prosecution, in which he could possibly be ordered to stay in England until the completion of his trial, which could last four to five months.
Miano said he then asked for his Bible and received a copy of the Gideon's Bible, and began reading from Acts 1-5, and explained that he found particular comfort in chapters 3-5. He also said he sang hymns inside his jail cell.
In time, Miano said a peace came over him. He later found out that although he was expecting the worst, the inspector had decided to release him "without further action." He was released just after midnight on Tuesday.
To watch the exchange between Metroplitan Police officers and Tony Miano, forward to 25:40 minutes.