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Man arrested for reading Bible at St Paul's London

Staff at landmark church “not happy” about public preaching

A bus driver was arrested for reading parts of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount outside St Paul’s Cathedral in London, due to staff complaining to police.

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Two videos of 55-year-old Alan Coote reading aloud from the Bible outside the famous London church have been doing the rounds recently. Published on June 30, one video shows Coote being arrested by a police officer for “breaching the peace”.

The second video was filmed a few months earlier and shows Coote having a less heated discussion with police officers. Both interactions were prompted by complaints by St Paul’s staff about Coote sharing from the Bible in the public space outside the cathedral.

Mr Coote told The Telegraph: “They called the police and I was arrested and driven away, but they just drove down the road and released me just round the corner.”

“The security staff were not happy for me to read it as they claimed I was on private property. I quoted to them that there is a constitutional position, the Epistle Dedicatory, that encourages The Bible to be read in the Church of England and on its land.”

Since the arrest in June, Coote and St Paul’s have come to an arrangement. Coote told Living Church that the landmark church’s authorities agreed to him being allowed to read on St Paul’s steps for, at most, 30 minutes each week.

Coote says he can speak more “softly” than he normally does, yet hopes his publicised stoush with St Paul’s will be a “wake-up call for them to start teaching the Bible instead of becoming a museum for visitors to pay money.”

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