Christian Ministry Wins $35K Lawsuit against Edinburg City over Event Cancellation


Authorities in Edinburg had cancelled the conference organized by Destiny Ministries last summer in Edinburg’s Usher Hall, claiming that its guest speaker, Larry Stockstill, who is a pastor from Louisiana, held views they disagreed with. Stockstill is an author and former pastor of the multi campus Bethany World Prayer Center. 

His book, He Teaches My Hands to War, which he published in 2007, described homosexuality as ‘’not accepted by God’’ and ‘’not normal behavior.’’ These statements were flayed by a group which demanded the event cancelled. 

The Christian Post reported that a spokesman for the city council stated that Stockstill’s public views against same-sex relationships were considered discriminatory and offensive. Gavin Calver, the head of the U.K.-based Evangelical Alliance, was also billed to speak for the event.

While speaking with The Times, Andrew Owen of Destiny Ministries said that the council was asked to change its decision but they refused. Their refusal warranted them to speak to various people in the Christian community and they took a decision to challenge the council in the courts as this was a severe infringement of freedom of expression and religious liberty.

In the court, the Edinburg city council agreed to apologize to the Scotland-based Destiny Church and also pay over $35,000 for cancelling its three-day conference because of the views of its guest speaker.

In addition, the council admitted that it had “failed to meet its equalities duties to Destiny Ministries in terms of the Equality Act 2010 and therefore acted unlawfully.” In a statement by the European Convention on Human Rights, Christian legal firm ADF U.K., the council also agreed that it had failed to take account of Destiny’s rights as protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

“With this behind us we look forward to being able to make use of council premises in the future as we bring forward the good news of the Gospel,” Owen added.

The Legal Council of ADF U.K., Jeremiah Igunnubole, noted that the foundations of every free and democratic society are freedom of religion and freedom of speech. Hence, they were delighted to assist Destiny Ministries in this issue because freedom of religion comprises of the freedom to demonstrate your faith in practice, teaching, and observance. In conclusion, he said that nobody should be discriminated on the basis of their faith.

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