Homosexuality can be given up like cigarettes or drugs, a reverend has claimed after leaping to the defence of a controversial preacher arrested for using “homophobic” language.

The Rev Peter Ratcliff, of St John’s Church of England (Continuing) in Colliers Wood, has leapt to the defence of controversial Christian speaker Tony Miano, who was arrested on Monday, July 1, outside Wimbledon’s Centre Court shopping centre for using offensive “homophobic” language.

His arrest and preceding speech was caught on camera and later posted on YouTube in which Mr Miano, a US citizen, preaches from the Bible, voicing his belief that same-sex relationships are an “abomination”.

His words prompted a complaint from a member of the public to the police who arrested him under section 5 of the Public Order Act, took him to Wimbledon police station, where he was questioned but later released without charge.

In response, a furious Mr Ratcliff accused police of misusing the law and being manipulated by homosexuals, prompting him to demand from them a public apology.

Mr Ratcliff, who is also firmly against women in the clergy, said: “His YouTube video shows his entire speech and he was in no way inciting violence toward anybody.

“If anybody should be charged with hate it is his accuser who appears to have sworn at him.

“In the USA there are now groups of ex-homosexuals who have been able to repent of homosexuality in the way that one might for example give up cigarettes or drugs.

“I call upon Merton police to publicly apologise for such high handed use of the law and for allowing themselves to be manipulated by homosexuals who are evidently trying to silence those who not merely have Biblical and moral objections to homosexuality but are proclaiming the way of eternal life through Jesus Christ to all people regardless of their present circumstances.”


Mr Miano had been preaching in Wimbledon every day of the first week of the tennis championships.

Defending his actions, Mr Miano said: “The language I used was not homophobic, as I was not promoting fear or hatred of homosexuals.

"I began by assuring people that mine was not a message of hate but of love.

"I was simply explaining a passage in the Bible which speaks of sexual immorality and that people should abstain from it.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesman confirmed that under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 officers have the power to arrest someone on suspicion of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the sight of a person likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress - after which a citizen is either charged or released with no further action.

Mr Ratcliff is no stranger to controversy, having claimed in 2010 that Princess Diana-style funerals where friends and family read eulogies and poems should be banned and are “little better than an entertainment show”.