Devon and Cornwall Police have said a leaflet handed out in by Jehovah’s Witnesses in North Devon isn’t a hate crime.
The religious group, which is known for its door-to-door canvassing, are now distributing leaflets called “How to Harness Your Habits”.
In it contains an article asking “What does the Bible say about homosexuality? which the group states that “rejecting homosexuality” is completely different to “rejecting people of a different skin colour” and says their views are the same as people who “view smoking as harmful and even repugnant”.
It also compares gay people to animals, but says “unlike animals, they can choose not to act on their impulses”.
Local paper, the North Devon Journal, was contacted by a reader, who wishes to remain anonymous, who felt “belittled” by the leaflet.
“I completely respect other peoples’ beliefs and people who disagree with homosexuality because of their religion do not bother me,” she said.
“But when people actively seek you out to force their beliefs upon you and tell you that what you are doing is wrong then that does upset me.
Devon and Cornwall Police have stated: “We have been made aware of some religious materials which have been distributed in North Devon.
“Whilst it doesn’t appear to meet the threshold to be considered a crime, these have been passed on to our Diverse Communities Team to look into.”
Earlier this year the Jehovah’s Witnesses funded a cartoon that teaches children to oppose gay parenting. The ‘lesson’ features a girl speaking to her mother after her friend reveals she has same-sex female parents.
The girls mother explains: “Jehovah created Adam and Eve, male and female,” she said, and adds: “Jehovah’s standards haven’t changed.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses count 8.2 million members worldwide and may be among the world’s faster-growing religions.
Click here to read the leaflet in full.