London commuters wrenched open the doors of a packed rush-hour train Monday morning, forcing the train to stop and the power to the tracks to be cut. Witnesses described the scene as “panicked” and a “commotion.”
The reason: a fellow passenger was reading the Bible aloud.
“I specifically heard him say things about homosexuality and sex before marriage being sins and how we had to repent for our sins, the lord gave his son for our sins, et cetera,” one passenger told the Richmond & Twickenham Times. “I sort of zoned out a little after that as I had no interest in listening to him.”
Others weren’t able to zone out. They “started to panic and push.”
Some commuters “became scared when the man also began saying ‘Death is not the end,'” a rider told the BBC.
Trains on the route from the southwest London suburb of Shepperton to the city center were delayed for hours. No one was injured in what the police described as a “self-evacuation.”
Fleeing wasn’t the only option for commuters who didn’t want to hear about their sins. A passenger finally asked the Bible-reading man to be quiet because he was scaring people, and “the guy stopped and stood there with his head down.”
Surveys show that Great Britain is one of the most secular countries in the world. The “avowedly non-religious,” The Guardian newspaper reported earlier this year, now make up half of Britain’s population.
— Douglas Perry
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