Preaching to the Pub

Christians tried to ban swearing, teach the Bible while running London tavern.

ByABC News
July 4, 2008, 12:43 PM

LONDON, July 5, 2008 — -- No one could accuse Krista and John Fleming of lacking ambition.

When the devout British Christian couple took over the management of a North London pub, the Kings Head, less than a year ago, they decided to serve up a helping of Christianity to their customers.

But the locals were none too impressed, especially when the Flemings banned gambling on horse racing, took down the dart board and put up a sign outside the tavern reading "No Swearing."

Pub regulars told the Daily Telegraph that Krista Fleming, 36, would walk around the tables, armed with a Bible, and tell people off for swearing.

John Rudkn, 61, a regular at the Kings Head, said, "Any swearing and you were barred. It was well over the top."

His wife added, "You can't run a pub and not swear. If they are Christians, they should run a church, not a bloody pub."

Her words were echoed by another regular, Rose, 57, who told the Daily Mail, "They should have built pews in here rather than chairs. I have no problem with their religion but ... a pub is a pub. They started having a quiz and loads of the questions were on the Bible."

Sexagenarian George Whipps told the Mail, "Those two were almost the ruin of this place. They told everyone who swore once they would be banned. They barred people who had been coming here for 30-odd years."

The Flemings upset so many of the pub's regulars that earnings fell steeply, leading the pub owners, Oakfield Taverns Limited, to fire them and replace them with a more easygoing landlord, Jim Jennings.

But the couple refuses to go quietly, having barricaded themselves, with three of their six children, in a flat above the pub.

In an interview with the Mail, the Flemings said they only acted on the owner's instructions.

Their brief, they said, was to change the pub to make it more woman-friendly, so two women could "come into the pub, buy a bottle of wine and feel comfortable drinking it."