Been busy today so bloggage time has been very limited. Still I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to comment on the BCC reporting that the leaders of 100 Black churches will be staging a rally against the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill, which gets its third reading in the House of Commomns, today.
According to the BBC its not so much freedom of speech they’re worried about as ‘freedom to preach’ and they’re worried that might end up being prosecuted for proselytizing to non-believers if it cause them offence.
Having read the Bill, while it is rather loosely written, I don’t recall seeing anything in it which would suggest that anyone would get themselves arrested for knocking on doors and offering to talk to people about god…
… although the more I think about it the more I’m coming around to the idea that this may, in fact, be a significant omission from the Bill – there being something rather seductive about the idea watching JW’s getting hauled off to court for knocking your door on a Sunday morning.
The other that caught my eye is Julie Morgan’s comments on the same subject which note that:
Much correspondence has centred on the idea that members of one religious grouping will not be able to evangelise or to criticise other religions; for instance, some Christian constituents have said that they will be at risk of prosecution if they say “Muslims will go to hell”. I listened very carefully to the Second Reading debate a few weeks ago, and to the Home Secretary. He repeatedly gave assurances that people like my constituents will not face prosecution.
Apart from noting that its a piss-poor religion that has to resort to threats of hellfire and enternal damnation just to put one over on the competition, isn’t it also the case that maybe this kind of irrational, pig ignorant ‘you will go to hell if you don’t do what we say’ kind of bullshit is exactly what we should be trying to rid ourselves of with this Bill.
I’m sorry but peddling the line that Muslims, or anyone else for that matter, are somehow inferior or due less regard as human beings becuase their beliefs are different from yours seems to me to be no different to the foul bullshit being spewed out by Nick Griffin and the BNP. If we are to have this law then it must apply equally to everyone and the fact that your own personal brand of hatred is based on religious rather than political belief should be no defence if you cross the line between legitimate comment and spewing hatred.
And while we’re on the subject don’t you also think that if we are going to outlaw religious hatred in this way we should also outlaw hatred of other groups in society – say the gay community, for example – on exactly the same basis…
…or would that also be an unwelcome restriction on the freedom to preach.