Wednesday, 10 October 2007

More Hypocrisy from Religious Figures: Who'd've thought it?

I notice one of the most strident voices opposing the new offence against incitement to homophobic hatred in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill is Colin Hart, Director of the conservative evangelical Christian Institute. Here's what he said:

“In a democratic society people must be free to express their beliefs without fear of censure. A homophobic hatred law would be used by those with an axe to grind against Christians to silence them. There has already been high profile cases of the police interfering with free speech and religious liberty regarding sexual ethics. People shouldn’t face prison for expressing their sincerely-held religious beliefs.”
He's really giving the old free speech defence some welly isn't he? Apropos of nothing much, here's Colin Hart back in 2005 on Jerry Springer: The Opera:
"The BBC has a duty to respect the religious beliefs of its viewers... Genuine religious debate and criticism is one thing, but this show is an offensive, spiteful, systematic mockery and wilful denigration of Christian belief."
He then promptly called for a judicial review of its screening. What - use the law to silence something he disagrees with? But he's so keen on free speech! I'll remind you of that quote again: "In a democratic society people must be free to express their beliefs without fear of censure."

That's what makes me so angry about so many religious public figures. They're not actually interested in free speech, or any consistent set of moral principles. What they're interested in is using the law to bully people into not saying anything they don't like, whilst hiding behind the law as soon as anyone says anything nasty about them. "Don't hate us, but it's fine for us to hate you." They're disingenuous, self-interested hypocrites. It's pathetic.

1 comment:

Andy Armitage said...

Couldn't agree more. They just don't see the hypocricy of it, of course, and you've hit the nail on the head there. I know you've seen the Freethinker blog's piece about it, because that's how I found your blog. One thing I always make the point of saying in online discussion is that, as a nonbeliever and as a fully paid-up ageing poofter, I believe in letting people say what the hell they like about me – provided they'll argue with me rationally. Once I and others like me start campaigning for that to stop, we may regret what we've asked for, because free speech will diminish.

If it's going to be there for Peter, it's got to be there for Paul. And this is where other religions such as Islam fall down: they just can't see that; they just can't see that their belief system, along with anyone else's, us up for grabs in the satire stakes.