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.