It used to be that the way to defend an idea was with a better idea however with LGBT fascism on the ascend in the so-called Free world laws are being used to silence speech critical of the anal penetration, fisting, felching, rimming, farming, scat, jackhammering and chariot racing of the LGBT community. It is impossible to defend the above with logic so it is necessary for a fascist state to silence critics.
In Jamaica LGBT activists have free speech and are taking the government to court claiming infringement of their “right” to anal penetration , an activity which generated the HIV pandemic and is responsible for the high and increasing levels of HIV among MSM. Nonetheless their counterparts in the so-called Freeworld which have succumbed to fascist ideology re: sexual orientation and gender identity, in reality stupidity parading as sense, are aggressive seeking to punish free speech.
Gays, Muslims and free speech
Published: Sunday | June 30, 2013 2 Comments
In October 2001, Evangelical preacher Harry John Hammond held up a large placard in Britain which read, ‘Stop immorality, stop homosexuality, stop lesbianism’. A group of approximately 40 people gathered around him, some threw missiles, and one attempted to pull away his placard. He fell backwards but got back up and resumed preaching against homosexuality.
Then someone poured water on him. A policeman urged Hammond to put down his sign and leave. When people protested that Hammond should be arrested, the police did arrest him for inciting violence. He was charged with violating Section 5 of Britain’s Public Order Act of 1986 which makes it an offence to “use any threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” or to display any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting “within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby”.
And the Magistrates Court found Hammond guilty. The justices ruled that Hammond’s placard simply opposing homosexuality and lesbianism in Jesus’ name was “insulting” and “caused distress to persons who were present”. Hammond was said to be provoking violence and disorder. It was not the people who assaulted Hammond who were arrested, but Hammond. This is not a fictional story. It happened.
And this is what has been happening all over the so-called ‘free world’ where hate-speech legislation and political correctness have been enshrined.
The Divisional Court, which rejected an appeal brought by Hammond, found that while the words on his placard “were not expressed in intemperate language”, it “interfered with the rights of others”.
The court “considered very carefully” whether it should conclude that the words on the sign were incapable of being held to be insulting but came to “the clear conclusion” that the Magistrates Court could find the words insulting indeed; “not least because the words on the sign appear to relate homosexuality and lesbianism to immorality”. Now this is not some fictional court. It happened in the real world. It is not fearmongering.
Commenting on this case, Amelia D. Lewis professor of constitutional law, James Weinstein, says in the 650-page tome Extreme Speech and Democracy (2009): “Significantly, it was not the manner of Hammond’s expression that was insulting: the sign contained no epithets or other insulting terms for homosexuals, nor did Hammond use profanity, mockery or offensive caricature to express his ideas. Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how Hammond could have expressed the idea he wanted to convey in a more civil manner without obfuscating its meaning.”
Absolutely right. But, continues Professor Weinstein: “The message of Hammond’s sign was insulting to certain members of the audience purely because of the idea expressed – that homosexuality is immoral.”
While we are in no immediate threat of that in Jamaica, don’t believe that when the preachers say their right to preach that homosexuality is wrong and immoral is being threatened that they are involved in irresponsible scare tactics. There is no immediate threat of this here, but many gays feel they have an inalienable right not to have their sexual orientation (since they find ‘lifestyle’ offensive) attacked as immoral.
On hate-speech legislation, or what is called extreme speech, the US stands alone in the developed world. (Its universities and media, though, are very developed-world in terms of political correctness taboos).
A number of European states criminalise Holocaust denial. You can go to jail if you deny the Holocaust did not occur, believe it or not! As is pointed out in the book The Content and Context of Hate Speech: Rethinking Regulation and Responses (2012): “Britain bans abusive, insulting and threatening speech. Denmark and Canada ban speech that is insulting and degrading and Israel bans speech that hurts religious feelings … . In Holland, it is a criminal offence to insult a particular group. Germany bans speech that violates the dignity of, or maliciously degrades or defames, a group.”
But as one jurist in extreme speech is quoted as saying, “Freedom only to speak inoffensively is not worth having.”
The US is still holding out in terms of its protection of the First Amendment right to free speech. The Westboro Baptist Church is a symbol of that freedom. In 2011, the US Supreme Court gave church members the right to picket military funerals and carry offensive placards like ‘God hates fags’ because of their view that God was punishing America for tolerating homosexuality. A father of a dead soldier had sued for the emotional distress caused by such placards at his son’s funeral.
FREE TO OFFEND
Chief Justice John Roberts said that “such speech cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt”. Britain’s position on the Hammond case, representative of free-speech curtailment in Europe and Canada, is starkly contrasted with a similar case in America 73 years ago. It’s the case of Jehovah’s Witness Jesse Cantwell, who was preaching his anti-Catholic gospel in a heavily populated Catholic neighbourhood. He called the Catholic Church “the instrument of Satan”.
Catholic listeners were incensed. Cantwell was charged and convicted for inciting a breach of the peace. But the Supreme Court unanimously reversed the decision, citing First Amendment protection for free speech.
The justices explained their reasons for overturning that decision and for upholding the Jehovah Witness preacher’s right to offend his Catholic hearers: “In the realm of religious faith, and in that of political belief, sharp differences arise. In both fields, the tenets of one man may seem the rankest error to his neighbour. To persuade others to his own point of view, the pleader at times resorts to exaggeration and to vilification … . But the people of this nation have ordained in the light of history that in spite of probability of excesses and abuses, these liberties are, in the long view, essential to enlightened opinion and right conduct on the part of citizens of a democracy.”
But many European states, as well as Canada, have moved away from these notions. Some have also been cowering under fear because of Islamic extremists who have been a primary force seeking to restrict free speech. These Islamists, unlike Christian fundamentalists who are generally pacifists, are not averse to killing, burning and looting to defend their religion. You can always defame, demean and ridicule fundamentalist Christians and their religion and you won’t generally have them killing your family and burning your property. Many atheists have fun slandering fundamentalist Christians and demeaning them. With no harm to them at all. Some Muslims will kill them, though.
Western nations, under the cloak of concern about Islamophobia, have been enacting legislation to restrict criticism of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
The fatwa for Salman Rushdie over his Satanic Verses book, the international riots over the Danish cartoonist’s depiction of Prophet Muhammad, and violence over that anti-Islamic video of more recent vintage have driven more fear into European hearts to curtail free speech.
It is interesting that militant gay activists who are venomously opposed and scathing in their attacks on Christians and the Christian religion, as well as Islam (which strongly opposes homosexuality), don’t believe Muslims and Christians should be shielded from offensive and insulting, fighting words.
Gay activists want to be protected and buffered from harsh words about their sexuality and some have lobbied to criminalise such speech or to ban it from campuses, etc., but they want to have freedom to say anything about religious people, particularly fundamentalists. Same knife stick goat stick sheep.
I don’t believe in blasphemy laws. But gay activists and atheists who feel free to insult religious symbols, deities and teachings can’t quarantine their sexuality from offensive criticism. The European Court of Human Rights has been taking some backward positions on free speech and has expressed opinions which seem to suggest that offence to religious sensibilities should be suppressed as blasphemy. The United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council have approved resolutions aimed at combating what they call “defamation of religions”. The US, rightly, has opposed these moves at the UN.
One man’s truth is another man’s heresy. Saying Jesus Christ is God is at the heart of Christian orthodoxy, but it is absolutely blasphemous and offensive to Muslims. The State has to be neutral on these matters. Justices and public intellectuals need to read or reread philosopher Karl Popper’s classic multi-volume The Open Society and Its Enemies. There are many enemies of freedom today, though they come dressed in democratic garb and using human and gay rights rhetoric.
Anti-democratic forces cite Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which calls for a ban on “any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination”. Teaching that homosexuality is an abomination; harping on the fact that the Old Testament prescribed that homosexuals be killed; teaching that God destroyed one whole nation because of “the gross sin of homosexuality”; quoting Paul that homosexuals “or any effeminate” won’t be in the kingdom of God; and saying homosexuals are destined for hell except they repent can be construed as setting up living, breathing homosexuals for discrimination; certainly stigmatisation.
It could be construed as demeaning and even dehumanising to so characterise homosexuality (It is, after all, seen as ‘unnatural’ and certainly as a ‘biological defect’ by fundamentalists). Make no mistake: These are inherently offensive ideas to gay people. But they are taught by fundamentalist Christians. Should they have the right to continue to teach that under the banner of free speech?
Law professor Jeremy Waldron, perhaps the most prominent hate-speech advocate and scholar, argues his case impressively in his 2012 The Harm in Hate Speech. Waldron’s view, argued incisively in this book and other works, is that what he terms hate speech harms human dignity and blocks human autonomy and flourishing, which are as central in democratic ideology as free speech, so why privilege free speech over these concepts? It’s a debate we must have in Jamaica.
Ian Boyne is a veteran journalist. Email feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.