A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Religious hatred or political chicanery?

I'm beginning to wonder if the Blair led New Labour government has lost all sense of reason? They still have cunning, deception, and spin-the-truth abilities, but reason seems to be departing their minds.

The Race and Religious Hatred Bill is another in a series of reason-abandoned thought processes which the government excels in. By linking race with religion they miss a vital point. A human being cannot choose his race but he can choose his religion. Now some say that a religion is part of a person's culture, background, and whole personality. Yes, it is, but it is something which can be embraced or rejected. A religion is something which can be discussed and debated. It can be honoured or ridiculed. For believers it will always remain true and for the agnostics and gainsayers it will not.

To denigrate a person on the basis of race, to abuse in language or written word to such an extent that people are driven to cause hurt whether mentally or physically is indeed bad. However, the government is just using the words "race" and "religion" as if they can be interchanged at will. For race read religion and vice versa. It makes no sense!

The word inflammatory was in the original race hatred laws. Inflaming race hatred is wrong and it is easily understood as such. If I said "All black people are......." and went on to say all manner of hurtful things, nearly everyone would find this objectionable. But it is not nearly so easily understood for religion. Here opinions must count. If I heard, as I have done, a Muslim say that the Bible is wrong because Jesus didn't die on the cross, He wasn't crucified, and He was only a prophet, I may be hurt but I can't prove the Muslim wrong or right. In that sense it is an opinion.

Stronger opinions are given by comedians, dramatists, and writers. Are they to be silenced because of this draconian measure? It is said that the government is doing this to assuage Muslim feelings post 9/11 and to counter the "rise" of the BNP. It has much to do with electoral advantage and nothing much with religious sensitivities.

The government is keen to say that only 40-odd prosecutions have been made and proved under the race hatred laws. As if to suggest that comics can carry on with the jokes, but the serious haters and extremists are the ones in their sights. It's all poppycock! It will be a charter for all those who feel miffed about Life of Brian, Jerry Springer the Opera and so on to press for prosecutions. If those prosecutions fail there will be demand for stiffer laws, and if there are no prosecutions, then those the government has sweet-talked into believing this to be the panacea will be seriously downhearted!

Imagine the Chairman of the BNP up in court charged with saying something about Islam. In his defence he says "Professor X said the same thing here, and Bishop Y said the same thing there!" It will be a dog's breakfast of a law and will only benefit lawyers, such as the Blairs!


We no longer have freedom of speech and we no longer have right of assembly. How many more fundamental rights will we lose before Traitor Blair gets the push?

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