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

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Protest over religious hate Bill

The more this authoritarian government tries to ban something or somebody, the more they appear to have little grasp on reality. Tony Blair was trying to say he was not authoritarian yesterday but it sounded rather weak in its sincerity. People are right to be concerned about the new "religious hate" laws that he and his sidekick Charles Clarke are cooking up. Whatever they say it is the fact that, if enacted, these laws would give license for any aggrieved person to complain about someone else's views. A nightmare scenario for the police and CPS.

There was a protest of various groups outside Parliament yesterday. The Reverend Katei Kirby, African and Caribbean Evangelical Alliance chief executive, said "It affects everyone so deeply. This is not just about doctrine. This is not even about theological opposition. This is about our basic freedom to speak and to preach. It affects people's freedom to discuss and to critique anything because it might upset or offend somebody else and that is very serious." The National Secular Society also took part in the demonstration. Vice-president Terry Sanderson said "We are coming at it from a completely different angle from the Christians. They are looking at the restrictions on their right to evangelise. We are looking at the restrictions on our being about to criticise religion per se so we can make common cause with them on this. I think this is an indicator to the government of just how wide the opposition is."

Actually, it is more than the right to evangelise. It is about being able to criticise perceived wrongs and heresies in another religion without fear of the criminal law. On that point I would have thought there is a meeting of minds between religious and secular.

The bottom line is do we believe the government or the protesters? My hunch is that the protesters have discerned that the government has missed the point here, but we shall see!



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