Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Freedom of speech & "thought crime"

A Cardiff City councillor is facing a local government ombudsman's enquiry and possible disciplinary action following a post on the Twitter network calling the Church of Scientology “stupid.”
Astonishingly, Wales’ public standards watchdog said John Dixon is likely to have breached the code of conduct for local authority members with his short message last year. It said:  “I didn’t know the Scientologists had a church on Tottenham Court Road. Just hurried past in case the stupid rubs off.”
"The Church of Scientology," made an official complaint after spotting the posting.
 As Wales Online says:
"The church, created by American science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard in the 1950s, has a reputation for being fiercely litigious and has been accused in the US courts of trying to use the legal system to destroy critics."

Many of us are deeply concerned about unfair and biased anti-religious comment in the media. We have seen over the last months extremely questionable material trying, for example, to link Pope Benedict personally with the crimes of those guilty of child abuse. But many of us are equally concerned about using the sledgehammer of the law to crack the nutshell of "unfair" comment, particularly when it amounts to reinforcing the new legal category of thought crime which has the capacity to undermine the entire basis of freedom of expression in a representative democracy.
There are adequate laws dealing with violence against the person (and conspiracy to commit such violence), there are also remedies against libel and slander, there is ample and effective legislation against racial hatred and discrimination. The discussion has never taken place in the wider society about the perceived need to extend almost ad infinitum that worryingly elastic category of "hate crime."
So when it comes to extending such unnecessary "protection" to organisations such as Scientology (and the modern secular state will, like it or not,  increasingly tend to treat all "religious" groups more or less on the same footing), I would prefer to take my chances as a Christian in free and unfettered debate on the basis that Catholic truth ultimately has a strange way of becoming evident, whatever the forces lined up against it.
Essentially, if you can't cope with being called 'stupid,' then the real problem is yours. Deal with it.
We all really need to grow up before 'social liberalism' infantilises and enslaves us all. And the worst form of slavery is that which imprisons the mind, the heart and the soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Anonymous comments will not be published