5 thoughts on “Religious Hatred Law

  1. Johnhttp://john.pettigrew.org.uk/blog/ says:

    I’m not sure whether you’re saying that this would be good or bad, because what these pastors were certainly guilty of speaking without love for their neighbours, and of fomenting distrust and misunderstanding, at the very least. They didn’t just say “Islam is not the way to God”!

    The offending statement included the view that the Koran promotes violence and killing; that Muslims lie; and that Muslims intend to take over Australia and declare it an Islamic state.

    Each of those statements is simply false, and ludicrously so. Repeating such things can only be culpable peddling of hatred. Not least, saying that “Muslims” lie or want to take over the country is as false as saying that “Christians” do these things.

    I’m not sure about the current Incitement law in the UK. It would be too easily co-opted to suppress free debate on all sides, but I believe that we do need something to end the false, terrible things that some people are spreading. The current law is possibly too draconian but the status quo is unfair and fails to protect the vulnerable.

    pax et bonum

  2. Paul says:

    The Australian article illustrates some of the many problems such laws produce. I don’t want protection from arguments, ideas and even insults. And is it pushing it too far to say God doesn’t need such protection either? If He is seriously offended, it’s an odd notion that holds that the British Government has to step in to uphold His honour.

  3. Stephen says:

    I am against the religious hatred law and the Australian example is the reason why. What you think about these Christian brothers is irrelevant (and you certainly should not be sent to jail for it).

    Surely the way to deal with one’s disagreement is to make the argument against the view and to demonstrate that it is incorrect, if indeed it is. We really do not need such a law.

  4. Johnhttp://john.pettigrew.org.uk/blog/ says:

    What do we do, though, with people who persist in making false statements with the intention of denigrating a religious group, as these Australian pastors seem to have been doing? Do we let them continue to foment distrust and hatred based on religion? If they refuse to apologise or stop, should there really be nothing we can do to stop them?

    As I’ve said, I am not really a supporter of the proposed UK law, but we do have an odd situation in the UK at the moment in which Christians are protected from such things but no one else is. Is this really fair? If we reject any religious hatred law, we should surely get rid of the blasphemy laws as well. At least that would put everyone on the same level in the eyes of the law. But perhaps we do want some protection from those who peddle hatred based on religious views – perhaps especially when this is a pretext for racial hatred (as is often the case).

    pax et bonum

  5. Paul says:

    John makes a number of distinct points. Personally I would rather have the UK blasphemy law scrapped than extend it. Christianity (or more usually caricatures of it) is regularly pilloried and denigrated. It has been since the time of Jesus. Just look at what he was accused of saying at His trial! Think of what Nero accused Christians of. There’s nothing new in any of this.

    But this is distinct from inciting violence. If violence is deliberately or knowingly incited, the state has the power it requires to intervene. If there is a racial element to this, then again, appropriate powers exist. But as soon as you seek to extend this to religeon, problems inevitably ensue. Just try getting a rigorous definition of religeon for a start.

    Antoher problem is the relationships between “denigrating” (not sure these Autralians were guilty of this) a religous text, formenting hatred and inciting violence, and some act that we would want to be prevented (eg an attack on a halal shop). The ability of our lawmakers to design a robust law to appropriately attributes responsibility strikes me as being beyond their capabilites.

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