Marquette Gay Lobby on Gay Lobby Censorship in the U.K.
One reaction came on the blog of the Marquette Gay/Straight Alliance, where Jason derided the whole idea that there is anything wrong with arresting people for passing out pamphlets.
Christianity is not under attack, free speech is not under attack, but the McAdamses and O’Reilley’s want us to believe that so we will read/watch them, and 60% of what they say is crap . . .OK, people get arrested for politely handing out pamphlets condemning homosexuality, and “free speech is not under attack.”
What would it require for free speech to be under attack? That people passing out pamphlets be shot on sight?
These folks are looking for a loophole to hate speech, which we know is exactly what it is: hate. My point is that if your group’s message falls under hate, you have something wrong with your message there. Perhaps if these so called Christian groups were actually promoting the fundamental teaching of love that comes from Jesus himself, there would be no problem. So instead of passing out pamphlets about how badly homosexuals are sinning, and how they’re evil, why not do as a strange, strange woman did on the bus to me one morning: hand me something that says God loves you. Last I checked, God is love after all.Of course, Christians are perfectly free to hand out pamphlets that say “God loves you.”
But that’s not the issue. The issue is whether they should be arrested for handing out pamphlets that say that homosexuality is sinful.
Jason apparently thinks they should be.
This is entirely typical of the politically-correct mindset of activists who claim to represent “victim” groups. They can’t conceive of the notion that they have an obligation to tolerate any speech they don’t like.
A very different reaction comes from a blogger named Ed Brayton, a secular liberal who is making an honest effort to overcome his (admitted) biases against Christians. There is a strong libertarian streak to his views.
Brayton first quotes Eugene Volokh as follows:
I certainly don’t agree with the moral views expressed in the leaflet, but my sense is that this is probably about as calm, polite, and reasoned a way of expressing those views as is possible. Of course many people would still find it offensive, because of the ideas that the speech expresses; but preventing such speech really does requiring suppressing the ideas, rather than just insisting that they be expressed in less incendiary ways. If the distribution of such speech is illegal in England, then English law has indeed gone a long way to undermining the ability to discuss such moral matters.Brayton then adds:
It certainly has. And it highlights the problem with hate speech laws in general. A law that makes it illegal to utter “threatening, abusive or insulting words” is inevitably broadened, at least with respect to certain protected groups, and it is inevitably targeted only against one side. Calling an anti-gay Christian a bigoted moron (and I do so often, though not in all cases) is, objectively, much more of an insult than merely citing moral disapproval of something. Yet you never hear of such laws being used to stifle that sort of speech, only speech aimed from one side and not the other.Gay activists like to use the term “homophobe” to describe people who disagree with their views. But the depth of intolerance that the gay lobby shows is vastly closer to a genuine phobia than the thinking of any but the most extreme Christian critics of homosexuality.
And again, I think that’s inevitable. And if the law is going to be applied this broadly, is there any criticism of anything that could not be deemed equally insulting and therefore illegal? We simply should not allow government to police speech and ideas in this manner, deciding what is and is not “insulting”. There is simply no way of doing so in an objective manner, and the result is invariably to make the expression of certain ideas forbidden.