The following case may well be worth taking note of as we watch the further degeneration of Western Culture: A 78 year old preacher* in Northern Ireland is being prosecuted for calling Islam “heathen” and “satanic.” Amazingly, the prosecutor, David Russell, on the case was able to say (without his head exploding) that the case has “nothing to do with religion or freedom of expression.” He claims it is the fact that a large number of people find the statement to be “grossly offensive” that makes it worth throwing a preacher in jail.
What makes this example so hard for me to believe is that this Russel must be either a: completely ridiculous or b: a most brazen liar with no respect for thinking people. He is prosecuting a preacher (i.e. a minister of a religion) for speaking words (i.e. delivering a speech). It shouldn’t take Einstein to draw the obvious connection–This is very much the government treading upon this man’s rights to express himself. Even better, he expects people to be so thick that they would actually buy his asinine excuse. It’s hard to believe that anyone capable of passing the bar would believe it himself.
It is also incredibly shortsighted. After all, freedom of speech and freedom of religion are specifically there to provide protection for ideas that offend people. If everyone agreed, why would the speech need protection to begin with? This had obviously escaped Mr. Russell.
Of course, perhaps there is a third option. Perhaps Mr. Russell really does believe that all speech that is offensive to large sections of a religious population should be banned and its speaker prosecuted. I’ll be waiting hear his indictment of Richard Dawkins for any of this many comments. (I doubt we will. And that is as it should be. I defend Dawkins’ right to offend me, but in return, I expect to be able to offend him.)
So, what have we learned? That in the West, when we blatantly discriminate against and prosecute Christians by violating their freedom of speech, by definition it has nothing to do with either religion or freedom of speech. Why not? Because David Russel says so.
Glad we cleared that up.
*For the Record: I haven’t read up on PastorMcConnell and I may very well have serious disagreements with him. I am not necessarily endorsing anything he says. In a free society, however, I do endorse his right to say it.