Friday, 11 May 2018

Reader's Letter Of The Day

Emailed in by the author:

CAN someone explain why anyone who criticises a religion risks prosecution, while insulting a political party is OK?

The idea that religions have benefitted humanity more than political parties is very debatable.

For example, various Muslim groups in Syria are responsible for a hundred thousand deaths in recent years, and over a million refugees.

As for the Church of England, that is traditionally referred to as “the Tory Party at prayer”: i.e. the C of E has spent most of life ingratiating itself with the rich and powerful.

In contrast, it’s political parties that arguably have brought the really big benefits: e.g. the Labour Party helped give us the NHS and state pensions. Religion cannot match that achievement.

It’s the height of cheek for the anti-free speech non-entities in Westminster to tell ordinary people what they can and can’t say about religion.

Ralph Musgrave, Durham


Mark Wadsworth said...

Some argue that the Tories set up the NHS shortly before Labour won the 1945 election, and the original state pension was introduced by the Liberal govt in 1908, but hey.

ontheotherhand said...

No I can't explain why one group should be protected from criticism and another is not protected. On the other hand, nor do I think that a group needs to have demonstrated an 'achievement' or have benefitted humanity in order to be awarded such protection. Straw man argument.

Ralph Musgrave said...

Ontheotherhand, I wasn't trying to argue that because a group has "achieved" something, that it should therefor be protected. My point was that religion has, arguably, achieved less than political parties. Thus religion should be open to criticism and ridicule just as much as political parties, if not more so.

ontheotherhand said...

Yes RM, I understand that your opinion is that religion has achieved less than political parties. My point is that opinion about whether a group has achieved more or less than political parties is irrelevant to whether or not the group should protected from criticism. No group should be protected from criticism. It is a purer simpler statement.

The strawman you set up is that nobody out there has argued that the basis for Hate Speech laws is that the group that feels abused or threatened must be a high achieving or beneficial group. Nobody argues that criticising a religion should risk prosecution just because it is claimed religion has benefitted humanity.

Indeed the most common hate speech arrests have been situations of religious people opining that homosexuality is a sin.

Mark Wadsworth said...

RM: "religion should be open to criticism and ridicule just as much as political parties, if not more so"

Nailed it!

Lola said...

If you think that the NHS and State Pensions are 'Good Things'. In fact the NHS was the nationalisation of the existing health system. Is then nationalisation a good thing. Especially when faith groups often provided health care?

But I take your point.

Bayard said...

It's just another inconsistency in our culture, like the rule that says politicians can do almost anything and not suffer any consequences, except misbehave sexually.

formertory said...

Section 29J of the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act:-

29J Protection of freedom of expression

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

Ben Jamin' said...

I've never understood blasphemy laws.

Being omnipotent, surely God is more than capable of dealing with blasphemers himself? Is he a bed wetter or something?

pen seive said...

There is only one religion where a prosecution follows criticism of it, and we all know which one that is. The thought Police will clamp down at the first mention of "Calm Down And Have A Bacon Sandwich" yet do nothing when these same followers incite the murdering of soldiers, Jews, Christians, or anyone who refuses to acknowledge that their late, great, prophet was a great guy, rather than the camel thieving, raping, murdering, paedophile that history has shown he was. You can't even criticise their politics or politicians as they are intrinsically linked to their cult of "join us or die". For the benefit of the thought Police, I refer, of course, to The Borg. If they get their way we will all, eventually, be assimilated.

Bayard said...

PS, no, there are at least two that fit your description (including the bacon sandwich). As to the second one, I'll give you a clue: what to the words "latest smear" and "Jeremy Corbyn" remind you of?