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June 10, 2005

Have the Limeys gone insane?!?

From the UK Telegraph:

Extremist religious groups that advocate child abuse will be given protection under a Bill published by the Government yesterday.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Bill would outlaw remarks considered likely to stir up hatred against all religious groups, including those whose followers believe in beating children to drive out demons.

The Bill contains no definition of "religious belief" and ministers confirmed it would cover members of the African religion whose adherents were convicted last week of cruelty to a girl of eight they regarded as a witch.

Satanists, pagans and atheists would be protected.

Having good reason for making insulting comments that could provoke hatred of a particular religious doctrine would be no defence, nor would the fact that they were true.

Opponents said the Bill would seriously undermine freedom of speech.

After yesterday's stories from the UK, it makes you wonder what they're drinking over there.  Fortunately the Bill [I capitalized it like they do over there] doesn't seem to have very much support.

David Pannick, QC, said that, because of the uncertainty inherent in so vague a criminal law, it would inevitably have a chilling effect on freedom of expression about religious beliefs or practices.

But the Government pointed out that there had been few, if any, prosecutions under existing law for telling anti-Semitic jokes and any prosecution would have to be approved by the Attorney General.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said that religion, unlike race, was a matter of personal choice and therefore appropriate for open debate.

"Aggravated crimes against religious groups are already protected while this new law would technically prevent what many people may regard as reasonable criticism of devil-worshippers and religious cults."

Dominic Grieve, the shadow attorney general, said: "We are likely to see religious groups trying to get other religious groups prosecuted, which will inflame community tensions rather than make them better."

I'm wondering what a “shadow home secretary” and a “shadow attorney general” are.

For the Liberal Democrats, Evan Harris said the Bill would stifle religious debate and feed an increasing climate of censorship.

Last year Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "In a free and democratic society, we are all entitled to be rude about each other."

And if you've ever watched parliament, you'd see they take that very literally.

Maybe this is just one idiotic Bill by some crackpot that will show the rest the direction their society is heading.

Coverage: Don Singleton

Posted by Danny Carlton at June 10, 2005 09:01 AM

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