Thursday, March 31, 2005

The Downside of Hate Speech Laws

Cybercast News Service reports on efforts to repeal a religious hatred law after two Christian pastors are convicted for reading and explaining Muslim texts to their congregation in church. Link.
A campaign to dump a religious hatred law in Australia is winning growing support from churches -- including some whose opinion on the law has shifted since two Christians were found guilty of vilifying Muslims.

Mainstream church leaders are adding their voices to other Christians asking the State of Victoria's Labor government to rescind the legislation, saying it poses a danger to freedom of speech.

Victoria's Racial and Religious Tolerance Act made headlines around the world after Muslims took two pastors before a tribunal, complaining about a post-9/11 seminar designed to explain Islam to a Christian audience. (...)

He said both Islam and Christianity were missionary religions, and Muslims and Christians alike should have the liberty to make disciples in Australia.
The trend toward outlawing speech that some may find offensive is spreading around the world. It is wrong wherever it occurs. It is hard to think of any statement that someone, somewhere will not find offensive. Whether one if facing expulsion from school or going to jail, if it is for expressing one's opinion and not calling for violence toward others, that should be protected speech.

This is totally different from laws against inciting to violence, and that is the very area where western governments tend to look the other way as Muslim imams call for death to Christians, Jews and other infidels. In this country, justices keep finding new rights that were never in the Constitution, but those that are clearly in the First and Second Amendments, are deemed negotiable.


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