Monday, November 16, 2009

Threats to Freedom of Speech

According to (11/11/09), “MPs have voted down a proposal that would have ensured that Christians in the UK retained the freedom to criticize homosexual activity in the country under a proposed hate crimes bill. A free speech amendment in the proposed hate crimes legislation was rejected 342 votes to 145 by MPs on Monday night.”

The amendment read, "For the avoidance of doubt, the discussion or criticism of sexual conduct or practices or the urging of persons to refrain from or modify such conduct or practices shall not be taken of itself to be threatening or intended to stir up hatred."

In the proposed bill, hate crimes are not simply a matter of the violence. The nature of the offense is extended to also include speech -- "stirring up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation" – and carries a sentence of up to seven years' imprisonment.

It had been argued that an amendment to this bill was necessary. Without it, the bill might have a "chilling effect on freedom of speech" and that there already is "plenty of evidence" that similar ordinances have already had this effect. According to LSN,

“Citizens expressing religious or other opinions opposing homosexual activity have been ‘interviewed’ by police as possible offenders. Such people, he said, ‘were told by the police that they were very close to the serious offence of homophobia, punishable by seven years' imprisonment.’"

What happens in the UK doesn’t stay in the UK. The USA has just signed into law a similar bill, having rejected an amendment that would have protected our freedom of speech to raise objections of conscience against alternative sexualities and family configurations.

What does this communicate? That freedom of speech and an open society, where all have the freedom to express their views, is no longer tolerated. Ironically, however, it seems like those who need the protection against violence are the very ones being silenced. OneNewsNow reports that the,

FBI is investigating terrorism threats posted on a homosexual blog that appear to be aimed at Christians. Pro-family activists have drawn attention to a disturbing exchange on a homosexual blog run by Joe Jervis of New York. The exchange takes place between individuals named Fritz and Tex in the comment section of a blog discussing the Maine homosexual marriage defeat and pro-family activists Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel and Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality. LaBarbera says the two commentators discussed carrying out acts of terrorism against Christians.

"One guy [Fritz] sort of raises [the concept] and says, 'well, if Obama doesn't give us what we want, you are going to see a very real potential for violence' -- to quote his words...and then he says, 'well, that is not a good thing,'" LaBarbera reports. "Then another activist comes back and says, 'Well what's wrong with that?'" (See sample of blog comments below)

In this online conversation, Fritz goes on to say, "This happens in all cases where people are oppressed and lack representation. Our President must wake up and prevent this from happening. Otherwise we will end up like Israel and Palestine. We will have gay and lesbian people strapping bombs to their chests and blowing up churches. All it will take is one or two more losses like this. If marriage equality is taken away in one of the landmark states, we will see domestic terrorism arise very quickly....In 1991, I witnessed gay and lesbian activists setting fire to buildings and beating people with baseball bats in Los Angeles."

Tex replies, "Still not seeing this as a bad thing Fritz...[African gay activists] didn't gain their civil rights through being passive…maybe a bit of well organized terrorism is just what we need."

The message to Obama is clear, “If you don’t give us what we want, there’s going to be blood, and you’ll be the cause of it, not me!” And they mean it. They have convinced themselves that they are the victims who have been denied their lawful civil rights, and, of course, the Church is their victimizer, which deserves everything that it might get for denying these “rights.”

In Washington Square Park, a gay male threateningly charged me, “You’ve discriminated against us, denying me my right to marry my lover. What right have you to treat us this way!...I’m here to shut you down!” He had convinced himself that I was no better than an oppressor or a slave-master, and anyone who stopped me, by whatever means, was performing a just service (John 16:2). I tried to reason that we all believe that there should be limits. We don’t approve of an 80 year-old marrying 15 ten-year-olds. Are we therefore illegitimately denying their civil rights? Nevertheless, he monotonously continued to threaten, “I’m going to shut you down!” In fact, the universities and the media have already “shut down” any balanced discussion of alternative sexual lifestyles.

Western Civilization has entered into the business of shutting-down any discussion of moral absolutes in favor of sexual freedoms and pragmatism – what works and is expedient, what brings immediate results. How will this result? Without absolute principles, might-makes-right seems to inevitably fill the vacuum and pragmatism has consistently proved to be too mushy to resist it. It’s therefore not surprising to hear the ever-loudening threats, “If I don’t get what I want, somebody is going to get hurt.”

(On 11/12/09, the House of Lords reinstated the Freedom of speech amendment!)

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