Monday, 12 July 2010

Standing Up For Homophobes

Anti-gay preacher arrested for 'homophobic' election leaflets. That's the headline of a story today on Pink News. His crime? To write an election leaflet that was insulting.

According to the Colchester Daily Gazette, it condemned gays and lesbians and said they should be jailed.

Mr Shaw was arrested on June 11th on suspicion of inciting hatred, specifically homophobia. He was released on bail without charge until the middle of next month.

"Inciting hatred"? A bit like this:

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

This is the teaching of Judaism and Christianity. And really this Paul Shaw is actually seeking less than what his religion would require. Are we to start locking people up merely for what they believe, and attempting to encourage others to believe?

If he was inciting VIOLENCE then I'd support him being locked up. Inciting violence is always wrong, whatever the case. But he wasn't. He was inciting hatred. Hatred is, in my opinion, morally wrong and something we should work against. But we cannot legislate against it. If we did, our prisons would soon be full.

Freedom of speech must be paramount, the right to speak freely where not inciting violence is one that should be cherished. Even if some stupid idiots use it to speak from some dark place within themselves, or from a religious text such as the Bible. We must defeat them with the power and quality of our arguments, not make them martyrs by silencing them for holding incredibly backward views.

I'd argue people such as Westboro Baptist Church do us a favour by being so ridiculously hateful that it renders their arguments invalid. Let the homophobes be hoisted by their own petards.

It's the insidious homophobia demonstrated in things such as this video from the Catholic Church we must really fight against.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist

1 comment:

Alan said...

I agree 100%. A civilised society must allow free debate rather than deny the freedom to express a view, however irrational, or even dangerous, that view may be deemed to be. Criminalising an argument is a short step from denying free-speaking and even free-thinking.