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Old 09-07-2006, 02:57 AM   #1
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Intolerant for Tolerance

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A police force was caught up in a freedom of speech row after its officers arrested an anti-gay campaigner for handing out leaflets at a homosexual rally.

South Wales police admitted evangelical Christian Stephen Green was then charged purely because his pamphlets contained anti-gay quotations from the Bible.

Mr Green faces a court appearance today charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour' after his attempt to distribute the leaflets at the weekend 'Mardi Gras' event in Cardiff.

A spokesman for the police said the campaigner had not behaved in a violent or aggressive manner, but that officers arrested him because 'the leaflet contained Biblical quotes about homosexuality'.

The arrest of Mr Green by the South Wales Minorities Support Unit provoked a furious row.
Church of England evangelicals said it represented 'an onslaught on freedom of speech and freedom of religious expression' and Tory MPs called it 'disturbing'.

The decision to prosecute Mr Green is the latest in a series of police initiatives aimed against those who have expressed public disapproval of homosexual behaviour.

..

Several thousand people attended the event, which included a gay rugby tournament and a 'top gayer motor show', and which was addressed on the importance of tolerance by Liberal Democrat council chief Rodney Berman.

The anti-gay campaigners were first asked by police to leave the site of the show following 'complaints from the public', and complied with the request. However, they were approached again by police when they began handing out leaflets at the entrance to the park where the Mardi Gras was staged.
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Very disturbing (ab)use of power here, the idea of free speech is that it protects the views of all and their right to profess them. Christians have to tolerate gays but some are able to not tolerate Christians

What makes it worse is that these laws are applied selectively, certain religious minorities get away with hate speech while others don't and atheists get away with anything; it's not the fault of the whole group that is being condemned/criticised/mocked.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:43 AM   #2
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You seem to have a real bee in your bonnet about this sort of stuff, A-wanderer. You have some good points, but I know from experience of reading this forum that you are no more immune for your own prejudices than any of us.

I don't think, personally, that abuse of power in any situation is pretty. I don't live in Wales. If the police there acted outside the law there, they were in the wrong (there), end of story.

On a more human level, we have no idea what this man was or was not doing or saying with his pamphlets. The anti-gay message is a hard one to reconcile with a modern 'tolerant' mindset, I'd have to say.

Defending anti-gay crusaders in the interests of proving that 'tolerance' is somehow a corrupt and wrong (librul?) cause, is a dubious pursuit, I'd say. I'd still say that even if this guy really was just sitting there in his lawn chair sipping lemonade, with his pamphlets (and what do they say, again?) sitting on a table nearby.
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Old 09-07-2006, 06:51 AM   #3
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And before you reply to me, A-wanderer - think long and hard. I can remember very well your view that anti-Bush protestors in America prior to the last election should be treated as potential terorrists.

Don't even bother to deny that, I have a pretty fucking good memory. How's that for conflicted views on freedom (TM)? Don't worry, we all have internal conflicts.
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:27 AM   #4
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Mr. Green is a religious bigot, he opposes homosexuality on the basis of his religious belief - big surprise since all he is doing is following his faith. I oppose what he stands for, I happily mock what he believes in but I will not say that just because his beliefs are contrary to any thinking persons that it is alright to have him procecuted for his speech.

I fully support tolerance in it's "true" meaning; it is not about respect for the ideas of anybody rather their right to profess them. One can completely hate what another stands for but still tolerate their right to protest. The twisting of tolerance into approval is a mistake, that position that speech has to be moderated by an outside force so that peoples feelings don't get hurt is where curtailing of free speech is acceptable to many - even though they claim to stand for free speech.

Examples include:
> Holocaust denial
> Racist groups
> Blasphemous cartoons
> Supposedly offensive art works.

Free speech only exists at the margins, it is only going to be defended there. I can almost guarantee that if a case like this ever occured in the United States then the ACLU would defend the free speech rights; you see it whenever that organisation is left to defend NAMBLA or the Westboro Baptist Church.

I am prejudice as all hell (and am consistent and I feel justified and am more than capable of defending those prejudices); but I still respect the right of those who disagree to have the right to free speech and a very good example is the protests against the Mohammed cartoons; I stand completely behind the cartoonists and Jyllands Posten but still support the right those offended to respond with protest or boycott (not so much terror and murder though). The marketplace of ideas should encourage people to be engaged and defend their faith when it is mocked but with speech. Of course the other benefit is that allowing the bigots who protest gay pride events to say whats on their mind exposes their agenda and shows how pathetic they really are, just as the Mohammed cartoon protests brought out the hardline nutjobs onto the streets of western countries and exposed their vile theology to the world (is "hardline nutjob" a description of all Muslims - no - it is a description of those with posters demanding the heads to those who insult Islam etc.).

In terms of devotion to the ideals of the enlightment such as reason, secularism and liberty I consider myself to be liberal and I consider measures that subvert free speech to be illiberal, but today the language is corrupted and banning speech that a progressive finds offensive somehow becomes a liberal action when it is not at all.

Just a sidenote I posted an article a fortnight ago about a gay group being procecuted for religious intolerence for an advertisment that said that Christianity was leading to more homophobic attacks; the absurdity of this is self-evident, the laws become used to percecute those speaking out against bigotry that has the protection of "faith" behind it - if we allow free speech to get cut away then at some stage we will get stabbed.
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Kieran McConville
And before you reply to me, A-wanderer - think long and hard. I can remember very well your view that anti-Bush protestors in America prior to the last election should be treated as potential terorrists.

Don't even bother to deny that, I have a pretty fucking good memory. How's that for conflicted views on freedom (TM)? Don't worry, we all have internal conflicts.
In context that was to do with bag searches at the convention saying that they were not allowed without specific knowledge. And as a matter of record it was that protestors were potential terrorists in the same way that airline passengers were potential terrorists.

I think that I have turned around significantly on that issue and I am not ashamed for that, my view was simplistic and ignorant and completely naive about the concept of liberty and privacy. I have developed a much deeper appreciation for liberties and a lot more disgust towards superstition.

And even though I was arguing that bag searches close to the vicinity of the convention should be allowed I was not arguing against the right to congregate and protest at/outside the event; even then I supported the right to have Bush = Hitler signs and the whole lot.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:10 PM   #6
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Only in the US are these things an issue. I swear. People here in Honduras are never encumbered in these "politically correct" issues.
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Old 09-07-2006, 01:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrownEyedBoy
Only in the US are these things an issue. I swear. People here in Honduras are never encumbered in these "politically correct" issues.
This arrest didn't happen in the US.
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Old 09-07-2006, 02:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by BrownEyedBoy
Only in the US are these things an issue. I swear. People here in Honduras are never encumbered in these "politically correct" issues.
As 80's pointed out this didn't happen in the US. And given some of your comments in the past your "PC" issues may not be the same but you do have them.
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Old 09-07-2006, 04:59 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by 80sU2isBest


This arrest didn't happen in the US.

...thus rendering my post completely meaningless, useless and foolish.

Carry on with the discussion.
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Old 09-07-2006, 10:33 PM   #10
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Kieran McConville:

I think it's very well known and documented in this forum that A_Wanderer has the ultimate regard for free speech and he is nothing but consistent in addressing it. It probably pains him personally to come to the defense of the fundamentalists, but the argument he is making here is for consistent tolerance, not the legitimacy of what the fundamentalists are saying.

~U2Alabama
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Old 09-08-2006, 04:01 AM   #11
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Ah but the example he cited was relevent; but I have progressed beyond deliberately lobbing an inflamatory piece of verbiage to watch the reactions, the man becomes civilized
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