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Less free speech in Ireland

Posted by Graeme in Politics,Religion at 4:52 am on Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Irish apparently do not like freedom of speech. Everyone will be subject to the same restriction to prevent speech that might actually criticise beliefs or encourage people to think for themselves, that British broadcasters are already subject to. At leas in Ireland it is the courts that have the final say, in Britain it is Ofcom and the completely unaccountable bureaucrats at the IWF

In Europe, it is increasingly becoming accepted that people have a right not to be offended. In addition it is thought that religious belief is a matter of belonging to a community rather than an acceptance of certain facts, so it become a type ethnicity and ceases to be a matter of debate.

Now most people who are actually religious, would rather religion is a matter of debate – we want people to accept a belief, rather than belong to a club, and (in general at least) you cannot really believe without questioning and thinking, which open debate helps

The people who want this law are like a so-called Muslim I once met who said he would kill Salman Rushidie given a chance, but who said he never prayed (prayer is a serious obligation in Islam). He did not really believe there was a God (or he did not care), he was only upset that because he perceived his tribe as being insulted, rather like an American getting upset about their flag being burned.

This is also, of a piece with attitudes in countries that penalise people who choose a different religion from their parents. Malaysia and some Indian states have moved in that direction recently, for example, and there are lobby groups in Sri Lanka for anti-conversion laws. If it a matter of belonging, someone who opts out is a traitor.

Incidentally, I am a British-Sri Lankan Christian (officially a Catholic, although I believe that denominations do not matter), I was agnostic for many years, and my wife is an Anglican who used to be a Buddhist. I am also obviously a member of an ethnic minority in both countries.

My children will be taught about Christianity, but they will also be taught that it is dishonest to believe anything other than what your reasoning and experience lead you to. I am also opposed to laws that restrict racist speech (except when it is a direct incitement to violence).

Comments (2)


Comment by Mahisha at 10:46 am on 21 July 2009 at

“..but they will also be taught that it is dishonest to believe anything other than what your reasoning and experience lead you to…”
If only all of us were encouraged to do so.

Comment by Graeme at 6:45 pm on 22 July 2009 at

The idea of intellectual honesty is not a popular one. There is some nice comment on this is Dorothy Sayers’ Gaudy Night (one of the Lord Peter Wimsey detective stories).

Sorry, comments are closed