More alarming developments from the land of our forefathers
Wesley Pruden, in today's Washington Times, looks at the alarming anti-free speech developments in Britain, where our own free speech guarantees were invented. What he finds is truly alarming. Especially frightening are his final paragraphs, which I quote below.
Free speech takes a British pounding-Nation/Politics-The Washington Times, America's Newspaper
Our British cousins, who invented most of the guarantees of freedom we improved on and now take for granted, are learning what happens when you tinker with free speech.
Tony Blair provoked humiliating opposition in Parliament, trying to impose one law prohibiting disrespect of religious faith, another to prohibit "glorification" of terror, and still another to require his countrymen to carry national identification cards as if they were no better off than Frenchmen.
But the appetites of the nibblers are never sated. A watered-down but still lethal version of the so-called religious and racial hatred bill is on its way into the law books.
[...] Hundreds of Christian churches across Britain, including congregations of Anglicans, Roman Catholics and Presbyterians, submitted a letter warning the government that legislation criminalizing religious practices will worsen the tense relations between Christians and Muslims. "The mere quoting of texts from both the Koran and the Bible could be captured and criminalized by this law," the churchmen said. "Extremists have shown themselves willing to use malicious prosecution to further their purposes and this law would present such prosecution opportunities against all religious communities." Some moderate Muslims have joined the protest.
The Rev. Dan Naillah, an Australian Pentecostal pastor, told the House of Commons that he ran afoul of similar legislation in his country by merely quoting from the Koran at a seminar on Islam. An Islamic council filed a protest, saying that Mr. Naillah had not shown proper deference to Islam, and found a judge who agreed. Mr. Naillah and an associate were ordered to apologize and take out $30,000 worth of newspaper advertisements to explain the court's ruling. If they don't, they risk seven years in prison.