Sunday, December 19, 2004

Free speech shot down down under

WorldNetDaily: Pastors guilty of hating Muslims:
"'It was done, not in the context of a serious discussion of Muslims' religious beliefs,' the judge said, according to The Australian
"'It was presented in a way which is essentially hostile, demeaning and derogatory of all Muslim people, their god, Allah, the prophet Muhammad and in general Muslim religious beliefs and practices,' he said."

Two pastors and the ministry employing them were found guilty under Australia's version of ethnic intimidation laws. Although such codes have become fixtures on college campuses in the US, so far the First Amendment has shielded Christians from this new form of persecution. Curiously, the defendants in this case tried to invoke Australia's blasphemy laws (no longer enforced, but still on the books) to argue that their Muslim accusers engage in prohibited speech by preaching their religion.

The seminar and website article objected to seem to have been conceived in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 and may have been a bit intemperate in tone. But, as Thomas Jefferson said, we should not fear to tolerate error so long as reason is left free to combat it.


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