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English Charges Against Anti-Homosexuality Leafletter Dropped:

The Telegraph (UK) reports:

Stephen Green, the national director of Christian Voice, was arrested at the Mardi Gras festival in Cardiff earlier this month after distributing hundreds of leaflets entitled "Same-sex love -- Same-sex sex: What does the Bible say?"

Green, 54, pleaded not guilty on Sept 6 to using threatening words or behaviour likely to cause harassment or distress.

Today, at Cardiff magistrates' court, the Crown Prosecution Service said it would not proceed due to "insufficient evidence." ...

A CPS spokesman said: "The reviewing lawyer took into account decisions in other cases and whether the contents of the leaflets which were quotes from the Bible could be said to be insulting." ...

Seems to me that some of the quotes from the Bible (e.g., calling same-sex sex an "abomination" or "vile affections") might indeed "be said to be insulting." Yet leaflets containing insulting ideas are an important part of public debate in a democracy as well as leaflets containing inoffensive ideas.

Thanks to Eric Rassbach for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. English Charges Against Anti-Homosexuality Leafletter Dropped:
  2. More on English Arrest for Distributing an Anti-Homosexuality Pamphlet
  3. Suppression of Dissent::
Joshua:
Seems to me that some of the quotes from the Bible (e.g., calling same-sex sex an "abomination" or "vile affections") might indeed "be said to be insulting." Yet leaflets containing insulting ideas are an important part of public debate in a democracy as well as leaflets containing inoffensive ideas.

Hmm... perhaps the CPS is afraid of setting a precedent that they may not wish to follow in the future, especially with regard to quotes from the holy book of A Certain Other Religion that might also "be said to be insulting" (and not just to gays)?
9.28.2006 2:26pm
James968 (mail):
Lots of bloggers have been posting about the discrepancy of what they "other" religion is allowed to do and cases like this one.
9.28.2006 3:04pm
donaldk:
Just one of the many things that are wrong with England.
9.28.2006 3:38pm
John Herbison (mail):
Is characterizing sexual acts as an abomination more, less or equally insulting as compared to saying that eating shellfish (see, Leviticus 11:9-12) is an abomination?
9.28.2006 5:28pm
Randy R. (mail):
Or more, less or equally stupid?
More vote is: Equally!
9.28.2006 7:56pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
I think Cardiff is not in England, but in Wales.
9.28.2006 8:13pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
English law is also the law of Wales. Scotland and N. Ireland get their own set of law books, though. It's those Channel Islands that you really have to watch out for!
9.28.2006 8:15pm
Lev:
Oh...I thought there was some sort of grammar perversion going on.
9.29.2006 3:18am
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx:
Banning the bible might not be far off in the UK. Maybe the GOPis right in their mailings to people saying Dems want to ban the bible. Homosexual anti-discrimination and hate crime laws will lead to banning of the "offensive, hateful" bible. Of course the Koran is a book of love and peace.
9.29.2006 1:49pm
Yankev (mail):
Is characterizing sexual acts as an abomination more, less or equally insulting as compared to saying that eating shellfish (see, Leviticus 11:9-12) is an abomination?

Except that the Text does not use the word "abomination" (or toevah, in Hebrew) with respect to shellfish. In fact, I'm not sure whether it's used in the original Text except with respect to two subjects: the worship of idols, and male homosexual intercourse.

I can't speak to what the Bible means to Christians, but I do know that many non-Jews misunderstand what it means to Jews. From the day the Law was received -- more than 1,000 before Christianity -- Jews taught that only 7 Biblical laws apply to "descendants of Noah" (i.e. all of humanity):the prohibitions against murder, sexual immorality, idol worship, eating a limb severed from a live animal, theft and blasphemy, and the commandment to establish courts of justice. The dietary laws, the laws of the Sabbath, etc. were meant only for the descendants of Jacob. That's what makes it both annoying and amusing when ignorami take potshots at Leviticus in order to "prove" that one church or another should ordain homosexuals (or some years earlier, ordain women) or marry same sex couples.
9.29.2006 1:58pm
Yankev (mail):
Oops. Meant to block quote John Herbison's question:

Is characterizing sexual acts as an abomination more, less or equally insulting as compared to saying that eating shellfish (see, Leviticus 11:9-12) is an abomination?



Except that the Text does not use the word "abomination" (or toevah, in Hebrew) with respect to shellfish. In fact, I'm not sure whether it's used in the original Text except with respect to two subjects: the worship of idols, and male homosexual intercourse.

I can't speak to what the Bible means to Christians, but I do know that many non-Jews misunderstand what it means to Jews. From the day the Law was received -- more than 1,000 before Christianity -- Jews taught that only 7 Biblical laws apply to "descendants of Noah" (i.e. all of humanity):the prohibitions against murder, sexual immorality, idol worship, eating a limb severed from a live animal, theft and blasphemy, and the commandment to establish courts of justice. The dietary laws, the laws of the Sabbath, etc. were meant only for the descendants of Jacob. That's what makes it both annoying and amusing when ignorami take potshots at Leviticus in order to "prove" that one church or another should ordain homosexuals (or some years earlier, ordain women) or marry same sex couples
9.29.2006 2:01pm
whit:
These types of laws are common all through europe, and in Canada as well. England has a hate speech code called the "race relations act" that basically makes ANY public criticism of any race/ethnicity, etc. prosecutable. Many countries make it a crime to dispute that the holocaust happened. In Canada, the laws are especially orwellian. See: the JP Rushton case. In that case, a college professor was prosecuted for espousing his theory: the R-K hypotheses, that (in a nutshell) says that Asians are more evolved than Whites, and Whites moreso than Blacks. Espousing this theory was deemed enough to get him indicted. IIRC, he was found not guilty. Interestingly, in his case, it was pointed out that even if he could prove that his theory was correct (which I am not saying it is, of course), that this would NOT be a defense, since it was still a "harmful" theory to espouse, and thus illegal if done publically. Canada also criminalizes any expression of racial vilification, if the phone system is used, even between two parties in agreement with the speech, since the national phone system was involved - it's a prosecutable offense.

These laws, in brief, are based on the theory that "civility" (this was the language used in debate on the law in Canada's parliament) is more important than a free debate, especially when debated ideas are offensive or demeaning to somebody based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

Simply put, most of the so called "progressive" world - Europe, Canada, etc. have some of the most orwellian, restrictive speech codes imaginable.

These laws are not just laws that apply to a person insulting an individual. They apply when a 'class of people' is insulted, and yes - numerous passages in the bible, the torah, and even buddhist texts could run afoul if espoused publically.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has some interesting things to say about these laws at their website.

In the US, we still have the freedom to express unpopular, or even racist ideas (except on college campuses, apparently), but in the UK, Canada, etc. you have the free speech to say whatever you want - as long as it's not offensive. How absurd.
9.30.2006 2:50pm
whit:
a propos ... (copied from reason.com brickbats section)

the country that brought us Monty Python, stiff upper lips and dry humour. how it has fallen...

...For 31 years, Jean Groves has had a sign on her fence that reads "Our dogs are fed on Jehovah's Witnesses." She says that even Jehovah's Witnesses got a laugh out of it. But Hampshire, England, police weren't laughing when they told Groves to take the sign down. "The police said it was 'distressing and offensive and inappropriate,'" she said. A police spokesman said there had been a complaint. Groves took the sign down, but she put it back up after the police left.
9.30.2006 6:34pm