I'm not sure this judge understands freedom of speech

Derby men jailed for giving out gay death call leaflets
Three men guilty in gay hate case

I could understand if some of my readers were to say that these men hold vile views based on a vile religion. I could agree with that. I could also understand if some of my readers were to say they got what they deserved. I couldn't agree with that.

They may well have been spouting off hateful stuff about gay people but they never physically harmed anyone. They may have been demanding that gay people be executed but they never executed anyone themselves.

People in England are demanding a return of the death penalty everyday, there is even an e-petition in favour of it. That is deemed as ok though, because they want to execute criminals, not an overly protected minority.

If people want to call for the death penalty for rapists, child killers, cop killers or even gay people, then that's fine by me. It's their opinion and they have a right to hold it. Just not to act on it, which these men didn't but they are still in prison.

No right minded person would really believe that gays should be executed. We should be debating with them or even laughing at them, but not putting them in prison and making them martyrs.

What baffles me most about this case is the judges words regarding freedom of speech and expression. It seems these liberties apply to gay people but not anti gay people. In fact it seems that if you speak out against gays you are actually preventing their freedom of speech and expression and must be put in prison to stop you, even though that silences your freedom of speech.
Judge John Burgess said: "You have been convicted of intending to stir up hatred.
"It follows that your intention was to do great harm in a peaceful community.
"Much has been said during the course of this trial about freedom of expression, and the freedom to preach strongly held beliefs; beliefs, which may have some foundation in scripture.
"Freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy and a basic ingredient of any free society.
"Parliament clearly had this very much in mind when this legislation was passed."
If freedom of speech is a cornerstone of democracy, why are these men in prison?


Longrider has the other side of the coin.

A Muslim activist group with links to the Muslim Brotherhood has asked the British government to restrict the way the British media reports about Muslims and Islam.
No no no!
Freedom of speech applies to everyone. You can't spout off your hatred of gays on one hand, then demand that people who report on Islam in a way you don't like, be censored.

I can't believe I've just written a post defending your right to free speech then read that. Maybe it would be better for all concerned if you were to go practice your religion in a Muslim society?

If you want to speak out about gays, then fine, that's your right. It's also my right to speak out about you.

Lord Justice Leveson expressed sympathy for Bunglawala’s plea and said that any government regulation of the British media would have to extend to the Internet and include blogs, so as to ensure a “level playing field” between print and online media.

That's Britain for ya. Speak against gays, go to prison. Speak against Muslims, be regulated. All in the name of freedom of speech, that old cornerstone of democracy.


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