I’ve addressed, tangentially, hate laws and attempts to criminalize “hate” speech. The danger of such laws has now become crystal clear in Great Britain.
The man at issue is Stephen Green. Mr. Green is the Director of Christian Voice. He has said some outlandish things. He has said some outright dumb things. See this press release.
Nevertheless, it is my belief that Mr. Green gets to say whatever he wants as long as he does not slander any one individual or impede a lawful assembly or engage in disorderly conduct while speaking. Apparently that is not the case in Britain. Britain has passed a law that criminalizes ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.’ The problems with such a law should be readily apparent from the reading of it.
What did Stephen Green do that brought forth the wrath of the South Wales police? Well, he didn’t engage in disorderly conduct. He distributed leaflets at a parade that was promoting tolerance. The leaflets “were headed Same-Sex Love – Same-Sex Sex: What does the Bible Say?, and included a series of quotations from the 1611 King James Bible.” – [Daily Mail article]
(I note that zilch, one of regular posters here, has stated that of the Bibles, the King James is the “most beautiful.”)
Organizers for the parade have refused comment. [Pink News article] Mr. Green has pled “not guilty” to the charges.
Laws such as the one in Britain criminalize thought and speech. They make political correctness the law of the land. They also make otherwise legal behavior, distributing leaflets and quoting centuries old literature, illegal. At least, they do make such actions illegal when done in conjunction by an unpopular personality.
I find it difficult to believe that he would be found guilty. But that really isn’t the point. Nobody should face prosecution for their thoughts, and nobody, except in exceptional circumstances such as inciting a riot, should ever be faced with prosecution for saying what they think.