Society Finally Realises Christian Values Are Unlawful
To begin with, there's no such thing as completely 'free' speech.
Actually, let me row back on that a little: you are free to say absolutely anything you want, as long as you have a tongue in your head and breath in your lungs. But of course there may be consequences arising from that speech.
Shouting FIRE in a crowded auditorium is one of the classic cases where public safety overrides freedom of speech. More recently we've seen the introduction of 'incitement' legislation. This is where you can be prosecuted for egging people to riot or commit crimes.
Opponents of political correctness were worried at the introduction of laws banning 'hate speech,' perhaps because the best way to demonstrate someone's abhorrent folly is to let them open their mouths and express it.
But, like it or not, we have placed limits on our freedom of expression to protect the values of our society. These values now include some that are anathema to strict Christian law; namely, society (at least on paper) now thinks that, rather than being a biblical abomination, gay people are ok.
A Baptist preacher in Cumbria has become one of the first Christians to fall foul of this discrepancy between secular law what is mandated in a certain bronze-age book by Middle-Eastern tribesmen who scribbled down many silly folk tales and ignorant prejudices.
"I felt deeply shocked and humiliated that I had been arrested in my own town and treated like a common criminal in front of people I know."
-Dale McAlpine, Daily Telegraph, 2nd May 2010
Would you feel deeply shocked and humiliated if a stranger pointed at you in the street and called you an abomination unto God? Some people consider that kind of behaviour anti-social, and by 'some people' I mean all of the rest of us. And you're not helping your case when you start a sentence with "I am not homophobic but…
…sometimes I do say that the Bible says homosexuality is a crime against the Creator”
Well, try finishing some sentences that begin with 'I'm not racist but…' or 'I'm not saying Jews are evil but…' There's no graceful way out of it, Dale.
“My freedom was taken away on the hearsay of someone who disliked what I said"
It's not just 'dislike,' incitement to hatred is a crime.
Still, one doesn't have to look very far to see instances of the religious getting offended by everyone else's free speech (see the South Park controversy), and they seem happy enough with the blasphemy laws.
This case shows that the rubber is finally hitting the road. Modern secular societies have worked out a common system of morality that is acceptable and appropriate, for the most part, to our current era, state of enlightenment, and place in evolution. The Bible remains a static relic of superstition, bigotry, and nescience.(†)
Of course, Christians will claim that they have been battling against the powerful agents of Satan, in the form of kings and pagan civilizations, for many centuries now, and this is just another test of their devotion to God.
Good luck with all that. I had a crappy boss like that once.
- † Absence of knowledge or awareness; ignorance. I like the contrast with the word 'science.' [back ↩]