Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blasphemy Is Back as 'Hate' Legislation Threatens Freedom of Speech, Warns Civitas | British National Party

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Blasphemy Is Back as 'Hate' Legislation Threatens Freedom of Speech, Warns Civitas

Legislation and the politically–motivated prosecution of individuals for “religious hatred” is merely the reintroduction of ancient blasphemy laws which threaten freedom of speech, a new publication by independent think tank Civitas has warned.
In a book titled A New Inquisition: Religious Persecution in Britain Today, Jon Gower Davies, formerly the Head of Religious Studies at Newcastle University, reveals the “bizarre and oppressive nature of judicial attempts to prosecute individuals for religious hatred” and of how this “new legal concept has resulted in some singularly worrying court cases,” a Civitas press release said.
“Hate legislation removes an increasing quantity of matters traditionally dealt with in civil society to the domain of the state and the courts,” Civitas continued, adding that this was merely the old Blasphemy Law “by the backdoor.”
Civitas pointed out that the Blasphemy Law was abolished in 2008, but has re-emerged in a new and radically augmented guise.
“Today, individuals are not charged with blasphemy, but with causing 'religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress' under the Public Order Act.
“Jon Davies argues that the growth in accusations of 'hate crime' threatens freedom of speech because they destroy the possibility and practice of open, sociable and critical discussion of religion.
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