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28th December
2007
  

Censorial MPs Don't Like being Censored...

And for once oppose censorship

CCFON logo A group of nutter MPs has tabled an amendment designed to ensure that homophobic Christians can continue to express their views on gay people.

Devout Roman Catholics Ann Widdecombe and Jim Dobbin are among the MPs attempting to amend the government's proposal to make incitement to hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation a criminal offence.

Christian Concern for our Nation, a pressure group which attempts to stand up against a tide of unChristian legal and political changes in the United Kingdom, is urging its supporters to pressure MPs into supporting the new amendment.

Stonewall, the gay equality organisation, have been giving evidence to parliament's  scrutinising committee about the sort of incitement to homophobic murder and hatred that goes unchallenged. Chief executive Ben Summerskill quoted extensively from the homophobic lyrics of dancehall star Beenie Man and others to demonstrate the nature of their comments about gay men and lesbians.

Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation. One might also want to look at the context in which any expression is made that people should be killed or put to death because they are homosexual.

The homophobic incitement provisions were later passed by the whole committee, and none of the Tory MPs voted against them.

The new amendment from Christian MPs reads:

Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.

Among the MPs asking for the right to show antipathy towards their gay constituents are: Lib Dems Colin Breed (South East Cornwall) and Alan Beith (Berwick Upon Tweed); Conservatives Philip Hollobone (Kettering) and Ann Widdecombe (Maidstone and the Weald); and Labour MPs David Taylor (North West Leicestershire) and Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton).

 

5th January
2008
  

Update: Hatred of Gay Hatred Censorship...

Nutter opposition to growing support for gay hatred legislation

CCFON logo Religious MPs have submitted an amendment to enable religions to continue preaching against homosexuality:

Nothing in this part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion of, criticism of or expressions of antipathy towards, conduct relating to a particular sexual orientation, or urging persons of a particular sexual orientation to refrain from or modify conduct relating to that orientation.

Pink News reports that the amendment is almost certain to be defeated as the homophobic incitement proposal has gained cross-party support.

In an interview with PinkNews.co.uk published today, the Lib Dem spokesperson on Justice David Heath said: We (the party) have been convinced for some time that there is, first of all a reservoir of extreme prejudice against gay people. Secondly, prejudice is one thing, having it manifest itself as attacks, in one form or another, is something that we should be very concerned about. I am convinced by the evidence that there is a real problem. That's why, as far as I'm concerned, the case is proven for having something of this kind. Anyone who is expressing themselves in a reasonable way, even if what they're saying is wholly abhorrent to most right thinking people, will not be get caught under this law, unless what they're saying is an incitement to hatred against a whole class of people.

Stonewall Chief executive Ben Summerskill rejected concerns that a law banning incitement to religious hatred would be used to silence the voices of religious people who regard homosexuality as a sin: We are crystal clear that people are perfectly entitled to express their religious views. We are also crystal clear that the temperate expression of religious views should not be covered by the legislation.

Justice minister Maria Eagle has also confirmed that Christians will continue to have the right to express their homophobic views: If you are a preacher and on Sunday morning you tell your sermon of your beliefs and the beliefs of your denomination about gay people then that's different to going and standing outside a gay club and using threatening words and behaviour . The intent is the key. That is very clearly unacceptable and that's where we are pitching the offence.

 

22nd March
2009
  

Offsite: Little Jack Straw Britain...

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Comedic gay-bashing isn't funny, but it shouldn't be banned

Only hay in the village This Government seems determined to abolish freedom of speech. It has made it a criminal offence to incite religious or racial hatred and, as of last year, there is also an offence on the statute book (but not yet in force) of inciting hatred based on sexual orientation. If this legislative trend continues, telling someone you don't like their slacks could soon land you in the slammer.

Bucking this trend, the House of Lords inserted a "free speech" exception to the gay-hate offence, which protects people who discuss or criticise sexual conduct, or urge others to refrain from it. Now, though, the Ministry of Justice has added a clause to the current Coroners and Justice Bill which, if passed, will repeal that "free speech" exception. The justice secretary, Jack Straw, said that there were no circumstances in which the right to freedom of speech could justify homophobic behaviour.

When seeking to outlaw homophobic acts, Mr Straw is thinking of extreme political groups and nasty rap lyrics. He probably doesn't have in mind the "only gay in the village" sketches from Little Britain. But his political opponents fear that that kind of comedy could fall foul of his new law

....Read full article

 

23rd March
2009
  

Offsite: JackBoots Lays in to Widow Twankey...

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Will they lock me up for playing Widow Twankey?

Widow Twanky During the dark days of Soviet oppression, there was a joke that did the rounds in Russia. Homosexuality is a crime and the punishment is seven years in prison locked up with other men. There is a three-year waiting list.

Don't laugh too loudly. It could soon be illegal to repeat a joke like that.

I'm not kidding. In the name of challenging homophobia , the Government is planning to push legislation through Parliament that will make it a serious crime to use any language which could be construed as offensive to gay men and women.

The new law will even override the basic requirements of freedom of speech, one of the pillars of our democracy.

....Read full article

 

9th July
2009
  

Update: Freedom of Preach...

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Christians petition to be able to continue hating their neighbours

CCFON logo A petition signed by 20,000 Christians across the UK was handed in yesterday to Buckingham Palace, No 10 Downing Street and the House of Lords. Petitioners believe Government plans, contained in Clause 61 of the Coroners and Justice Bill to be voted on this week in the House of Lords, will effectively gag Christians from openly explaining what they believe the Bible has said about sexual conduct for more than 2,000 years.

The petition also drew attention to the plans of a small group of Peers who are trying to legalise assistance with suicide by tabling amendments to the same Bill. (Editor's note: this amendment was defeated last night in the Lords by 194 votes to 141).

Christian Concern for our Nation, sister organisation to the Christian Legal Centre, which has represented many Christians in high profile cases where employers have denied Christians the right of freedom of speech on moral issues, co-ordinated the Petition, signed by 20,000 individuals, to draw attention to what they describe as the devastating consequences to Christian witness if the Coroners and Justice Bill goes through Parliament as it stands.

 

11th July
2009
  

Update: Unilateral Free Speech...

Nutters happy at retaining exemption allowing continued whinges at gays

House of Lords logo The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over its attempt to repeal a free speech protection from a sexual orientation 'hatred' law.

Peers voted by 186 to 133 to keep the protection in place. The matter will be passed back to the House of Commons where MPs voted for repeal.

The protection makes clear that criticising homosexual conduct or encouraging people to refrain from such conduct is not a crime.

The Government says the protection is not necessary, insisting that the homophobic hatred offence would not catch the expression of such beliefs.

Mike Judge, Head of Communications at The Christian Institute, said: Genuine supporters of free speech will be pleased with this result. Democracy depends on the freedom of people to challenge ideas, to dispute with each other, to contend for what they believe. Too many Christians have already been intimidated by over-zealous police action because they gave voice to their views on sexual ethics. Surely the world is big enough to allow all sides to express their beliefs about sexual behaviour without fearing a knock on the door from the police. [But I wonder of he is so keen to defend free speech when it is religion that is being criticised]