… You’re not really surprised are you?
The Froggy Parliament is considering a bill that would criminalize sexist and homophobic speech. And Teddy has apparently introduced a bill in the Senate that is similar.
Now I know Teddy isn’t exactly a “good” Catholic… Nor is France exactly the defender of the faith it was 500 years ago. Still you just know this sort of thing has the implication, intended or not, to try and silence the Church (and Evangelicals/Fundies in the US) on the evils of homosexual activities. The wording of the Catholic World News story was phrased in such a way that anything deemed offensive to homosexuals would be criminalized.
Think about it…
We’re not talking about speech that explicitly calls for violence against homosexuals. Nor are we talking about speech that calls homosexual persons evil or non-humans or anything like that. This is much more general and at the discretion apparently of the person(s) being offended. There’s no objective standard here. Reading the Bible prohibitions against homosexual acts or saying an active homosexual should not be ordained a bishop in the Episcopal church could and probably would be considered hate speech.
I don’t like hate speech laws for the main reason that they criminalize what a person THINKS! Where these laws are in effect, a person who kills someone without saying anything would be up for a lesser sentence than someone that yells “Die faggot!” Murder is wrong no matter what. By criminalizing and creating harsher penalties for what you think while committing a crime, you take basic freedoms away and impinge upon man’s God-given Free Will. We can detest these thoughts, but should we criminalize them?
Doing so opens the door to criminalizing ANY thought the state (or a special interest group with money to throw around) doesn’t like. Should we criminalize the opinions that all priests are child abusers? Some (far too many) think that. I find it offensive. Many other people actually hate Christians and Catholics in particular. What happens if they rob me and we find out their views? Should they get twice the sentence they would have otherwise?
Granted, that is never going to happen since Catholics and Christians are acceptable targets of criticism and hatred. What these laws seek to do is silence a majority opinion so that the minority can get away with whatever they want until their deviant behavior becomes accepted. Or at least until people are afraid to speak out for fear of Big Brother’s persecution.