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May 21, 2008

Are we having fun yet


A fifteen year old British boy faces prosecution for calling Scientology a cult (hat tip to Agent Bedhead; image via Boing Boing, with another hat tip to Agent Bedhead).

Say whatever you like about Christ but mock a pedophile prophet - no names here, would not want to excite the excitable - and it will be your head. Not only that but the so called progressives will sneer and call you a racist even as your blood drains into the gutter.

And now, in what I will laughingly describe as "England", it is against the law to blaspheme aliens.

The incident happened during a protest against the Church of Scientology on May 10. Demonstrators from the anti-Scientology group, Anonymous, who were outside the church's £23m headquarters near St Paul's cathedral, were banned by police from describing Scientology as a cult by police because it was "abusive and insulting".

Writing on an anti-Scientology website, the teenager facing court said: "I brought a sign to the May 10th protest that said: 'Scientology is not a religion, it is a dangerous cult.'

"'Within five minutes of arriving I was told by a member of the police that I was not allowed to use that word, and that the final decision would be made by the inspector."

A policewoman later read him section five of the Public Order Act and "strongly advised" him to remove the sign. The section prohibits signs which have representations or words which are threatening, abusive or insulting.

The teenager refused to back down, quoting a 1984 high court ruling from Mr Justice Latey, in which he described the Church of Scientology as a "cult" which was "corrupt, sinister and dangerous".

After the exchange, a policewoman handed him a court summons and removed his sign.

They should issue Justice Latey* with a summons while they are at it. Keep in mind we had advance warning there would be "anti-hate" thought police at the May 10 Anonymous action. But apparently it is now beyond the pale to cite court rulings in public lest someone take offense.

In case anyone is still not connecting the dots: In England, the police can now decide if your speech is abusive or insulting - whatever the hell that means, confiscate your property and issue you a court summons. This is the logic of "human rights" doublethink. This can happen here.

* And Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia and Kenneth Robinson, British Minister of Health and Judge Breckenridge, Los Angeles Superior Court and Judge Constandia Angelaki and Ted Gunderson, former head of the FBI's Los Angeles office and... and... and... Not that we should have to be in perfect agreement with these eminent minds in order to speak our own.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at May 21, 2008 07:23 AM


"This can happen here."


Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 10:45 AM


They always could. In 1971 I attended a counter-demo against Lord Longford's "Festival of Light." My now-ex and I found ourselves amongst a crowd of gays who were quickly attacked by London cops and carted off. I was asked what they had done wrong and was told, "insulting behaviour." We ended up as witnesses in their defence, but as often as not the magistrates shared the cops' prejudice.

Speak if you will against police powers and overly-broad laws that empower individual cops to throw their weight around. But there's nothing new here. Nothing to see. Move along, there's a good chap. : )

Posted by: Dr.Dawg [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 01:14 PM

You missed the term "blasphemy".

Posted by: Ghost of a flea [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 01:16 PM

Suppression of free speech does take on a lovely rosy patina with the passage of time, it's true. Well then, problem solved.

Posted by: Occam's Carbuncle [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 01:19 PM

We don't need a level playing field.

We need government officials who are able to recognize what are the needs of the citizenry on the spot, and make law accordingly.

We live in a time of miracles.


Posted by: OregonGuy [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 02:26 PM

In England, the police can now decide if your speech is abusive or insulting

"Dirty mouth?" Might be good fodder for an Orbit gum mash-up

Posted by: urthshu [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 21, 2008 03:52 PM

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