The Libertarian Party blog carries an interesting article regarding the restrictions on free speech encountered by the Christian Institute [Video. Buffers a bit].
Young Mr Brown makes an excellent point that the police are acting on ideologically formulated laws which put the crime of being 'offended' as top priority.
The gent in the video speaks about the action of the police as being a disproportionate response, and a large waste of police time, and that strikes me as a bit of an understatement. The actions of the police were completely silly, and one rather suspects that the officers involved knew perfectly well that they were silly, but that they had no choice but to follow orders.
The comment about wasting police time is well made. The police seem to have plenty of resources for certain purposes - including, er, ahem, those which seem to be involved in restricting freedom of speech and freedom to protest peacefully. These things, however, are not what most people see as priorities for policing.
The 'crime' being committed was that Christians believe homosexuality to be a sin. Not a belief I'd particularly subscribe to, in fact I find it quite laughable. However, surely free speech should mean that they are allowed to make their point without hindrance. It's not like Christians are going to be wearing DMs and going on a gay-bashing rampage anytime soon, is it? If they do, there are ample existing laws which cover that eventuality.
As Steve Hughes said in his stand-up routine recently.
When did 'sticks and stones will break my bones cease to be relevant'?
We seem to be in the grip of an array of different single-issue interests who not only feel it is their right not to be offended, but also that they should be able, with the backing of the state and police, to silence any opposing views.
Sadly, legislation apparently exists which makes their stance enforceable, and Christians are able to be bothered on the street simply for espousing their beliefs.
A close friend of mine once asked a neighbour (politely) if they would refrain from playing music at ungodly hours of the morning, on weekdays, in a room which was adjacent to her 2 year old child's bedroom. After an initial favourable response, the neighbour came to her house the next day and threatened to 'slit your daughter's throat' if she spoke up again. Undertandably, she raised the issue with the police, who replied that unless an assault has occurred, they can do nothing about it. This was in 2002 and hopefully things have changed for the better in that regard since then, but how pro-active must the police be now that an offence can be committed merely by someone being offended by speech, which will not physically harm anyone?
Isn't that thought crime?
As I mentioned in the comments at the LPUK blog, though, Christians aren't averse to crying about being offended when it suits them, as in the curious case of the atheist bus adverts.
The advertising regulator has received almost 150 complaints that an atheist ad campaign, proclaiming "There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life", is offensive to Christians and other religions that believe in a single God.
Altogether now in a sing-a-long stylee. I hate you, you hate me, oh how happy we shall be. Not.
It is heart-breaking to see so many anal and selfish Britons gutting each other over matters which really shouldn't bother them. It's almost tit-for-tat. You get offended over what I say? Fuck it. I'll use the same avenues to be 'offended' by you too, motherfucker.
This modern intolerant mindset has been fostered and encouraged in recent years, and can also explain the rise of the 'anonymous complainant' (as were the ones who halted the Christian preachers, natch).
The Penguin touched on one of the latest examples.
A retired florist has been threatened with criminal prosecution by a council after planting a flower garden on a neglected patch of land in a car park.
A spokesman for the council said: "In this particular case no agreement was sought to carry out the works. Several complaints from residents have been received concerning the planting."
Complaining about something being improved? That's a new and disturbing development!
It follows countless other examples as commented on here ...
Miss Wilkinson's number plate was immediately taken down and handed to Kirklees Council who later issued her with a fixed penalty notice for £75.
and, a while ago, here.
A lollipop man has been ordered to remove tinsel from his STOP sign in case it distracts drivers and puts children in danger.
An anonymous passer-by had complained the decoration might obscure the sign.
What a miserable, selfish bunch of shits we have become.
But then, why should we be remotely surprised that such hatred exists when government, in their drive to eradicate prejudice, have passed laws hand over fist that enable anyone with a grudge to take it out on people with which they disagree. With full backing of the police and enforcement-enabled local authorities.
By legislating against hate, all that has been achieved is an encouragement of new and improved forms.