Conversational cruelty

The United Kingdom attempts to enter the 19th century:

The Government recently indicated it is willing to amend the Criminal Justice Bill to abolish the offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.
And the Archbishop of Canterbury is comfortable enough defending his religion not oppose such a move:

Dr Rowan Williams… said the current blasphemy law was “unworkable” and he had no objection to its repeal.
Or is he? Dr Williams?
The legal provision should keep before our eyes the general risks of debasing public controversy by thoughtless and, even if unintentionally, cruel styles of speaking and acting.
Obviously cruel acts should be outlawed but ‘cruel styles of speaking’? What does that even mean? FM breakfast radio?

Why are so many religious people so insecure that they need the law to protect them from arguments against their belief systems?


You never hear atheists lobbying for laws to prevent criticism of, or cruelty towards, non-belief. Perhaps we have enough confidence in our position. It is the most logical after all.


(Via Butterflies and Wheels.)

12 comments:

Peregrinus said...

[i]“Obviously cruel acts should be outlawed but ‘cruel styles of speaking’? What does that even mean? FM breakfast radio?

Why are so many religious people so insecure that they need the law to protect them from arguments against their belief systems?”[/i]

But Williams isn’t arguing for laws to protect him from arguments against his belief systems; he’s arguing for laws against cruelty in speech.

And he’s hardly alone. Anti-vilification laws, which restrict or punish speech which incites hatred on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation, race, etc, are widespread. Sure, they’re controversial; some support them and some oppose them. But I haven’t noticed that religious people tend to support them, or that those of secular views tend to oppose them.

Presumably, Williams would say that such laws should also deal with offensive speech which is directed against people on the basis of their religious beliefs. But of course such laws would protect those with atheist beliefs to the same extent that they protect those with theist beliefs.

ozatheist said...

sorry to drop in, but you've been tagged. (no obligation)

Hez said...

"But Williams isn’t arguing for laws to protect him from arguments against his belief systems; he’s arguing for laws against cruelty in speech."

Does anyone care about freedom of speech and thought these days?

Craig A. James said...

You might be interested in my blog today; it's a challenge to all Atheist bloggers. The topic is "Atheists: Get out of the Damned Closet!" religionvirus.blogspot.com. -- Craig.

Bronwyn said...

This is very much a freedom of speech issue. As much as those of religious faith may espouse their beliefs those who take a different view ought to be free to espouse those views without fear of prosection. An extremely prejudicial and dated act in need of amendment to bring it into line with contemporary thinking which I hope allows for tolerance for many and varied views.

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Anonymous said...

You need to let Jesus into your heart
- Kay

metal-fan-666 said...

My heart contains blood and thus has no room for jesus.

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Anonymous said...

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