Saturday, May 09, 2015

Sunday Sermon: In defence of Free Speech

Bill Maher: In defence of Free Speech

Let me start with a Joke: Pamela Geller, isn't she related to Uri?  My relationship to Uri

In fact there is no relation, but I am quite sure that Pamela would not wish to kill the author of the above article because she passionately believes in free speech and the right to offend and be offended by what other people say.

Let me be quite clear though.   I am surely not a fan or supporter of Pamela Geller or the AFDI that she represents.

BUT, and it's a big but.

There can be no legitimate defence of somebody who would kill a person for making a drawing of any religious person, saint or clergy.

I outlined this position last Tuesday

And now I hope that you have watched and had time to reflect on the above video  from HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher.

This is actually quite a civilised discussion.  Well relatively speaking ....

For a less controlled, more upsetting, shouting match, I give you Pamela Geller and Anjam Choudary

Geller and Choudary shouting

I live in Western Society with it's tradition for several hundred years promoting free speech and the right to hear opinions, if presented fairly, even if they are repugnant to you.

But there are limits
Not all free speech is protected and it's interesting to analyse Geller from this UK perspective.

First recall that the UK Government banned Ms Geller from visiting London in 2013

UK Home office quotation 2013: / "The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the UK is not conducive to the public good," a spokesman said. “We condemn all those whose behaviours and views run counter to our shared values and will not stand for extremism in any form./

Somewhat unfortunately these rules cannot be applied to Mr Choudary, since he is a British Citizen, and chooses to live in London England. 

If Choudary chose to live in any contemporary society practising Sharia, the legal framework that he recommends, his freedoms would ironically be profoundly limited.