Wednesday, December 08, 2004

I don’t want people going out inciting people against devil worshippers

Europe continues a move away from freedom of speech. The British government is introducing a bill to punish the incitement of religious hatred. Which is subjective enough to potentially cover criticizing or making fun of religions (Rowan Atkinson is campaigning against the bill). Any religion. The Tories think it shouldn’t cover Satanists but Home Sec David Blunkett, who likes raising a bit of hell himself, says, “I don’t want people going out inciting people against devil worshippers.”

And the French are passing a law to ban anti-gay or sexist insults. The Catholic Church is not happy. In the interests of improving your vocabulary, this is The Times’s translation from France Soir: “Calling a woman mal baisée (sexually frustrated) or uttering a homophobic enculé (a***hole) could cost you six months’ jail.” [That’s not one * too many--the Times means arsehole] The group SOS homophobie plans to prosecute soccer fans who chant pédés (queers) at players. Although it is expected to be dropped at the conference stage, there is also a provision against making fun of the handicapped, which was inserted by a homophobic MP trying to imply that homosexuality, and presumably being a woman, were also handicaps (the MP is a woman). Job discrimination against homosexuals will also be banned. This is the country which is busily expelling Muslim girls wearing headscarves, and Sikhs, from public schools, so a bit of a mixed message really.

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