Neoblasphemy laws

Gee…that there Archbishop of Canterbury really doesn’t grasp the principle of free speech, does he. Or he does but he doesn’t agree with it and is surprisingly unbashful about saying so.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has called for new laws to protect religious sensibilities that would punish “thoughtless and cruel” styles of speaking…The Archbishop…said it should not just be a few forms of extreme behaviour that were deemed unacceptable, leaving everything else as fair game. “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,” he said.

In other words the legal provision should frighten us out of saying certain things. Yes, that sounds like a good idea; much like Turkey, or Syria, or Afghanistan.

Dr Williams said: “It is clear that the old blasphemy law is unworkable and that its assumptions are not those of contemporary lawmakers and citizens overall. But as we think about the adequacy of what is coming to replace it, we should not, I believe, miss the opportunity of asking the larger questions about what is just and good for individuals and groups in our society who hold religious beliefs.”

Okay, ask the questions. Go right ahead. But the new laws? Not a good idea.

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