Archive for the 'Freedom of speech' Category

Ireland and Pantigate

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Paddy Manning

By Paddy Manning

Truth, said Aeschylus, is the first casualty of war.

The first casualty of the same-sex marriage (SSM) debate is free speech. You can’t promote an idea that flawed if someone can argue against it.

Here in Ireland we have seen a debate open up, much to the horror of the liberal elite for whom the subject is settled, on the subject of SSM. The predictable reaction was a concerted effort to rein in free speech and argument.

As a gay man I have always disliked drag artistes playing a self-appointed role as representatives of the putative gay “community”.

Drag represents gay people the way Aunt Jemima represents African Americans or Speedy Gonzalez, Hispanics.

One night, the drag artiste, business man & professional self-promoter Panti Bliss/Rory O’Neill was the guest on a government-owned TV chat show. I was not viewing. O’Neil’s performance, a crude attempt to silence those he believes were the most potent voices against redefining marriage, played out such that I had to view the segment later.

When the pub owner denounced public commentators who were “homophobic,” he was asked by the host Brendan O’Connor to name those people.

O’Neill listed columnists John Waters & Breda O’Brien by name but threw in the all the people involved in the tiny, pro-family, socially conservative Iona Institute as a group.

What O’Neill, with the clear connivance of his host, Brendan O Connor, was attempting was the demonisation of the opposition to SSM. It was pre-emptive ad hominem. John Waters and Breda O’Brien do not oppose redefinition of marriage and the diminution of children’s rights from a logical viewpoint; they have a pathological fear and loathing of gay people. Worse, their very arguments hurt gay people and directly encourage brutal physical attacks on them. Monsters!

Nothing to see here, folks, just some scared beasts lashing out. Don’t you listen to anything they say.
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Same-sex marriage: coercion dolled up as civil rights

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Eich BrendanBy Brendan O’Neill

Stop treating Brendan Eich as a one-off – gay marriage is inherently illiberal.

It’s four weeks since Javascript inventor Brendan Eich was hounded out of his job at Mozilla by a virtual mob of intolerant tweeters and campaigners. His crime? Failing to genuflect at the altar of gay marriage, which is now the closest thing our otherwise godless, belief-lite, morally vacuous societies have to a sacred value. For refusing to bow down before this new sainted institution, and for having the temerity to donate money to a campaign group opposed to it, Eich was found guilty by the mob of sacrilege and was hounded out of public life as a modern-day heretic.

And in those four weeks, some gay-marriage backers, feeling more than a little red-faced, have called for the zealots in their camp to get a grip. The treatment of Eich was an example of what happens when bad-apple activists turn crazily self-righteous, they say. British-American writer Andrew Sullivan says the witch-hunting of Eich speaks to the ‘fanaticism’ of certain campaigners, which apparently runs counter to the gay-marriage movement’s desire to create a more ‘tolerant and diverse society’. This week, prominent American liberals and libertarians published an open letter headlined ‘Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Dissent: Why We Must Have Both’, which says the Eich episode showed the ‘eagerness [of] some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticise or to persuade those who disagree’. ‘Enforcing orthodoxy hurts everyone’, the letter says, and gay-marriage campaigners must lobby for the ‘freedom to marry’ in a less hysterical fashion.

It is always refreshing to see people stand up for the freedom to dissent, especially on an issue like gay marriage, on which there’s an astounding amount of nodding-dog conformity.

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True marriage supporters ‘not welcome’ in New York: councilman

Friday, April 18th, 2014

A New York City councilman has effectively told traditional marriage supporters they are “not welcome” in the Big Apple.

In response to Chick-fil-A’s proposed plans to expand their business and set up restaurants in several locations, including New York City, Councilman Daniel Dromm told the Huffington Post that the fast-food chain would not be welcome in the most populous city in the country.

“We don’t need bigots coming to New York City,” Dromm told HuffPost. “They are not welcome here unless they can embrace all of New York’s diverse community, including the LGBT community.”

Chick-fil-A made national headlines in 2012 when CEO Dan Cathy voiced his belief in traditional marriage. His remarks sparked scathing reactions from pro-homosexual politicians and the homosexual lobby.

Despite the onslaught of pro-homosexuality antagonism, the fast-food chain received an even larger outpouring of support after the incident, including a nation-wide “Chick-fil-A Day,” during which the restaurant made record-breaking sales.

Cathy has recently said he wishes to expand the company and consequently not be so vocal about his personal opinions.

This pledge of silence, however, does not placate Councilman Dromm’s desire to keep traditional marriage supporters out of New York City.

“We don’t need bigoted people even keeping their opinions to themselves,” Dromm said. “They need to wake up and see reality.”

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American pro-family activist arrested in Canada

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

A prominent U.S. pro-family activist who was detained by the Canadian Border Services Agency before being allowed into Canada on appeal was arrested late Monday on the campus of the University of Regina. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality was arrested along with Canadian pro-family activist Bill Whatcott.

The pair were at the university with a poster depicting a child killed by abortion and a sign saying “sodomy is a sin.” A video of the incident shows that at first Whatcott was asked to leave the campus by campus security, who were accompanied by police. Whatcott responded that he had won two court cases on freedom of speech. “I do believe I have a charter right to speak here,” he said.

Whatcott said that they would have to remove him from campus, because in addition to his charter right, he said, “I believe I have a moral responsibility to share the Gospel with these students.” He added, “I believe this university would not be as rich as it could be if it did not allow me to stay here and speak.”

Just before he was arrested Whatcott said to the guard, “I respect you but I’m not going to obey that order because it’s unjust and it’s illegal.”

As he was warned that he was about to get arrested he said, “Okay, I’m always a peaceful guy.”

As the officer announced his arrest and cuffed him, Whatcott raised his voice slightly to say, “Students, this is wrong. Even those of you who might disagree with me, we are all less free because of this; everybody loses. There are not any winners.” Whatcott concluded, “Shame on this university for suppressing speech.”

LaBarbera, surrounded by police, can be heard on the video saying, “I would rather stay in solidarity with him,” referring to Whatcott. Then he too was arrested.

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The purge of gay-marriage heretics begins

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Eich BrendanRefuse to renounce your opposition to gay marriage, and you will be hounded out of your career and public life. That’s the lesson of Brendan Eich’s ousting at software company Mozilla.

After Eich was appointed CEO in late March, some Mozilla employees and software developers took to the internet to demand his resignation. Dating website OK Cupid called for a boycott of Mozilla, referring to opponents of gay marriage as ‘our enemies’. At issue was a $1,000 donation Eich had made in 2008 in support of Proposition 8, the ballot measure to ban gay marriages in California (which passed but was later struck down by a court).

There was no question that Eich, the technical guru behind JavaScript and the Firefox browser, was qualified for a senior-management role. There were no reports of Eich being biased towards colleagues during his tenure since co-founding the Mozilla Corporation in 2005. In a blog post written shortly after his appointment as CEO, he expressed the aim of making Mozilla ‘a place of equality and welcome for all’, and requested ‘the time to “show, not tell”; and in the meantime express my sorrow at having caused pain’. But Eich did not issue an apology for a donation made six years prior, nor did he recant his views on gay marriage. And, because of his failure to do so, he remained unacceptable to his opponents, who demanded he disappear.

The move to force out Eich appeared so intolerant, so driven by vengeance, that even some in favour of gay marriage sought to distance themselves from it. To his credit, Andrew Sullivan, the so-called ‘father’ of same-sex marriage, wrote: ‘Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society.’

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“I was jeered and spat at for defending marriage”

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

Recently I appeared in the audience of BBC’s Question Time in my home town of Brighton after a friend asked me to take their place at short notice.

When Marilyn Barmer stood up and nervously asked whether the first gay marriages due to take place in the city in the next 24 hours were a necessary piece of legislation, the temperature in the auditorium plummeted, the warm glow of good-natured yet passionate debate replaced by a glacial hostility.

I have never before experienced such a palpable and visceral sense of contempt and dislike, despite having debated the issue a number of times inside a TV studio or on the radio with LGBT advocates.

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Mozilla boss Brendan Eich resigns after gay marriage storm

Friday, April 4th, 2014

MozillaThe chief executive of Mozilla – the company best known for its Firefox browser – has stepped down.

Brendan Eich was appointed just last month but came in for heavy criticism for his views on same-sex marriage.

Mozilla’s executive chairwoman Mitchell Baker announced the decision in a blog post.

“Mozilla prides itself on being held to a different standard and, this past week, we didn’t live up to it,” she wrote.

“We know why people are hurt and angry, and they are right: it’s because we haven’t stayed true to ourselves.

“We didn’t act like you’d expect Mozilla to act. We didn’t move fast enough to engage with people once the controversy started. We’re sorry. We must do better.”

Mr Eich has also stepped down from the board of the Mozilla Foundation, the non-profit organisation which owns the for-profit Mozilla Corporation.

Mr Eich, who co-founded Mozilla and was also the creator of the JavaScript scripting language, made a $1,000 (£600) donation in 2008 in support of Californian anti-gay marriage law Proposition 8.

Although it was initially passed, it was later overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

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Let everyone think what he likes and say what he thinks

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

Every man should think what he likes and say what he thinks.’ It is 350 years since Spinoza, the great Dutchman of the Enlightenment, wrote those simple but profound words. And yet every man (and woman) is still not at liberty to think what he or she likes, far less say it. It is for this reason that, today, spiked is kicking off a transatlantic liberty-loving online magazine and real-world campaign called Free Speech Now! – to put the case for unfettered freedom of thought and speech; to carry the Spinoza spirit into the modern age; to make the case anew for allowing everyone to say what he thinks, as honestly and frankly as he likes.

It is true that, unlike in Spinoza’s day, no one in the twenty-first century is dragged to ‘the scaffold’ and ‘put to death’ for saying out loud what lurks in his heart – at least not in the Western world. But right now, right here, in the apparently democratic West, people are being arrested, fined, shamed, censored, cut off, cast out of polite society, and even jailed for the supposed crime of thinking what they like and saying what they think. You might not be hanged by the neck anymore for speaking your mind, but you do risk being hung out to dry, by coppers, the courts, censorious Twittermobs and other self-elected guardians of the allegedly right way of thinking and correct way of speaking.

Ours is an age in which a pastor, in Sweden, can be sentenced to a month in jail for preaching to his own flock in his own church that homosexuality is a sin.

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