No doubt my readers have already read this story (see also here). An American street preacher was fined 1,000 pounds in Scotland for saying, in response to an obvious set-up, that homosexuals "risk the wrath of God unless they accept Christ." His conviction was, specifically, for "uttering homophobic remarks" which were "aggravated by religious prejudice." In other words, the fact that his remarks were based on his religious beliefs was apparently treated as an additional, aggravating factor justifying his arrest and fine.
What particularly struck me in the story was the reaction of a spokesman for the Catholic Church:
Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Glasgow told the Scotsman, “We supported [hate crime] legislation but it is very difficult to see how this man can be charged for expressing a religious conviction.
“The facts of this case show his statement was clearly his religious belief. Yes, it is strong language he has used, but it is obviously a religious conviction and not a form of discrimination.”
Do you get that? Neither do I. They supported hate-speech legislation (and even, says the Scotsman article, increased penalties for so-called anti-gay "hate crimes") but don't want him to be charged for "expressing a religious conviction." And they think they can make some kind of distinction between what he said and "a form of discrimination." Say, what?
I'll be a monkey's uncle if there weren't people warning and informing Catholic leaders in Scotland of exactly what hate-speech legislation means. Sounds like they didn't listen. Thanks a lot, gentlemen.
Similar story about worse-than-wimpy Catholic leaders encouraging the suppression of Christianity here.