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News Freedom of Speach or Public Harassment?

  1. May 3, 2010 #1


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    So, it appears that a number of Christian preachers have been arrested for stating in public that homosexuality is a sin. The arrests are carried out under the "Public Order Act" which prohibits people from abusing harmful, insulting, or distressing language in public. See article:


    Even though I really don't like preachers who do this, and in no way agree with their message, and think they give religion a bad name, I don't think they should be arrested because they should have the freedom of speech. I still believe in clear and present danger in that if said speech does not represent clear and present danger (as these speeches do not) then it should be protected under the first amendment.

    What are your thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 3, 2010 #2


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    At least he wasn't carrying a camera or he would really be in trouble!

    Ironically the new version of the act makes it a crime to offend religion.
  4. May 3, 2010 #3
    First Amendment? Didn't this happen in the UK?

    The language used to describe the law seems overly broad. Just about anyone could claim to be insulted or distressed by anything. I have heard and read several people say that they feel insulted by the words "Jesus loves you" or pretty much anything said to them of a religious nature.
    Last edited: May 4, 2010
  5. May 4, 2010 #4
    Well, let's not pretend that homosexuals are not often victim to physical attacks. This could be seen as 'feeding the fire'... I mean like we wouldn't want people to go around parading that being black is a sin. Of course this plays into whether homosexuality is a choice etc. etc..

    @ape Where abouts are you from? Here in Canada close to Toronto we can't even say 'Merry Christmas'! The amount of rights people have now days that impede upon my rights is absurd!

    My opinion on the whole matter is that yes the church should be able to parade around saying homosexuality is a sin. Now whether they can or not (the legality of it) is a different matter.
  6. May 4, 2010 #5


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    Ok I may have messed up on that one. For some reason while I was reading the news it did not occur to me that this wasn't in the U.S.

    Still, there is still a valid point for freedom of speech.

    @Zomgwtf: I do believe that trying to incite violence against people would be over the line. If the preacher had been saying, for example, something like "let's go kill all the homosexuals and burn down their houses!", then I don't believe that would be protected under free speech. This is the "clear and present danger" aspect I was talking about. Even tho this wasn't in the U.S. hehe o_O
  7. May 4, 2010 #6


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    Unfortunately, this is an example of the two extremes which occured through history - you have one of them, where people have a very small amount of rights, and the other one - where every average smuckleberry can sew someone else for being offended by a matter which is actually utterly trivial nonsense, nothing else.
  8. May 4, 2010 #7
    California, US. Not exactly the place you want to be telling people that homosexuality is a sin though I am fairly certain you will not be arrested for it. When they passed the amendment to the state constitution that banned same sex marriage there was actually a mini "gay riot" down the street from where I was living.
  9. May 4, 2010 #8


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    Thats usually the problem.
    PCSOs are a sort of public volunteer police. Some are people getting experience before entering the police force - but many of them are people who, shall we say, don't meet the intelligence or mental health requirements of the force!

    It was all part of a get more police on the street effort by politicans - the result is a bunch of failed mall-cops and local busybodies with real uniforms and real powers.
    Usually this results in the charges being dropped (or technically never actually charged) - BUT it never results in any sort of censure of the PCSO and an arrest means the police get to keep the innocent person on file and keep their DNA indefinitely.

    Just search UK police arrests of photographers for dozens of these sort of stories.

    Of course if you object to this you are "soft on crime"(tm) or terrorism or pedophiles or zombie invasions or whatever the tabloids decide we are scared of this week.
  10. May 4, 2010 #9


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    Arrested? Arrested?? The article states that after the encounter with the PCMO the minister was actually arrested by "regular uniformed police officers" and placed in a police van.

    I'd object to this because in a free country one must have the ability to speak freely even if it offends.


    This guy was was http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ed-racist-police.html?ITO=1490#ixzz0mgU4aOIS" for a placing a sign in his window: "Get The Lot Out"??

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
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