By Ted Belman
WND reports that Case over ‘vilifying’ Islam settled.
Two Christian pastors convicted under a “hate crimes” plan for “vilifying” Islam by quoting from the Quran during a seminar on jihad again are free to debate religious beliefs following a settlement of their long-running case,
What’s outrageous to me is that the law even exists.
The Australian law was imposed in order to prevent the denigration of people based on their race or religion, and similar laws also have been approved in Canada, where critics of the law say they include sexual orientation and forbid pastors from condemning homosexuality as a sin.
In the United States, a proposal pending in Congress would enhance penalties for crimes motivated by “hate,” a plan some Christians fear would be used to crack down on their ability to express their biblical perspective that homosexuality is immoral.
Aside from the obvious curtailment of free speech, I ask you, what’s wrong with telling the truth about what the Koran or Bible says? What’s wrong with denigrating a religion if the facts warrant it?
“The shocking thing about this law is that truth is not a defense,” said Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for The Voice of the Martyrs.
“In the eyes of the law, it’s not a matter of whether or not these two men told the truth â€“ they did â€“ but whether someone felt bad about what they said. This is such a subjective standard that the law almost invites misguided cases like this one,” he said.
The crime of “publicly inciting hatred” in Canada has four main elements.
To contravene the Canadian Criminal Code, a person must:
* communicate statements,
* in a public place,
* incite hatred against an identifiable group,
* in such a way that there will likely be a breach of the peace.
But the Code allows for the following defenses, if the statements in question:
* are established to be true
* were relevant to any subject of public interest, the discussion of which was for the public benefit, and if on reasonable grounds it was believed to be true
* were expressed in good faith, it was attempted to establish by argument and opinion on a religious subject
* were expressed in good faith, it was intended to point out, for the purpose of removal, matters tending to produce feelings of hatred toward an identifiable group in Canada
Excellent legislation. So why isn’t the truth a defense in Australia?