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Saturday, March 05, 2005

Don't do it, England

The law against religious hatred is – in effect – an invitation to it
By Charles Moore

England produced John Locke, in my opinion the greatest philosopher of the past 500 years. I like the works of Spinoza very much also. Thomas Jefferson's intellect was prodigious. I digress.

There isn't a single philosopher in the great Western Enlightenment tradition who would support this blasphemy law by another name.

Charles Moore cuts right to the heart of the issue with a simple question:
A more fundamental question is raised: who decides what is an authentic manifestation of a religious belief? Because white British people are so bored by these questions, most of us vaguely assume that the Muslim religion dictates that certain garments be worn. But in fact this is not so. As in most faiths, there is a dispute about what the rules are. Our "human rights" culture seems to mean that we defer to the stricter versions of the rules.

The courts and politicians of course. In one quick pen stroke, pushing feel-good legislation, England can rejoin the glory days of religious persecution, theocracy, and destruction of freedom of conscience.

I'll add this one to my ever-growing list of "things I never thought I'd see in my lifetime".

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