Sunday, June 05, 2005

I saw hate in a graveyard - Stephen Fry

The proposed laws against incitement to religious hatred are very dangerous. Had they existed in 1930's Germany, Nazism would not have been prevented, Rather, it would have been legitimised; its adherents able to portray themselves as victims, oppressed for their opinions.

This thoughtful piece in the Observer reports Stephen Fry's response to the desecration by modern anti-Semites of his great-grandfather's grave. He understands his own emotional reaction and relates it to others' desire to have laws against religious hatred.

But his conclusion is that of a free man, not a slave looking to his master, the State, to protect him.

He says he 'couldn't possibly obey a law' that allowed prosecutions of comedians or writers who caused offence, adding: 'It's now very common to hear people say, "I'm rather offended by that", as if that gives them certain rights. It's no more than a whine. It has no meaning, it has no purpose, it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. "I'm offended by that." Well, so fucking what?'

Exactly. No-one who seeks to suppress the opinions of others because those opinions offend their religious or other beliefs, is fit to live in a free society.

The Observer | UK News | I saw hate in a graveyard - Stephen Fry

No comments: