For centuries christians in the west have enjoyed unchallenged power to dominate politics, law, the lives of individuals and public discourse. That power has been disintegrating, and at every challenge they mount the same arguments, portraying themselves as victims of a savage and unreasonable secular culture which is apparently trying to silence them and deny their religious freedom. Expect to see a lot more of this kind of rhetoric in the lead up to Australia finally allowing marriage equality for same sex couples.
I welcome criticism, but I don’t welcome false accusations attempting to silence criticism, so let me anticipate a couple I expect to be levelled at the content of this blog.
Is this Religious Villification?
No it’s political critique, intended to promote democratic examination of campaigns to change censorship laws. It is not intended to promote hatred, contempt, severe ridicule or any type of abuse or violence. I think hatred is the enemy of open discussion and democratic progress. We have a definition of Religious Villification under Australian Law;
According to the Human Rights Commission “The legal definition is conduct that ‘incites hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule’.”
“Behaviour that is not likely would not be seen as vilification includes:
– being critical of a religion or debating racial or religious ideas in a way that does not encourage others to hate racial or religious groups
– actions that offend people of a particular race or religion, but do not encourage others to hate, disrespect or abuse racial or religious groups.”
I’m arguing for democratic disclosure of religious lobby groups. I’m not suggesting they be singled out for unfair treatment, bullied, denied rights enjoyed by everyone else, denounced as un-natural, evil, perverting children… in the ways some Christian groups treat LBGTI people, for example. I’m not promoting hatred, contempt, extreme ridicule or violence. Just to be really clear – I do not want Christians, Collective Shout or members of any religious group to be subject to hatred, contempt or abuse. Check my timeline, in the past I’ve had a small number of twitter conversations with CS team members, usually initiated by them, I have never used personal abuse or anything that could be described as hate speech, or called for others to.
I do reserve the right to find religious beliefs ridiculous, and the law allows for ridicule as long as it is not severe, or intending to encourage hatred, contempt or violence. If you believe that eternal holy laws for all humanity were delivered to a lone man looking at rocks in a hat, as Mormons do, then I’m going to find that mildly hilarious. Similarly for those who believe that an all powerful immortal god was born as a human baby to a mother who was sexually impregnated by a ghost yet remained a virgin. Sorry, that kind of wilfull denial of science and human biology is also fairly ridiculous, but I don’t want anyone to be bullied for believing it.
You’re Trying to Silence Them
I have no interest in silencing Collective Shout, I don’t call for them to be no-platformed or denied an opportunity to express their views. I agree with them on some things, some of the advertising they campaign against should be called out for its sexism and objectification. I support their right to campaign on any issue they choose. I also support the rights of others to criticize those campaigns.
Also I have never claimed to be speaking for anyone else, not for women, feminists, sex workers, not even for other musicians. I don’t claim to represent anyone’s views other than my own. Given the access to mainstream media that CS enjoy it’s ridiculous to suggest that an unknown self-published blogger could silence a group with that power. It’s not something I want to do, or could even attempt.