"Religion is a hypothesis about the world: the hypothesis that things are the way they are, at least in part, because of supernatural entities or forces acting on the natural world. And there's no good reason to treat it any differently from any other hypothesis. Which includes pointing out its flaws and inconsistencies, asking its adherents to back it up with solid evidence, making jokes about it when it's just being silly, offering arguments and evidence for our own competing hypotheses...and trying to persuade people out of it if we think it's mistaken. It's persuasion. It's the marketplace of ideas. Why should religion get a free ride"

Greta Christina

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

ASBO and fine for U.K atheist

So this is the special protection the British courts are prepared to give to religion. It seems an atheist called Harry Taylor left some religiously offensive cartoons in an airport prayer room and he was found guilty of three counts of causing religiously aggravated harassment during his trial at Liverpool Crown Court.
He has been fined, given a six month suspended prison sentence and an anti social behaviour order preventing him from from carrying anti-religious leaflets in public.
As has been said many times, nobody has the right not to be offended and although Mr Taylor obviously did this on purpose to provoke, his conviction opens the door for any self righteous religious idiot to bring a similar case.
Note the ASBO prevents him carrying this material “in a public space” and not just into religious establishments with intent to offend. Where does this leave atheist stand-up or secular posters challenging religion? Bearing in mind that even the suggestion that their precious sky fairy is a myth offends many theists.
The material Mr Taylor left in the prayer room mocked several religions,
Among the posters, one image showed a smiling crucified Christ next to an advert for a brand of "no nails" glue
In another, a cartoon depicted two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: "Not for women or gays, obviously."
Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise were told in another: "Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins." ...
So while not perhaps the most sensitive thing to leave around a non secular building they are for the most part either extremely apposite or just plain funny. Not worth a prison sentence, suspended or not.

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