Stephen Fry may not agree but his anti-God rant shows why we need to repeal 18C
Stephen Fry may not agree but his anti-God rant shows why we need to repeal 18C

What Fry's blasphemy case shows us about Section 18C

God dammit! Bloody Hell! Jesus Christ Almighty! Mother of Moses! Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

While the above may be offensive to some readers, thankfully, in Australia it's not illegal to blaspheme.

However as we've learned from the Gardai's investigation into Stephen Fry's anti-God rant, the same can't be said for those living in Ireland.  

Nor, as reports today show, is it true for our cousins in New Zealand - Kiwis apparently still have anti-blasphemy laws in place.

For me the fact governments in both New South Wales and Queensland have legalised blasphemy is something to be proud of - it's a triumph of free speech.

I completely understand why some people find this sort of language irritating and confronting.

But I also think honest and frank discussion - by way of telling me not to swear - is a far more rational approach than involving police, lawyers and judges in a minor dispute over someone not liking what I say, or write.

It amuses me greatly to note that many of those who so strenuously objected to Fry being prosecuted for blasphemy would be quick to defend Australia's Section 18C.

And ironically, according to many on the left, while blaspheming and openly denying the legitimacy of the Christian faith is seen as a right of free speech, questioning the ideologies driving the religious or cultural practices of any ethnic minority group is an offence worthy of prosecution.

The unsophisticated nature of 18C and Australia's racial discrimination laws is brought perfectly into focus when we consider the case of the Christian Indonesian Governor of Jakarta Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, also known as Ahok.

Ahok was last night jailed for two years for blasphemy after he said clerics had used a Koranic verse to mislead voters by telling them Muslims were not allowed to vote for a Christian.

Amazingly if we unpack the elements of Australia's racial discrimination laws - specifically 18C - we see that Ahok could just as easily have been prosecuted here.

Section 18C makes it unlawful to: "offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people; if the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group."

In Ayok's case his comments clearly took aim at what in Australia is considered an ethnic minority.

And the facts shown they were made in a way which caused great offence - perhaps even intimidation or humiliation.

Yet blinded by identity politics many of us fail to see the real evil at play - that using the law to limit free speech - in any form, is a dangerous and abhorrent practice. 

News Corp Australia

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