Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Another Standard victory


The Crown prosecutor's office did the right thing and suggested no criminal charges be laid against the Western Standard. In an obnoxious move, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada has filed a hate crimes charge against the Standard and one other publication with the Alberta Human Rights Commission. That Commission has yet to decide whether they will hear the case or not, and the ISCC is also debating continuing to be obnoxious by filing a civil suit.

In his statement, Gordon Wong, Calgary's chief Crown prosecutor, said that the magazine had to have the intent of inciting hatred against a specific group, and said that his office saw no such intent. Instead, "The intent was to debate the issue within the articles. That's different than inciting hatred," Wong said.

This is not just a setback for the ISCC, it's also a setback for the United Church of Canada. They made the following remarkable (especially since it's potentially libelous) claim: "We believe that the intention of publishing the cartoons has little to do with freedom of expression and much to do with incitement to racial and religious hatred."

Still, the ISCC is planning to lobby legislatures to make Canada the kind of country that would have locked up Voltaire and other satiricists of religion. They are doing their darndest to get legislation passed to make it a crime to poke fun at all religious figures. No more South Park cartoons about L. Ron Hubbard, or depicting him in any way but with a glowing halo around his head. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens chimes in (Feb. 4) with why satirizing religion is not a bad idea. Here's an excerpt:
The question of "offensiveness" is easy to decide. First: Suppose that we all agreed to comport ourselves in order to avoid offending the believers? How could we ever be sure that we had taken enough precautions? On Saturday, I appeared on CNN, which was so terrified of reprisal that it "pixilated" the very cartoons that its viewers needed to see. And this ignoble fear in Atlanta, Ga., arose because of an illustration in a small Scandinavian newspaper of which nobody had ever heard before! Is it not clear, then, that those who are determined to be "offended" will discover a provocation somewhere? We cannot possibly adjust enough to please the fanatics, and it is degrading to make the attempt.


Blogger dr_dog said...

Even under our lamentable hate speech laws, the Standard has this one in the bag. This will not stand up in court.

1:31 a.m.  
Blogger mostlyfree said...

The newest thing that I find puzzling is that all these lefties that consider publishing the cartoons offensive and want it to be legally unacceptable (because it is against Islamic moral code, as far as I can tell) also tend to be in favour of keeping the government from enacting any kind of law enforcing Christian moral code.

The inconsistency is mind-boggling... unless they're willing to admit that they're just pissed off about it because it's the Standard and they're lefties.

1:24 p.m.  

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