Two Christian pastors were convicted in Australia for vilifying Islam. The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
In Victoria, two hellfire Christian preachers, Danny Nalliah and Daniel Scot, are facing jail after preaching against Islam in the aftermath of September 11, 2001. Ever since, they've been fighting an action brought by the Islamic Council of Victoria under the state's new Racial and Religious Tolerance Act.
That's not too surprising. Everyone knows Oriana Fallaci is facing charges before an Italian magistrate for her criticisms of Islam. What about this: a French member of parliament has been convicted in court of making derogatory remarks about homosexuality. The The Brussels Journal notes:
Stating that “homosexual behaviour endangers the survival of humanity” and that “heterosexuality is morally superior to homosexuality” can cost you dearly in France. Exactly these opinions, expressed by the French politician Christian Vanneste last year, led to him being sentenced on Tuesday to payment of a heavy fine.
A court in Lille [Rijsel in Dutch], in the French northern province of Flanders (adjacent to the Belgian Dutch-speaking region of Flanders), ruled that Mr Vanneste has to pay a fine of 3,000 euro plus 3,000 euro in damages to each of the three gay organisations that had taken him to court. The politician, a member of the French National Assembly for the governing UMP, also has to pay for the verdict to be published in the leftist Parisian newspaper Le Monde, the regional Lille daily La Voix du Nord, and the weekly magazine L’Express.
Again you might say, no surprises here either. But what about this: An Austrian cartoonist is facing charges in Greece for writing a satire on the life of Jesus in his home country. The Guardian reports:
Haderer did not even know that his book, The Life of Jesus, had been published in Greece until he received a summons to appear in court in Athens in January charged with blasphemy. ... "It is unbelievable that a person can write a book in his home country and be condemned and threatened with imprisonment by another," said Nikki Conrad, a human rights expert who organised yesterday's press conference. "But he is not going to just sit back and accept this injustice. He is prepared to take this to the European court of human rights. When Gerhard first got the summons he thought it was a joke. But now he is starting to get a bit nervous."
Whole categories of discourse are now being outlawed in the West. At least two celebrities are fighting this trend, probably because they lead active lives of the mind. One of them is Mr. Bean.
Blackadder star Rowan Atkinson has launched a comedians' campaign against a government bill to outlaw inciting religious hatred. ... Mr Atkinson told a meeting at the House of Commons on Monday night there are "quite a few sketches" he has performed which would come into conflict with the proposed law.
He added: "To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion, that is a right. That is a freedom. The freedom to criticise ideas, any ideas - even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society."
The other is Michael Crichton. At a speech entitled "Fear, Complexity, Environmental Management in the 21st Century" that he gave before Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy, Crichton described one the major unrecognized dangers stalking the world: bad information. Crichton meticulously showed how grossly hysterical coverage of Chernobyl reactor incident, for example, caused deaths far more numerous than the incident itself. He went on to trace the history of public policy fads, Global Cooling, the predicted Y2K meltdown, the Population Bomb, Electromagnetic Fields and so on, and shows how we have nearly forgotten them in our rush to replace them with new ones. We live once again, in Carl Sagan's phrase, in a demon-haunted world.
It has been observed that Marxism was itself a religion. It had its martyrs, processions, ritual flagellations, paradises; and other things besides, though they went by other names: but chiefly it had its Inquisitions -- the Great Purges, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution -- which consumed millions. It is ironic that the single greatest imperative of its ideological heirs is the urge to persecution. At heart political correctness is the rejection of the scientific method. Truth is measured by conformity to the unholy writ. What is the essential difference between these two reactions to blasphemy?
Harvard Chief's Comments on Women Assailed
|During nearly four years as
president of Harvard University, Lawrence H. Summers has earned a
reputation for blunt, sometimes brutal comments. After upsetting African
Americans early in his tenure, he has provoked a new storm of
controversy by suggesting that the shortage of elite female scientists
may stem in part from "innate" differences between men and
"I felt I was going to be sick," said Nancy Hopkins, a biology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who listened to part of Summers's speech Friday at a session on the progress of women in academia organized by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. She walked out in what she described as a physical sense of disgust.
"My heart was pounding and my breath was shallow," she said. "I was extremely upset."
|14:61 But he held his peace, and
answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him,
Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
14:62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
14:63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
14:64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
Except two thousand years. Blasphemy is the end of argument. The high priest rent his clothes as though it settled something. The West is menaced not only by its declining fertility but by an assault on its intellectual core. We have become as the Ancients whose ideas of freedom went on to illuminate distant generations, but not their own descendants, who hastened to embrace the following dark.