Atheist given Asbo for leaflets mocking Jesus

The Independent:

Atheist given Asbo for leaflets mocking Jesus

An atheist who left leaflets mocking Jesus Christ, Islam and the Pope in an airport's prayer room has been given an Asbo.
Harry Taylor, 59, from Higher Broughton, Salford, left the anti-religious posters in prayer rooms at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in November and December 2008.

One of the posters Taylor left at the airport depicted 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." A third poster showed Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise being told: "Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins".
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, has been left angry over the conviction.

"The six month sentence may have been suspended, but it is still totally out of proportion for what Mr Taylor did. The ** professional 'offence takers' **in religious communities will now feel that they have a strong weapon to use against anyone who is critical or disapproving of them. It is, in effect, a blasphemy law that covers all religions and is much more powerful than the one which was abolished two years ago."

The headline is rather misleading -- he wasn't arrested just for mocking Jesus but other faiths as well.
I love the line about professional offense-takers; I don't know about the UK but over here they are the atheists always looking for a cross they can demand be taken down (like the city seal of Los Cruces)or an AD or "year of our Lord" to be removed from official documents.

Qy; what is asbo?

I don’t normally love wikipedia but for the answer to what an ASBO is:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbo

I agree, there are many atheists who are a little too obsessed with ridding the world of nativity scenes and whatnot. However, this man should not be punished just for handing out leaflets. There’s such a thing as freedom of speech, and it should be defended, even if the person is spreading something vile and evil. Unless these people are going to punish Christians who hand out Christian leaflets, it would be unjust to punish this man just for passing out his leaflets.

Now, if he broke into these rooms in order to hang up these posters, or if there were rules banning posters, etc. then he should be punished. But he shouldn’t be punished just for being offensive.

Look at Chick tracts, for instance. Keep in mind I despise Jack Chick as much as Catholics do. Even though the things that he writes are untrue, cruel, misleading, and offensive, he should not be punished for writing or distributing them, because we have freedom of speech and that means that even mean and rude people get to say what they want.

V

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:2, topic:196122"]
I don't normally love wikipedia but for the answer to what an ASBO is:-

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asbo

[/quote]

Thanks.
Sounds like the closest thing in US law is an order of protection, usually used in domestic violence cases.

Remember Uk and American law are not the same on these issues. I tend to side with you personally and by and large people can vent to their opinions in the UK. However there is no official constitution whereby a right to a freedom of speech is guaranteed and freedom of speech largely exists because of liberal political traditions here. However Britian has engaged in censorship of political groups even in recent years. Also, been a cynic I view the American right to free speech as only of worth while people fight for it and even America does not guarantee absolute free speech in all situations.

Ah. I was not paying attention, I didn’t realize this was in Britain. Well, obviously, the British government should punish him if he broke the law (though personally I think that they should have freedom of speech the way we do – just a suggestion, Britain :smiley: )

V

American law works for America, British for Britian. The two socieities possess many similariities superficially but also some noteable differences. We have a written constitution where I come from originally in Ireland but even there it differs in some points to the US one due to our individual history also. For example freedom of speech is guaranteed so long as it does not undermine “public order or morality or the authority of the State” although in practise that proviso has been used once or twice only. Some provisos like that reflect the early years of the state which emerged from a brutal little civil war. In the same way much of British law reflects centuries of prior developments. I personally think this guy should have been just banned from entering the area via a banning letter or similar.

Sorry, I wasn’t trying to sound arrogant or condescending towards Britain. I just really like freedom of speech :slight_smile:

V

That would be in keeping with using a quote from one of Alan Moore’s better known works as an user name. Of course V did point out that Anarchy means without rules and not without order. We shall forget about the dubious film adaption of that work though, which saw the source material trashed to hell and back as is per usual for adaptions of Moore’s work.

No country has absolute freedom of speech. America is far better than the vast majority of nations have been in this respect (as is Britain currently) but all have restrictions on what you can say and often even where no such restrcition is supposed to exsist historically there have been limits or censorship.

Well, I’m not an anarchist, but I do have some libertarian leanings.

Finally, someone who understands :slight_smile:

Oh, I know. I just prefer as much freedom of speech of speech as is feasible.

V

I wished to God they would stop filming Moore’s work - no movie version of any of his work has been remotely close the source material. Watchmen looked superficially close but was in some ways the worst adaption of all and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was just horrendous.

V for Vendetta is a comic that arose from a particular period in UK history and the movie version just didn’t really understand the source material in anything but the most superficial manner.

I prefet the maximum freedom of speech possible to although I do think that freedom of speech also comes with a responsibilty to actually think about what you are saying. I’d defend the right of the man citied in the news article to make his points but I’d totally disagree with the style he chose to do so in.

[quote="JharekCarnelian, post:11, topic:196122"]
I prefet the maximum freedom of speech possible to although I do think that freedom of speech also comes with a responsibilty to actually think about what you are saying. I'd defend the right of the man citied in the news article to make his points but I'd totally disagree with the style he chose to do so in.

[/quote]

I agree, handing out leaflets just seems like a waste of paper. Who's ever been converted by such methods? Especially when it was just stupid jokes, not even actual arguments.

V

Well, it all seems really silly - except that there's an argument that the fewer clearly bonkers people around airports the better.

[quote="Call_Me_V, post:12, topic:196122"]
I agree, handing out leaflets just seems like a waste of paper. Who's ever been converted by such methods? Especially when it was just stupid jokes, not even actual arguments.

V

[/quote]

One must consider that, while the Christian and Jewish faith communities can be appeased by ASBO's, there are factions of the Islamic faith over here who may take serious offence and not take the conduct as a "joke". The purpose of the order is to curb anti-social behaviour. Handing out leaflets to evangelise is an entirely different matter where the intent is to convert or ecumenical in nature, not to ridicule.

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