All of us have been worried that the Obama Administration, working in tandem with a wildly Democratic Congress, wants to clamp down on freedom of speech. Heck, in true Orwellian fashion, the House of Representatives has already taken myriad terms off the table for fear that they might be used against their Fearless (albeit whiny) Leader. We also know that Obama’s new “Diversity Chief” at the FCC, Mark Lloyd, is bound and determined to shut down conservative radio. The Democratic administration’s cry of “racist” when it comes to any opposition to Obama’s policies is also meant to shut down speech by shaming the speakers. Still, we have a First Amendment and, ‘though it’s getting battered and bloody, it’s hanging in there and protecting us for the time being.
Things are not so good in other places, and I’m not talking about North Korea, Cuba or Venezuela. We all watched last year as Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant and Kathy Shaidle were attacked by the Canadian government for having the temerity to offend Muslim sensibilities. In Canada, for goodness sakes! We tend to think that our country is an awful lot like theirs (only less tidy), but it turns out that there are fundamental differences in the two countries when it comes to a citizen’s relationship to the state, and the control the state has over its citizens. The same holds true for England. We look to England as the mother country, the one that gave us ideas about constitutions and freedom and equal rights at the law, etc., but we forget how far we’ve outstripped England when it comes to those principles — an outstripping that finds its source in our unique American Bill of Rights.
Well, today’s British news served to remind me, once again, how very different a country is when it has a constitutionally enshrined right to free speech from one that doesn’t. In England, two Christian hotel owners are being prosecuted by the government (this is not just a civil suit between citizens) for having “offended” a Muslim woman when they stated the historically and factually accurate truths that Muhammad was a war lord (and proud of it) and that Islamic dress does not serve women well (emphasis mine):
A Christian couple have been charged with a criminal offence after taking part in what they regarded as a reasonable discussion about religion with guests at their hotel.
Ben and Sharon Vogelenzang were arrested after a Muslim woman complained to police that she had been offended by their comments.
They have been charged under public order laws with using ‘threatening, abusive or insulting words’ that were ‘religiously aggravated’.
The couple, whose trial has been set for December, face a fine of up to £5,000 and a criminal record if they are convicted.
Although the facts are disputed, it is thought that during the conversation the couple were challenged over their Christian beliefs.
It is understood that they suggested that Mohammed, the founder of Islam, was a warlord and that traditional Muslim dress for women was a form of bondage.
They deny, however, that their comments were threatening and argue that they had every right to defend and explain their beliefs.
In other words, in England, even to have a fact-based discussion that offends Muslims can turn you into a criminal. And I do mean fact-based. The Koran is one proud boast after another regarding Mohammed’s martial prowess. To the extent the Koran constitutes both a religious source book and the sole historical record about the man, he was indeed a warlord — and, as it happens, a religious leader too. Further, I don’t know about you (and it’s very un-PC of me to say so), but Ibelieve reasonable minds could consider the burqa a form of bondage:
It’s becoming clear that, of all the dangerous things coming out of the Obama White House — the criminal ACORN associations, the cozying up to the worst actors in the world while alienating our friends, the attempt to socialize our economy, etc. — the single most dangerous thing may prove to be the one that’s slipping under the radar, and that’s the assault on the crown jewel of our Bill of Rights: Freedom of Speech.