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Freedom of speech?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
Whose freedom of speech?

Freedom of speech is an issue everywhere, and something that I've been struggling with at work particularly at the moment, so this seemed pertinent.

What do you think? Where do we draw the line?
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Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    The way I see it, sexuality or race are not matters of choice. Therefore homophobic and racist slurring should not be allowed.

    Religious beliefs however should be freely attacked without consequences, seeing as it is a matter of choice.

    Shame the law doesn't agree on the latter, and partially does not protect some of those in the former groups.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I start from the basis that anything should be allowed to be said. The point is what context it occurs in. Calling someone an idiot for being a Christian at work is worse than speaking out against homosexual relationships in a public forum. Nobody should have to face criticism for their life choices, or for unchosen things like race or sexuality during their working day. There should be laws in place to prevent discrimination against people based on things that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job (and the same applies to businesses offering their services to the public). This would automatically include race, sex and sexuality in most cases, and would also include any religious beliefs that don't interfere with the job. But the second someone refuses to do something on the basis of their beliefs, religious or otherwise, employers should be under no obligation to accomodate that. You choose your beliefs. Nobody else should be inconvenienced by them but you.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I start from the basis that anything should be allowed to be said. The point is what context it occurs in. Calling someone an idiot for being a Christian at work is worse than speaking out against homosexual relationships in a public forum. Nobody should have to face criticism for their life choices, or for unchosen things like race or sexuality during their working day. There should be laws in place to prevent discrimination against people based on things that have nothing to do with their ability to do the job (and the same applies to businesses offering their services to the public). This would automatically include race, sex and sexuality in most cases, and would also include any religious beliefs that don't interfere with the job. But the second someone refuses to do something on the basis of their beliefs, religious or otherwise, employers should be under no obligation to accomodate that. You choose your beliefs. Nobody else should be inconvenienced by them but you.

    Personally i think anyone has the right to criticise anyone's lifestyle choices, however if you do no matter how harsh it may be, HOWEVER be prepared for what you get back from that person and others, especially if you do it in a workplace or non-public forum
    I personally think freedom of speech should be a true basic right, cause it can be criticised back and people can show themselves for the idiots they are inside, i can understand incitement laws but still don't think it's right, as i'd rather expose the bigotted bastards or ill informed plebs for what they are - if people make a false statement pretending it's fact then they should be exposed too, if done in a legal situation, it's perjury imo
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    Whose freedom of speech?

    Freedom of speech is an issue everywhere, and something that I've been struggling with at work particularly at the moment, so this seemed pertinent.

    What do you think? Where do we draw the line?


    What are your views, Piccs?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think people have a right to live without being ridiculed or abused for something they can't control.
    If someone is a twat, then fine, they're a twat. Nothing is ever gained by pointing out a person's differences apart from making you look like a bigotted child.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Teagan wrote: »
    What are your views, Piccs?
    I don't know. I've been so seriously hurt - and seen people genuinely damaged - by certain religious folk that I really wish I could stop people speaking thoughts like that.

    But on the other hand, if I attack them can they attack me back? Where does it stop?

    As an LGBT person of faith, I find the idea of suppressing people from speaking out about their faith abhorrent. I also find the idea of using faith to suppress LGBT people completely abhorrent.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »
    But on the other hand, if I attack them can they attack me back?
    Well, you can't bash a religion and condemn everything it stands for and then deny them a chance to reply, can you? That'd be a perverted form of freedom of speech in anyone's book.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    it is a fine line...we want to do burlesque at our society festival in the uni, and we aren't letting anyone know until 2 weeks before because we know that the muslim and christian unions (who we are only second to in numbers) will kick up a stink...but if they feel offended, then they don't have to watch, we aren't forcing them too...

    me, taking my clothes off in a burlesque style is making a political statement (in my mind, if not others), saying i am a woman, i can control an audience with my body, and its all psychological because most of it stays on...its the tease...plus i live in a country where i'm allowed to do it...so why shouldn't i use my rights to their full?

    but, the other day, someone was saying something about pagans being devil worshipers...it did offend me cos i know that we aren't, but i let it fly, because thats their opinion...i could have stood there and lectured them for hours, but it wasn't abhorrent, it was very illinformed.

    there are fine lines, and i'm not sure where they lie...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I think we should definitely take history into account when weighing up freedom of speech issues. For instance, if racism and homophobia did not exist, some might want to argue that we should have the right to slur such minorities, even if it is unfounded. But given past and existing bigotry, prejudice and sadly occasional violence against them, we should use common sense and recognise the apparent loss of freedom to slur them freely should come second to changing attitudes and protecting them from prejudice and attacks.

    There is also the being part of you vs. being a lifestyle choice argument.

    And yet, the law continues to be imbalanced the wrong way, certainly towards homosexuals though luckily not towards ethnic minorities. Some continue to argue they must have the right to claim publicly homosexuals are 'depraved', 'sinful' or even 'sick', while demanding protection from 'offence' towards their religious belief. Even when the 'offence' in question is nothing more than claiming their religion is backward and bigoted (imagine if we took a leaf out of their book and claimed religious people were perverted, twisted or sick).

    I've never been an advocate of total freedom of expression, because of historical connotations- I believe lines have to be drawn somewhere. If we lived in a world where no racial or sexual persecution and discrimination had ever taken place it would be a different matter, but sadly that's not the case.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    I think we should definitely take history into account when weighing up freedom of speech issues. For instance, if racism and homophobia did not exist, some might want to argue that we should have the right to slur such minorities, even if it is unfounded. But given past and existing bigotry, prejudice and sadly occasional violence against them, we should use common sense and recognise the apparent loss of freedom to slur them freely should come second to changing attitudes and protecting them from prejudice and attacks.

    There is also the being part of you vs. being a lifestyle choice argument.

    And yet, the law continues to be imbalanced the wrong way, certainly towards homosexuals though luckily not towards ethnic minorities. Some continue to argue they must have the right to claim publicly homosexuals are 'depraved', 'sinful' or even 'sick', while demanding protection from 'offence' towards their religious belief. Even when the 'offence' in question is nothing more than claiming their religion is backward and bigoted (imagine if we took a leaf out of their book and claimed religious people were perverted, twisted or sick).

    I've never been an advocate of total freedom of expression, because of historical connotations- I believe lines have to be drawn somewhere. If we lived in a world where no racial or sexual persecution and discrimination had ever taken place it would be a different matter, but sadly that's not the case.

    A good number of your posts verbally attack wealthy people. Those posts appear to exhibit bigotry and prejudice on your part against a perceived group. Do you advocate a self imposed vow of silence ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Absolutely not. On the basis that:

    1. Wealth (or the possible redistribution of it) is certainly a matter of choice.

    2. My main criticism is towards those who, already very wealthy, refuse to contribute back to society and go to extraordinary lengths to cheat their way out of paying taxes. This is motivated by pure naked greed and selfishness. Greed and selfishness are ugly flaws and those who indulge in them deserve all the bashing they deserve, and then some.

    3. This group of people have historically been the ones oppressing the rest of us. The day they become the oppressed ones let me know.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    And yet, the law continues to be imbalanced the wrong way, certainly towards homosexuals though luckily not towards ethnic minorities. Some continue to argue they must have the right to claim publicly homosexuals are 'depraved', 'sinful' or even 'sick', while demanding protection from 'offence' towards their religious belief. Even when the 'offence' in question is nothing more than claiming their religion is backward and bigoted (imagine if we took a leaf out of their book and claimed religious people were perverted, twisted or sick).
    Some non religious people do that too and will claim their rights to freedom of speech (apart from maybe the 'sinful' part).

    Bigotry knows no boundaries.

    And it is desrespectful to tell somebody their religion is bigotted and backwards.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    And it is desrespectful to tell somebody their religion is bigotted and backwards.
    Maybe so, but that is freedom of speech for you. In any case, most references of bigotry and backwardness will refer to religious claims governing such issues as homosexuality, sexual activity or the lack of religious beliefs. If some religious people or the religions they follow insist on being disrespectful to certain groups or to individuals who don't subscribe to their beliefs, they should not be surprised if they encounter any disrespect themselves.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    I think we should definitely take history into account when weighing up freedom of speech issues. For instance, if racism and homophobia did not exist, some might want to argue that we should have the right to slur such minorities, even if it is unfounded. But given past and existing bigotry, prejudice and sadly occasional violence against them, we should use common sense and recognise the apparent loss of freedom to slur them freely should come second to changing attitudes and protecting them from prejudice and attacks.

    I've never been an advocate of total freedom of expression, because of historical connotations- I believe lines have to be drawn somewhere. If we lived in a world where no racial or sexual persecution and discrimination had ever taken place it would be a different matter, but sadly that's not the case.

    These are actually the reasons why I believe there should be no limits on free speech. People are often calmer and more open in a discussion where all opinions will be listened to than they are silently ranting about something, or trying to express something in a non-verbal way. By saying that one person isn't allowed to criticise another, you could be seen to be saying that some people's views and choices are more important than others, which will just lead to more problems. A person who's racist or homophobic can cause problems without talking about their views, so it's not speech in itself that's the problem. If we encouraged more people who've been labelled racist, homophobic or anti a certain religion to express their views they'd say why that feel that way and we would be able to understand the problem.
    Free speech is the only way to have a true reflection of what's happening in society, and we can't solve any problems until we know what they are. Obviously it would be nice for everyone to tolerate others, but a lot of people are silently resentful of certain groups which is still a problem. To expect people to shut up because you don't like their views is as bad as hating someone because of their skin colour or sexuality.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I respect what you're saying but we'll have to agree to disagree on that one. I believe that, for instance, if racial hatred legislation hadn't been put in place to protect ethnic minorities, they would be in a worse position today than they are now.

    While most individuals are capable of independent thinking, people as a group are thick as two short planks. If you throw enough mud some will invariably stick. And if the mud is allowed to continue being thrown, then misconceptions, stigma, resentment, prejudice and bigotry will thrive. IMO there is too much history, too much suffering and discrimination towards ethnic minorities to ignore when it comes to freedom of speech issues.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Absolutely not. On the basis that:

    1. Wealth (or the possible redistribution of it) is certainly a matter of choice.

    2. My main criticism is towards those who, already very wealthy, refuse to contribute back to society and go to extraordinary lengths to cheat their way out of paying taxes. This is motivated by pure naked greed and selfishness. Greed and selfishness are ugly flaws and those who indulge in them deserve all the bashing they deserve, and then some.

    3. This group of people have historically been the ones oppressing the rest of us. The day they become the oppressed ones let me know.

    You imply that all wealthy people are oppressive (not to mention greedy and selfish). That kind of homogenisation certainly has a historical context of tyranny.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You imply that all wealthy people are oppressive (not to mention greedy and selfish). That kind of homogenisation certainly has a historical context of tyranny.
    Not any more than suggesting all governments are oppressive- a claim that, at a guess, you might not entirely disagree with.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Not any more than suggesting all governments are oppressive- a claim that, at a guess, you might not entirely disagree with.

    Well,of course. By definition, how could anyone not ?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fair enough, I certainly wouldn't disagree. But I wouldn't suggest you have a tyranical attitude for believing so. And since the wealthy also oppress the rest us, the same should apply.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Some non religious people do that too and will claim their rights to freedom of speech (apart from maybe the 'sinful' part).

    Bigotry knows no boundaries.

    And it is desrespectful to tell somebody their religion is bigotted and backwards.
    Is it disrespectful to tell somebody their opinion is bigotted and backwards? I guess it is. Who cares though? I don't respect bigotted and backwards opinions, and so have no qualms about being disrespectful to those who hold such opinions (as far as pointing it out is disrespectful - I consider it to be a mere difference of opinion).
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Is it disrespectful to tell somebody their opinion is bigotted and backwards? I guess it is. Who cares though? I don't respect bigotted and backwards opinions, and so have no qualms about being disrespectful to those who hold such opinions (as far as pointing it out is disrespectful - I consider it to be a mere difference of opinion).
    Well that's your opinion.

    I just don't personally see the point with throwing rocks at somebody else who you criticised for throwing rocks. It's all the same mentality and self-righteousness at the end of the day.

    And please note how I said calling somebody's religion 'backwards' is disrespectful, not an individual opinion.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Maybe so, but that is freedom of speech for you. In any case, most references of bigotry and backwardness will refer to religious claims governing such issues as homosexuality, sexual activity or the lack of religious beliefs. If some religious people or the religions they follow insist on being disrespectful to certain groups or to individuals who don't subscribe to their beliefs, they should not be surprised if they encounter any disrespect themselves.
    An eye for an eye?

    And where do you draw the line?

    Attacking people the same way they attack others is going to solve what now? It may make us feel better, or glow smugly because we can be unpleasent to others but it doesn't change anything.

    Maybe we should have beatings for people if they are arrested for a violent charge, or death penalty for murderers too?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    Well that's your opinion.

    I just don't personally see the point with throwing rocks at somebody else who you criticised for throwing rocks. It's all the same mentality and self-righteousness at the end of the day.

    And please note how I said calling somebody's religion 'backwards' is disrespectful, not an individual opinion.
    What is religion if not an individual's opinion?

    And it's not throwing rocks, it's calling a spade a spade, and expressing an altenative opinion. And it's very effective. It's precisely not criticising anyone's opinion that means nothing ever changes. Racism didn't become unacceptable by people shutting up and accepting that everyone is entitled to their own opinion without criticism or opposition.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    An eye for an eye?

    And where do you draw the line?

    Attacking people the same way they attack others is going to solve what now? It may make us feel better, or glow smugly because we can be unpleasent to others but it doesn't change anything.

    Maybe we should have beatings for people if they are arrested for a violent charge, or death penalty for murderers too?
    So what is your proposal, if any?

    You could propose not allowing disrespect or offend religious people, but then it is only fair they're no longer allowed to disrespect others by claiming gays are sinners, non believers are going to hell, etc etc. And by the end of it there would be no end of things you would not be allowed to say, because you could be disrespecting someone somewhere.

    One thing is clear: if religious people are allowed to acuse gays of being sinners, ill, perverted, etc, then everyone else should certainly be allowed to say religious people are bigots and their religion is backwards nonsense.

    If you think we should not disrespect people like that, then soon enough it will be illegal to say 'Tottenham Hotspurs FC are utter shit' because you'd be offending Spurs supporters and disrespecting the club. Etc etc etc. That sounds like a nightmare world to me.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If you have only one viewpoint of a persons behaviour or beliefs it's bigoted. To make a blanket statement about something complex and filled with many thousands of different views seems pretty disrepectful.

    Do people really think that because some Christian's are homophobic it's someone not stereotyping people to say that all Christian's are homophobic?

    Surely the inheirent problem here is ignorance - the insulting of people based on a lack of knowledge or any real truth. If poster's feel they want the right to criticise a faith for it's beliefs then you should be clear what you think you should be able to criticise.

    However if posters think they have the right to be insulting to other's beliefs based on their own predujice then I don't see hwo that's acceptable. Posters should spell out what you really mean rather than just assuming they have a right to insult other poster's beliefs - some of the comments here are far too stereotypical.

    People shouldn't assume their views are in some way less full of stereotypical abuse because they don't believe in god.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    So what is your proposal, if any?

    You could propose not allowing disrespect or offend religious people, but then it is only fair they're no longer allowed to disrespect others by claiming gays are sinners, non believers are going to hell, etc etc. And by the end of it there would be no end of things you would not be allowed to say, because you could be disrespecting someone somewhere.

    One thing is clear: if religious people are allowed to acuse gays of being sinners, ill, perverted, etc, then everyone else should certainly be allowed to say religious people are bigots and their religion is backwards nonsense.

    If you think we should not disrespect people like that, then soon enough it will be illegal to say 'Tottenham Hotspurs FC are utter shit' because you'd be offending Spurs supporters and disrespecting the club. Etc etc etc. That sounds like a nightmare world to me.
    So because a minority of people use their religious views to incite hatred, it's ok for other people to attack religious people and stereotype them?

    Using somebody's religion as an insult also insults other people in that religion... Just like if you call somebody queer as an insult, it is saying that to be gay is negative and reverberates on to other people.

    No, it isn't right for people to say gay people are perverted, but it's no different if somebody believes it because they are religious, than if somebody else is homophobic for other reasons. Do you seriously think that getting rid of a few religious people will somehow alleviate a prejudice which is so deeply imprinted in our heteronormative society?

    People are gonna be homophobic anyway, it is a cultural problem. The world doesn't need anymore hatred, especially not coming from people who are attacking other people in defense of a minority who can very well speak for themselves and who are involved in campaigning for equality and to erase negative stereotyping quite successfully.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What is religion if not an individual's opinion?

    And it's not throwing rocks, it's calling a spade a spade, and expressing an altenative opinion. And it's very effective. It's precisely not criticising anyone's opinion that means nothing ever changes. Racism didn't become unacceptable by people shutting up and accepting that everyone is entitled to their own opinion without criticism or opposition.

    You punch somebody in the head. I punch you in the head "OMFG IT'S SO BAD YOU PUNCHED SOMEBODY IN THE HEAD"

    And no. Racism in the UK didn't suddenly become unacceptible through people being aggressive and insulting all caucasion individuals. It has been challenged in many ways, peacefully, through education, through music...

    Fighting fire with fire has never helped to erase prejudices, it just gets people's back up. Understanding, communication and compassion is the way forward.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Namaste wrote: »
    So because a minority of people use their religious views to incite hatred, it's ok for other people to attack religious people and stereotype them?
    Right, there are two issues here: that of whether all religious people are being stereotyped and of whether it is okay to attack them.

    Regarding the first, I don't think that is the general case at all. People people don't get generally ridiculed or attacked for simply being Christian. Most scorn and criticism is for those who use religion to push their twisted agendas and beliefs.

    As for the second, well it depends on the meaning of attack. If it means criticising their beliefs and disagreeing with their actions, then yes it is okay. If it means persecuting and discriminating against them unfairly, then no it is not okay.
    No, it isn't right for people to say gay people are perverted, but it's no different if somebody believes it because they are religious, than if somebody else is homophobic for other reasons. Do you seriously think that getting rid of a few religious people will somehow alleviate a prejudice which is so deeply imprinted in our heteronormative society?
    No of course not, but that does not mean we should allow bigotry and prejudice simply because it wraps itself in the concept of religious beliefs.

    Nobody here is suggesting religious people should be persecuted (you always present rather extreme scenarios to be honest- I myself have never heard of any such incidents occurring). But of course we should be able to express our opinion that any religion that condemns homosexuals as as amoral, bigoted and backward.

    Perhaps if religious groups agreed never again to say in public that atheists, cohabitators, masturbators are sinners and wrong 'uns I'd be more prepared not to publicly acusse them of being bigoted idiots. But if they expect to have the right to express their opinions then they should certainly expect others to make theirs clear as well.

    Nobody has ever stopped to ask the targets of the religious bigots' wrath if they felt offended. I certainly am offended by the endless adverts on billboards, church signs and buses accusing me of being a 'sinner' and threatening with eternal damnation if I don't abide by the rules of their deity. If you are so concerned about the need not to offend people, then you will surely agree that all such public preaching must stop forever.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    Nobody has ever stopped to ask the targets of the religious bigots' wrath if they felt offended. I certainly am offended by the endless adverts on billboards, church signs and buses accusing me of being a 'sinner' and threatening with eternal damnation if I don't abide by the rules of their deity. If you are so concerned about the need not to offend people, then you will surely agree that all such public preaching must stop forever.

    You've brought this point up before and I would like to see some evidence for it. Outside of a very few specific examples from 'the most hated people in America' I'm unclear about where you're seeing these endless adverts?

    Most churches, mosques and other places of worship I walk past feature promotional material that advertises day care groups, positive elements of their religious faith, and open meetings. That's not not to say that the sermon or preaching at a particular service can't be bad or negative... but I would like to either hear a specific personal example to support your claim of 'endless adverts' that are negative.

    Because I'm tempted to guess that what you are actually see if signs promoting christianity or other faiths - but not the messages you describe, though I'm happy to be proved wrong. And if it is just signs advertising a particular religion that you assume are attacking your lifestyle - then you are attacking whole religions based only on your own perceived prejudice.

    Do you really think living in a world which will ban and restrict people to express their beliefs leads to more freedom? Because to be honest man, and I'm sure you don't mean it to sound like this, it sounds like you just want to ban what you don't personally believe in.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Although do excuse me if I seem a little cranky here - I've been for three nights with intense pain from a bloody infection that doesn't want to go away.
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