On occasion, I agree with News Corp columnist Andrew Bolt. I think this post could be one of those occasions. Bolt has decried the imprisonment and Visa revocation of American anti – abortionist Troy Newman in Denver on the way to Australia. He has been accused of inciting violence, a comment that he and Bolt denies. Bolt has been critical of the response of Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton ad other LNP members bowing down to demands, including from Terri Butler, a pro – choice libertarian.
Newman became infamous when his book “Their Blood Cries Out”, in which he likened women who have abortions to murderers and should be tried under American law like one. In some states and jurisdictions, this includes execution. He does, however, condemn anti vigilante violence.
At the same time, Archbishop, Julian Porteous of Tasmania has been taken to court for being in breach of Tasmania’s anti – discrimination legislation, which protects people who are LGBTQ. His offence? His parish was the one responsible for distributing an anti – same – sex marriage pamphlet to a Catholic primary school. Why you would send such a pamphlet to a primary school, frankly, I don’t know. I mean, the kids can’t vote and wouldn’t the parents have made up their own mind on the issue? But taking Porteous to a court? To be honest, I’m troubled about this.
It really does pose the question: what exactly is free speech? I’m being serious. What is it? Inciting physical violence, terrorism and the like,should be banned. I believe that whole – heartedly. I think it does become troublesome when you ban people because they are deemed “provocative” or “controversial”. If Newman, for example, was encouraging violence, then, I’d say, “yep, bring on the ban!”. However, I actually can’t that has been happening in recent years (Operation Rescue has been accused of being behind the shooting murder of Dr. Tilly in 2006, however, Newman himself, says, he condemns vigilante violence).
These issues brings forth another sticky issue – freedom of religion; the idea that in a free society, you generally can worship and believe how you like, providing again, you don’t incite or commit violence. But taking someone to court for opposing same – sex marriage? I can sense danger here. And what if, or when same – sex marriage is legalised, how many people who do oppose same – sex marriage on grounds of personal belief be affected? Can someone publicly oppose same – sex marriage without legal repercussions?
There is another side to the coin, a side where people argue on the grounds of “free speech” when a person has been known to incite violence and make threats. The Zakky Mallah on Q and A controversy comes to mind. Even though he claimed he condemned ISIS, The irony, is that the majority of the media backed Mallah, saying that he had a right to say what he did on Q and A and there was no (or very little) backlash about what he wrote about columnists Rita Panahi and Miranda Devine back in January. If it was said against… say against Carrie Bickmore, there would be an absolute uproar. Now I don’t condone what Mallah wrote period, and I sure as heck wouldn’t wish ANYONE to say anything like it to anyone, but there is a double standard in society. Can we just be a bit clearer about what is acceptable and what’ s not? I’ve got to say, I’m really getting sick of the hypocrisy of Australian media. It’s becoming beyond a joke.