On the Bus off the bus; Christian anti-gay banners are a badly veild hate crime
Last night I attended the Law Ball at the University of Central Lancashire which was a respectable and interesting affair. One guest speaker announced that Lawyers need to have a moral compass when practicing which elicited a slight giggle from those lawyers and aspiring legal professionals in the audience.
Today Mrs Justice Lang defended Boris Johnson’s ban on anti-gay banners ruling that Dr Mike Davidson’s anti-homosexuality adverts reading “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” for display on London buses “cause grave offence” to those who were gay and was perceived as homophobic. This could “increasing the risk of prejudice and homophobic attacks”. The decision is a defeat for the Christian charity Core Issues Trust, a charity which funds “reparative therapy” for gay Christians. How an organisation can achieve charity status with practices like this is questionable at the very least and especially when you take into account they won’t pay taxes on money they recieve when promoting this prejudice nonsense. They believe Boris Johnson to be “politically driven” which is of course as transparent as any other attempt at argumentation ad hominem. It is hard to see how Justice Lang’s decision could be argued with, it is clearly based on the facts of the matter with regards to homosexuality and an effort to curtail the promotion of homophobic attitudes, the UK should be proud to have High Court Judges that seem to have a moral compass. The only issue with this decision is that of freedom of expression and even then not a very big one. Being anti-censorship one could say that this is an infringement upon freedom of speech, but even so, such people should be able to see the difference between expressing a disagreement with something someone chooses to believe and something someone is.
Andrew Copson, Chief Executive of the British Humanist Association, commenting on the High Court ruling said “The Mayor of London was right to ban the anti gay bus adverts because using TfL advertising space to promote a ‘cure’ from being gay carries the implication of homosexuality being a disease and this lacks any foundation in scientific fact. These practices have been condemned by the UK Council for Psychotherapy, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, as well as in the recent judgement by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. These so-called treatments can also be extremely harmful, especially when they are applied to vulnerable individuals.”
As condemnation goes the UK Council for Psychotherapy, British Medical Association and the Royal College of Psychiatrists is about as good as it can get. I myself am I member of the British Psychological Society and would hope they will add their weight too. Will such reputable specialists in their relevant fields change the minds of the anti-homosexuality bigot? One can only hope. The anti-homosexuality ads are obviously obnoxious as homosexuality is something someone is and not a choice or something needing a cure, these ads clearly seek to stoke homophobic attitudes if not by extension justify them. Is antisemitism allowed under freedom of speech or black or white racism etc? Sadly in some countries it is but in the UK I should hope not, although that hope is in vain as you don’t need to go far to find an article that stokes tensions between Muslims and the “white man” as separate groups, read anything by Assed Baig and you’ll see what I mean.
A curious comparison was drawn between the “Not Gay! Ex-Gay, Post-Gay and Proud. Get over it!” banners and the atheist banners displayed in the past saying “There probably is no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life”. This is a ludicrous comparison and grab at a defensible position as any reasonable onlooker can see. A belief in God is a choice, an opinion, nobody is born a believer in Allah, Jahovah or Shiva. The atheist banners even point out there’s “probably” no God which is an opinion of much Theological scholarship, historical critique of scriptures, within and without Religious circles, Science and more. Not that those things even matter in this regard because in essence a belief in God is just an opinion even without all the contrary evidence debunking it. At least the atheists humorously grant the concession and say “probably” instead of just “there is no God”, the manners and logic in a philosophical argument were at play when using that word (as well as coercion from the advertisement standards association).
Posting anti-gay banners around London is a badly veiled hate crime, a direct attack on what these people are, not what they believe and tantamount to racial and gender based prejudice. People don’t choose skin colour, sexuality or gender, but people do choose to believe in fiction. That is why a belief is open for debate, as are the social and political practices that extend from such opinions, whereas someone’s sexuality is not.
The Huffington Post Article – Here
British Humanist Association – Here