Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's now illegal to protest against dangerous cult

It seems New Zealand isn't the only place in which free speech is under threat.  In the UK it's now clearly illegal to call a cult a cult.

The Guardian reports a teenager had his placard confiscated and now faces prosecution for calling the cult of Scientology a cult in a peaceful demonstration opposite the London headquarters of the cult.  Within "five minutes of arriving" police told him he "was not allowed to use that word."  A policewoman later read him section five of the Public Order Act and "strongly advised" him to remove the sign (the section prohibits signs
which have "representations or words which are threatening, abusive or insulting").  When he quite properly refused, his sign was confiscated and she issued him with a summons.

In a clear demonstration how stepping on individual rights accords with abuse of power, the Guardian notes, "The arresting police force had 20 senior members receive gifts from the church in the last few years." [hat tip AB]

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