If you thought the public shaming and punishment of people for ridiculing religion was a thing of the past — a dark past when you’d be put in the stocks, or worse, for failing to bend your knee to certain gods and beliefs — then think again. Just look at the treatment of Olympian gymnast Louis Smith.
Since a video of him taking the mick out of Islam was leaked in October, he’s been pilloried in the press, pressured to recant his heretical humour, dragged on to TV to repent before the Loose Women (the new guardians of public morality, apparently), and now he’s been suspended from his job for two months. All for having a laugh about a religion. There have been no rotten tomatoes or licking flames, but Smith’s treatment nonetheless echoes that time when ‘blasphemers’ were made to suffer for their thoughts and words.
[TOP RATED COMMENT 142 votes] Where is the leadership on this? Who in the government, the church or the universities will stand up and say, ‘Enough! Freedom of speech is not to be abridged.’
[2ND 116 ] If Islam is “not to be mocked”, then I am even more convinced than I was before that it has absolutely no place in our society whatsoever.
And neither, it seems, does ‘British’ Gymnastics. From my previous position of passive support, I now find myself wanting to sabotage their efforts whenever the opportunity arises.
[3RD 108] It’s hard to think of anything more deserving to be mocked than Islam.
[4TH 72] This despite Smith’s having visited a mosque and issued numerous groveling apologies. Do you think he would have received this suspension if he had been perceived as having insulted any other group?
Neither do I. But in Britain today, and all over the West, Sharia blasphemy laws forbidding criticism of Islam coalesce nicely with the initiative to ban “hate speech” against supposedly vulnerable minorities. The freedom of speech is far more severely threatened than most people realize. [The Spectator] Read more