Defending bigotry

Screen Shot 2014-04-24 at 3.55.48 pmThe Attorney-General says “People do have a right to be bigots … in a free country people do have rights to say things that other people find offensive or insulting or bigoted.” See here. True? Yes, I think so.
In a culture of overwhelming political correctness it seems to me that people should have the legal right ‘to be a bigot’ (which is not the same as saying that bigotry is morally defensible.) Why? Because our culture has lost the original sense of what it means to be tolerant; it used to mean putting up with people with whom you disagree, but now it means that it’s morally wrong to express disagreement. To put that all another way, ‘bigotry’ now is simply to disagree with what is the politically correct point of view. And it should never be illegal to disagree with commonly accepted opinion. A case in point: if it is politically incorrect to suggest that certain behaviour is ‘sinful’ or even just ‘morally wrong’ then anyone who expresses that opinion publically would be called a bigot. So today, if someone suggests that abortion or euthanasia or homosexual marriage is wrong, they are likely to be called a bigot. And our laws ought to defend that person. Even if we disagree with their opinion.


Defending bigotry — 1 Comment

  1. An email from Brett in response says:

    The article you linked about the Racial Discrimination Act section 18C has provoked much reading and thinking in our household.

    We agree that people must be free to express views, even if others find them offensive.

    But my research leads me to believe that the current legislation actually allows for this, specifically in Section 18D, where it says that:

    Section 18C does not render unlawful anything said or done reasonably and in good faith:

    (a) in the performance, exhibition or distribution of an artistic work; or

    (b) in the course of any statement, publication, discussion or debate made or held for any genuine academic, artistic or scientific purpose or any other genuine purpose in the public interest; or

    (c) in making or publishing:

    (i) a fair and accurate report of any event or matter of public interest; or

    (ii) a fair comment on any event or matter of public interest if the comment is an expression of a genuine belief held by the person making the comment.

    I am confident (perhaps naively) that Christians or others expressing genuinely held beliefs that others find offensive, will be protected by 18D as the legislation currently stands. Therefore I would oppose the proposed amendments to the Racial Discrimination Act (if anyone asked for my opinion!)

    In the particular case of Andew Bolt, which it seems prompted the proposed revisions, the judge found that Bolt’s articles contained factual errors and were intended to provoke, and as such they were not expressions of genuine beliefs made in good faith. A matter of judge’s discretion, perhaps, but no-one can deny that Bolt likes to rile people up. Maybe he just needs to be a bit more respectful and less provocative? He could have made the same case, and made the same point in a much more loving way.

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