Posts Tagged ‘Amnesty International’

Patrick Stewart Channels Voltaire

June 11, 2015

Voltaire is supposed to have said, “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” He probably didn’t really say it but Patrick Stewart effectively did. I have read about this in various places, but here is the story at the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Actor Patrick Stewart is supporting the free speech rights of Christian bakers from northern Ireland who declined to decorate a cake with a pro-gay-marriage message.

An Irish court fined the owners of Ashers Bakery £500 for not writing the slogan “Support Gay Marriage” on a cake.

The bakery owners say they’re happy to bake a cake for anyone, but reserve the right to decline messages that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

Stewart, who is known for his roles in “Star Trek” and “X-Men,” told BBC “Newsnight” that no one should be forced to write things they disagree with.

Gay activists have been attacking Stewart for his comments.

Boldly going where few actors dare to go

Boldly going where few actors dare to go

Sadly, it has become increasingly rare in our politically correct world, with its microaggressions and trigger warnings, for anyone to adopt Voltaire’s view on permitting freedom of speech, even for those you don’t like and Patrick Stewart deserves some praise for doing so. Naturally, he was subjected to the usual criticism from the supporters of tolerance and diversity and he felt he had to clarify his position on his Facebook page.

As part of my advocacy for Amnesty International, I gave an interview on a number of subjects related to human rights, civil rights and freedom of speech. During the interview, I was asked about the Irish bakers who refused to put a message on a cake which supported marriage equality, because of their beliefs. In my view, this particular matter was not about discrimination, but rather personal freedoms and what constitutes them, including the freedom to object. Both equality and freedom of speech are fundamental rights— and this case underscores how we need to ensure one isn’t compromised in the pursuit of the other. I know many disagree with my sentiments, including the courts. I respect and understand their position, especially in this important climate where the tides of prejudices and inequality are (thankfully) turning. What I cannot respect is that some have conflated my position on this single matter to assume I’m anti-equality or that I share the personal beliefs of the bakers. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be further from the truth. I have long championed the rights of the LGBT community, because equality should not only be, as the people of Ireland powerfully showed the world, universally embraced, but treasured.

There are a couple of things about this statement that bother me. Why does Patrick Stewart feel the need to declare his fealty to politically correct orthodoxy. I feel as if he is saying that he supports the right of thought criminals to speak freely but he is certainly not a thought criminal himself, or that he is most offended by the idea that he might be one thought of as one of those ignorant mouth-breathers who are opposed to same-sex marriage. I understand that Stewart does not want his views on this issue to be misconstrued and that he probably doesn’t intend his statement to be taken this way, but this assurance that he is on the right side gives a somewhat begrudging feel to his defense of free speech, as if he is saying he supports their right to be wrong. But, maybe I am reading too much into it.

The other thing that bothers me about Patrick Stewart’s statement is that he had to make any clarifying statement at all. I do not know precisely what his critics have been saying, but it seems that their reasoning is that the only reason that Patrick Stewart would support the right of a baker to refuse to decorate a cake with a pro gay marriage message is that he must agree with the baker. The idea that one can support the free speech even of people one disagrees with seems not to have entered into their minds. Voltaire’s statement could be left untranslated in the original French for all the good it does people like this.

Is Voltaire’s concept really so hard to grasp? Does it not ever occur to these people that defending the free speech of others is the only way to protect one’s own free speech, or that once free speech is abridged, they might be next? Do they never consider that the other side might be right but if they shout them down, they will never learn any better, or that if the other side is wrong, compelling outward compliance to orthodoxy does not persuade anyone? Perhaps they don’t think much at all.

Patrick Stewart stated that freedom of speech and equality are fundamental rights. I would say that freedom of speech is far more important. If we have freedom of speech, we can speak out about whatever changes are needed to ensure equality. Without freedom of speech, we can do nothing. The real danger here in America and throughout the West is that there seems to be an increasing number of people who either believe freedom of speech is, at best, a secondary right inferior to the struggle for social justice and equality or that freedom of speech is not a right at all. I’m glad at least one person from Hollywood is willing to publicly support the right to dissent from liberal orthodoxy. I hope others follow Stewart’s lead.

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A Couple of News Items

October 15, 2013

There were just a couple of news items that caught my eye today,so I decided just to combine them into one post. First up, there is an Alabama law-maker who wants to castrate child molesters. It is not clear whether he wants to have chemical castration, the offenders are forced to take drugs which deaden sexual desire, or the old-fashioned physical castration. Here is the story from the Atlanta CBS affiliate.

An Alabama legislator has re-introduced a bill to legalize castration of convicted child molesters if their victims were under the age of 12 – and make them pay for the procedure.

The Florence Times Daily reports that Rep. Steve Hurst (R-Munford) is proposing the bill for the 2014 legislative session, which begins in January. Hurst attempted to push this bill during the 2013 session, but it did not make it out of committee.

Under Rep. Hurst’s proposed legislation, convicted sex offenders over the age of 21 would be castrated prior to their release from prison if their victims were under the age of 12 years old. The castration would also be financed by the sex offender, and not by the correctional system, reports WFSB.

A CNN report from 2012 notes that at least nine states: including California, Florida, Georgia, Iowa Louisiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas and Wisconsin already have versions of “chemical castration” in their laws. Such a process involves the administering of chemicals to take away sexual interest and make it impossible for the person to perform sexual acts.

The Alabama legislation does not detail the castration process to be used in the proposed bill.

The use of chemical castration remains controversial, with the practice being called “inhuman treatment” by Amnesty International.

“At first sight, forced chemical castration could be taken as a matter-of-course decision; however, it is incompatible with human rights, which are the foundation of any civilized democratic society,” Amnesty International wrote in its March statement.

Maybe it would be inhuman and in compatible with human rights, but then so is the crime these men committed. Actually, chemical castration may be more effective and less cruel than incarceration. Putting a child molester in prison has no effect on his desires and the nature of his crime will almost certainly single him out for harassment or violence from other inmates. I think the key here is whether the procedure will prevent recidivism. As for the old fashioned kind, that procedure is irreversible and it would be a shame if someone were discovered to be innocent after it was done. Besides, there is not much demand for harem guards these days.

Second, there is a grandmother who tried to hire a hit man to kill her daughter-in-law. Here is the story from Fox News.

A 70-year-old Florida grandmother is accused of hiring a hitman to murder her daughter-in-law. Diana Reaves Costarakis reportedly told an undercover agent that if he didn’t kill the woman, she would do it herself.

Florida police say that Costarakis claims her son’s wife is a drunk who was planning on leaving him and taking their child to Colorado. Angela Costarakis denies those allegations and said she had no idea her mother-in-law had it out for her. About three weeks ago, Angela said her mom-in-law gave her a hug and told her, “I’m so glad we’re great friends.”

Costarakis supposedly offered the undercover cop a $5,000 bounty. She was charged with criminal solicitation for conspiring with the officer at a Home Depot. Costarakis paid him $1,500 in cash and allegedly said he could take the jewelry off of the woman’s dead body for the rest of the bounty.

In every case like this that I have ever read about, the hitman always turns out to be an undercover policeman. I suppose there must be cases in which someone actually manages to contact a real hitman, but I never hear of them. Maybe a successful murder is never solved so the work of the hitman goes uncredited. I have a feeling, though, that real murders for hire tend to work for organized crime bosses and drug dealing cartels. I don’t imagine that many of them work free lance. I guess the lesson here is that if you want to kill someone, you had better do it yourself or get someone you already know and trust to do the job.

Saudi Arabia Beheads Sudanese Sorcerer

September 21, 2011

This is why I think we need to start drilling anywhere and everywhere for oil, not to mention building nuclear power plants everywhere we can.

Saudi Arabia beheaded a Sudanese man by sword in the western city of Medina on Monday after he was convicted of practicing sorcery, the Interior Ministry announced.

Abdul Hamid al-Fakki “practiced witchcraft and sorcery,” which are illegal under Saudi Arabia’s Islamic sharia law, said a ministry statement carried by state news agency SPA.

In October last year, Amnesty International said it had appealed to King Abdullah in a letter to commute Fakki’s death sentence.

His execution brings to 42 the number of people beheaded in Saudi Arabia this year, according to an AFP tally based on official and human rights group reports.

In June, London-based watchdog Amnesty International called on Saudi Arabia to stop applying the death penalty, saying there had been a significant rise in the number of executions in the previous six weeks.

It said 15 people were executed in May alone.

Rape, murder, apostasy, armed robbery and drug trafficking are all punishable by death under Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

I’m for anything that will reduce these clowns’ geopolitical significance to that of Burkina Faso’s

Thanks to Jihad Watch for their tireless efforts.

She had better not fly her broom over Saudi Arabia

 


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